Classic California Chardonnay at its best
Medium yellow gold. Sourced from dry farmed estate vines on Spring Mountain, this is classic California Chardonnay at its best. Richly fragrant of honeysuckle, smoky oak and ripe stone fruit and incredibly smooth and balanced on the palate with uplifting bright lemony acidity, beautifully integrated flavors, and a tangy, long lasting finish. Barrel fermented and then matured another 9 months in 80% new French oak. Very reasonably priced given the quality!
★★★★★: This is a tasty chardonnay with green apple and stone fruit upfront. Notes of grapefruit and spices play back up. Pitch-perfect balance. Lovely.
Texture is simply spectacular
Extraordinary: Wow! This is why California Chardonnay, in the hands of the top growers, can compete on the world stage with the very best. Gold in colour, we pick up bruised apple, stone fruit, melon and hints of tropical fruit. The texture of this wine is simply spectacular. The gorgeous mouth-feel is full and round and the back-end acidity maintains precise definition and gives this wine perfect balance. The Smiths found the fulcrum with this wine! The finish goes on and on and is infused with hints of mineral and lemon zest. At the winery when we tasted it we rated it Excellent/Extraordinary. We took a bottle to dinner that night. With food, this wine really shone and pushed up our rating.
Texture really impresses
92 points: Aromas of buttered popcorn and roasted hazelnuts offer intrigue on the nose. The freshness and power of the wine is fantastic as ripe vanilla cream and butterscotch flavors mingle with nutty and earthy undertones. The texture really impresses here as this beautiful wine will cellar well for the next decade, picking up tertiary characters as it ages. Drink 2019-2029.
Complex and beautiful
Smith-Madrone is an extremely reliable producer of excellent Chardonnay that is generous, but well-balanced. The wines have plenty of acidity, but are intended for relatively near-term enjoyment, rather than long aging. The 2016 is a great example of their style. The nose is complex and beautiful. It’s bold out of the bottle, then mellows nicely in the glass. Aromas include just-ripe yellow apple and pear, baking spice, a chiffonade of mint, lightly toasted almond, and sweet cream. The palate is mouthwatering and features tangier fruit—lemon and green apple—along with the baking spice and sweet cream. Body is medium-plus and there’s the texture of fine, grippy silk holding everything together harmoniously. Drink now through 2022.
Racy acidity that keeps it bright and lofty
93 points: Nuanced aromas of honey, warm tea, almond, with sea salt, crushed chalk, yellow apples and pears. Full but integrated so well, with deep texture, but this racy acidity that keeps it bright and lofty. Glazed apples, candied orange peel, lemon, the fruit mixes well with these salty, chalky, rocky, mineral elements. Lovely stuff that should age wonderfully. From their dry-farmed vineyard, barrel-fermented, aged nine months in 80% new French oak.
91 points: Grapefruit, kiwi fruit, fresh cloves, spices and smoke are the main attraction on the nose. A tangy core of stone and green fruit is supported by crunchy acidity on the palate, which is medium-to full-bodied and delicious. Drink now.
Subtle in its style, well-integrated acidity
I consider this Chardonnay from the Spring Mountain District very subtle in its style and not overwhelming. Although the wine ferments in 80% new French oak and then is aged for nine months, you cannot tell because the wine is not oaky at all. With a nice well-integrated acidity the wine exhibits aromas of pear and flavors of pear and lemon.
95 points and a command performance that's destined to resonate for years
I’ve been raving about Smith-Madrone for some years now, and I won’t be slowing down any time soon. I got a sneak preview of this wine last fall, and it has certainly lived up to its initial flash. Dry farmed and barrel fermented, it’s then aged in mostly new French oak, which might lead you to expect overt wood influence. That’s not at all the case here, with singing lemon forward fruit soloing above supportive yet nuanced oak spice and a trumpet section of acidity that gives the wine a great finish and push through to the bold finale. Bravo once again to the Smith clan for a command performance that’s destined to resonate for years.
Balanced and structured, distinctive terroir
This is a wine you’ll swirl and sip on a regular basis. Of 100% Chardonnay that was barrel fermented for 9 months in French oak, intense aromas of butter, toast, golden apple, lemon, white peaches, yellow flowers and herbs were clearly present. Balanced and structured with a creamy, round mouthfeel, its moderate acidity was on point and flavors of overripe, juicy peaches, peach flesh, and herbs reflected the distinctive terroir of well-drained, volcanic based soils.
