Review: Wines of Smith-Madrone, 2021 Releases
Damaged — but saved — during the horrific fires that swept through Napa in 2020, Smith-Madrone — now celebrating its 50th anniversary — is finally back up and running at apparently full speed, despite having no phone service for more than 3 months.
We recently received three bottlings from the mountain-based winery for review, all of which are current vintages. Thoughts follow.
2017 Smith-Madrone Riesling Spring Mountain District – Fruity and floral but mostly dry, this riesling is a crowd pleaser with an exuberance on the palate that features lemons, figs, gooseberry, and melon notes. Lots of honey on the palate as the wine develops, sweetening up and showing more fruit and just a hint of oxidation. There’s also some saline minerality here, which is effective at brightening up the wine and giving it a sunny and satisfying sense of balance on the finish. A- / $34
2017 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay Spring Mountain District – A touch of spice up top gives this fairly traditional, moderately oaked chardonnay some pep, with thick notes of vanilla and a solid punch of lemon curd quickly developing on the palate. Some melon and strong honeysuckle notes emerge on the finish, with biting acidity and added lemon peel notes giving the wine a distinct food-friendliness. Overall balance seems a bit tilted, perhaps showing as a bit too floral on the fade-out. B+ / $40
2016 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District – While it’s a touch green on the nose, time in glass helps temper some initial tannins and earthiness here, leading to a palate that features notes of currants, chocolate, and spice, filtered through a fairly sweet vanilla character. The body’s not nearly as bold as you might expect, a surprisingly mild texture giving the wine a supple, easy-drinking quality that’s unusual for mountain fruit. I’d drink this now rather than let it linger in the cellar. B / $58