4022 Spring Mountain Rd.
Saint Helena, CA 94574
38 ac – 48,000 bt
An ambitious 22 year old Stuart Smith purchased a 200 acre property in Napa’s Spring Mountain District while still attending UC Davis’s viticulture program. He named it in honor of his family and of the madrone tree, an indigenous evergreen that grows throughout the estate. Smith first planted vines in 1972, and in 1973 his brother Charles joined him on the mountain, eventually to become the winemaker. Their first commercial harvest was in 1977 and is still a family affair: Stuart’s son Sam Smith is now the assistant winemaker.
On the northwestern edge of the Napa Valley and high up in the in the Mayacamas Mountains lies the Spring Mountain District sub-appellation. At around 1,800 feet altitude, 15 or so acres of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Bordeaux varieties are planted in the red, rocky volcanic soils, with streaks of stoney clay loam. Though many of the vines still exist, on its own rootstock no less, replantings started in 2000. Excepting delicate young vines, the entirety of vineyards are dry-farmed, a particular point of pride for the ebullient viticulturist.
Flavors of ripe yellow apples, lemon curd, and savory kitchen herbs in the Chardonnay 2015 lead to a luxurious, vivacious texture and a long, spirited finish. Aromas of crunchy red fruits and vegetal and herbaceous undertones are enriched by juniper berries, incense, and earth in the Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Great Wine) The palate reflects the complexity of the nose along with a savory umami character and polished mountain tannins. A proprietary Bordeaux blend, the Cook’s Flat Reserve 2012 offers anise, incense, and an intriguing herbaceousness, lending the plush dark fruits and fresh leather an air of delicacy. Grippy tannins frame the wine for a long life ahead.
FERTILIZERS green manure
PLANT PROTECTION copper and sulphur
WEED CONTROL chemical
YEASTS spontaneous fermentation
GRAPES 100% estate-grown
Images via www.smithmadrone.com