94 points, Cellar Selection, gorgeous, acid-driven
94 points, Cellar Selection: This gorgeous, acid-driven Chardonnay is made from the producer's dry-farmed estate. Stone, apricot, apple, pear and fig ride along a focused, linear palate. Barrel fermentation has lent texture and nuance without distraction. It finishes succulent, soft and inviting.
Good acidity and balance
This wine is 100% estate grown chardonnay. The wine showed a golden color. Apple, like zest, lemon and oak all arrived on the nose. Apple, blood orange, pithy lemon, limestone and oak followed on a palate where citrus stole the show. The wine exhibited good acidity and balance, along with good length and light-bodied. This wine would do well as an aperitif and would pair nicely with a stuffed turkey breast.
Classically influenced California Chardonnay
....the latest vintage from Smith Madrone, who make a classically influenced California Chardonnay that will satisfy those who are looking for slightly less oak influence but still hope to have the richness that has come to characterize the form....
Light yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and a touch of caramelized oak. In the mouth, bright lemon curd flavors mix with a hint of butterscotch and toasted oak. As usual, this wine walks the line between the fresher, brighter style of Napa Chardonnay and old school richness.
94 points, exceptional mouthfeel and texture
94 points: The nose is a deep, oily lemon and hazelnut with notes of dry chalk, buttercream, licorice, sap and whiffs of toffee. The palate entry is a lean, pure white pear and citrus with a core of mouth-coating peach and lemon cream. Exceptional mouthfeel and texture. Drink 2019 – 2027.
Gorgeous deep yet vibrant
Light yellow color. Aromas of juicy yellow apples topped in complex notes of honey, almond, cinnamon, sea salt, hay and chalk dust. Deep texture on the palate with pretty acidity and lovely balance. Yellow apples, candied lemons, orange peel and apricot, juicy and fruity but also airy and elegant. Salty, minerals, chalky, with notes of honey, nougat and hay. Gorgeous, deep, yet vibrant. Another beautiful Chardonnay from Smith-Madrone. I’d love to age this for five years.
Anyway… Smith-Madrone’s Spring Mountain wines are consistently some of my favorite from Napa, and I love their Chardonnay and Riesling in particular. So, since I tasted these wines sighted, I tried to approach them with as much skepticism as possible. That said, the 2016s showed wonderfully. Crystal clear, pristine wines, and both are worthy for serious cellar time. Especially considering the price, I’m still amazed these wines exist.
Rich and mouth-filling with perfect acidity
A brilliant hue captures the eye, and scents of lemon-splashed stone fruit awaken the nose as this sophisticated Chardonnay is poured from the bottle. Peach flavors are mirrored on the palate, melding with Honeycrisp apple, citrus, herbal accents, and beautiful oak spice nuances. Rich and mouth-filling, with perfect acidity offsetting the juicy fruit through the long memorable finish
Incredible structure and the complexity to work with red meat
Smoky, graphite nose, pencil eraser and charcoal, clean and briary, ridden with beurre blanc and the sort of grassy sauciness typically reserved for Sancerre. An earthiness defying all imaginations of peat and volcano brings crystal-rockiness and diamond-cutting to mind.
So many people hear “Chardonnay” and instantly form a mental image. I’m here to tell you there are SOOOO many Chardonnays in the world–or even California alone–which lie so far out of the ENTIRE SUPERMARKET 5-SHELF AISLE OF YELLOW, if you’ve never happened upon one, I beg you PLEASE try and once you are hooked, the desire will be insatiable. The 80s are over, and people who still Chardonnay-shame get an asterisk. I’m not even saying you need to drink Chablis or Burg–there are PLENTY of ridiculous clean bright chards in California. Very few of them will be on a supermarket aisle though. Go to your wine shop and ask. It’s not difficult to find.
And this is one of them. One of the old-school ones. I’m actually serving this wine with rib-eye tonight. And not because it is a huge oaky buttery monster: THAT wouldn’t work at ALL. No, because it is serious heavy acidic stuff with crazy fruit, incredible structure, and the complexity to work with red meat.
