Smith Story has a fun claim to fame: It’s the first winery in the U.S. to be successfully crowdfunding, a Kickstarter success story that is now celebrating its fifth year in business. Operated by married couple Eric Story and Ali Smith-Story, the Sonoma-based operation has a surprisingly robust portfolio, and in a live tasting a group of writers pored over a quartet of new releases, all from the Sonoma area.
Without further ado, let’s dig into this (tiny) operation’s 2018 releases.
2016 Smith Story Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc – Big and juicy, this sauvignon blanc is heavy with both lemon and tropical notes but also showcases some grassier elements that evolve in the glass. Clean and bright, there are hints of melon and spice on the finish. A / $25
2015 Smith Story Sonoma Coast Thorn Ridge Pinot Noir – Berry-forward, the cherries and blackberries here have a slightly spicy, cola-infused character to them, a real Cherry Coke character that builds to a fever as the finish comes on. There’s lots of acid here, but no shortage of flavor to give it some body. A- / $75
2015 Smith Story Sonoma Valley Cabernet Franc – A dense wine with some tobacco notes on the nose, this is immediately recognizable as cabernet franc. It’s also a plump and overwhelmingly juicy wine, with a ton of blueberry character to it. Hints of vanilla, eastern spices, and a lightly earthy note give this cab franc a surprising complexity. A- / $40
2015 Smith Story Sonoma Valley Pickberry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – Perhaps the most straightforward wine in this collection, this cab is bold and fruit-forward, with a restrained wood profile but plenty of tannins giving it a ton of grip. Lots of vanilla and chocolate notes provide some immediate drinkability, but my inclination would be to let this one cellar for at least a few years. B+ / $60