In the mouth, a plasticine stay-krisp coating on rich fruit positively bursting at all of its acidic seams. All that funk and earth in the nose translates straight into a grimy dirty-baby-diaper of loveliness, compounding the nectarine and dried apricot, driving it hard against walnut shell and Oolong tea where chardonnay dreams really exist. Sweet and delicate in the finish, an almost Riesling-or-Gewurztraminer nectar situation closing things out–but with bitter grip.
If you can’t stop hating Chardonnay, you are NOT drinking the right ones.
The wine is so well-made....
Color is pale straw. The nose offers pear, apple, lemon zest, and just a hint of oak. On the palate, however, the fruit is beautifully pronounced: yellow peach, sweet apple, citrus crossing from the mid- to back palate, leaving a swath of mouth-watering heat from the alcohol. Secondary notes of baking spice, stone, vanilla, and vegetation with marzipan on the lingering finish. As a wine lover, my first thought on this wine is that it’s so tasty, you don’t want to think about it. You simply want to enjoy this delightful glass of wine that is so unlike what we’ve come to expect from Napa.Smith-Madrone’s winemakers (Stuart, Sam, and Charles Smith) actually dry-farm (no irrigation) and in doing so, they develop a grape and create a wine that is closer to a Beaune-style chardonnay than the common flavor profiles that are popular with New World grapes. What does this mean to you? It means you’re going to enjoy this wine more than you expect, and you’re going to need to buy more of it than you’d expect because like me, you’ll drink it faster, even if you’re savoring the flavors. You’re going to wish you bought a bigger bottle…or several bottles, because your mouth is going to ask you for MORE. As a wine drinker who personally tries to shy away from the high alcohol content of some California wines, this is one where I take exception. The wine is so well-made, I’d easily buy a case of this to tuck into my cellar (if I only had the room!) it’s such a delicious wine that sings through warm weather and is incredibly agreeable with food. If this is a good price point for your chardonnay drinking, (or a good price point for a special bottle) I can not recommend highly enough that you give Smith-Madrone a taste. As passionate as I am about white Burgundy, this is a wine I will remember for shattering my conceptions of Napa Valley chardonnay.
Pure and beautiful
I can never get enough of Smith-Madrone's Spring Mountain District Chardonnay’s crisp, bright fruit and lemon curd nuances. It’s always so well-balanced and is the complete opposite of what many expect of NapaValley Chardonnay. It’s not buttery or oaky, just pure and beautiful. 👌
The wine is pale gold color with pear, Granny Smith apple, citrus cream, and savory spices with a hint of butterscotch. On the palate it's medium-full bodied with a texture that manages to be both creamy and mouthwateringly fresh with citrusy acidity. Wonderful balance here. It shows apple, pear, lime zest, lemon cream and spice flavors with a long tangy finish. Fruit for this wine sourced from dry farmed 40+ y.o. vines from the Spring Mountain AVA in the Napa Valley. The wine is 100% barrel fermented. Raised in 80% new French oak for 10 months 14.4% abv. Bravo!
One of 50 Great Wines of 2018
Chosen as one of the 50 Great Wines of 2018: crystalline tone and chiseled presence.
Top 25 Wines of the Year
Top 25 Wines of the Year
92 points: This wine is 100% Chardonnay crafted from 42-year-old dry-farmed vines on Spring Mountain. It was 100% barrel fermented and raised for 9 months in 100% new French oak.
Color – Pale straw yellow
Aromas – Apple, pear, lemon curd, almond, and toasty oak with a hint of chalk
Body – Medium-bodied and impeccably balanced with very fresh with vibrant acidity
Taste – Baked apple, fresh pear, lemon meringue, and key lime accented with very appealing baking spice flavors
Finish – Long
Year in and year out, this distinguished wine is one of my favorite California Chardonnays!
Pair with: Steamed Dungeness Crab with drawn butter
Rich with good offsetting acidity through the last enlivening sip
Aromas of fresh-picked tree fruits and spiced oak notes zone in on what’s ahead. Poached pears, Granny Smith apples, brown spices and a kiss of butterscotch pudding join underlying oak on the palate. Firmly structured and rich with good offsetting acidity through the last enlivening sip.
Long tangy finish
90 points: Medium golden yellow. Oak on the nose with some candied lemon and some butter. Medium plus acidity (7/10) and medium bodied. Citrus zest on the attack of the palate followed by a touch of lemon curd and apples. Long tangy finish.