A juicy chardonnay, rich yet balanced
4 stars. A juicy chardonnay, rich yet balanced. Notes of lemon, peach and mineral. Citrusy finish. Just lovely.
A very balanced wine
In the bottle is 100% Chardonnay that has been dry farmed and aged for 9 months in oak (80% of the barrels are new French Oak – 20% is neutral). The color in the glass is like golden sunshine. The wine is full-bodied with great viscosity and mouth-feel. What I like to say about this Chardonnay is that it is a very balanced wine that doesn’t show too much of any single characteristic (butter, oak, or acidity), rather it is a perfect balance. On the palate, the notes are of green apples, pears, nectarines, and zesty citrus with undertones of brioche and vanilla. This wine is truly lovely on its own or with any of your favorite chicken or pork dishes. It can hold its own with pretty much anything you put with it. One of my favorite pairings is pork loin and mushroom risotto with this wine – heavenly.
Tasty and delicious
Light yellow in color with a golden tint. Strong nose of citrus, vanilla, oak, spices, yellow apples, white pepper, ripped melons, Mandarins, Mediterranean spices, almonds and white pepper. Full bodied, creamy and smooth, with medium plus acidity. Dry on the palate with lemons, citrus, green apples, pineapples, limes, light earth, light wood, spices and black pepper. Long finish with tangy limes. This is a fabulous Chardonnay from Spring Mountain District in Napa Valley. Nicely balanced and tangy. Showing nice complexity now, and is enjoyable by itself. Tasty and delicious.
Structured, balanced, intense, refreshing and just plain delicious
I recently wrote a story entitled “Have you found your way to Chardonnay? We Have!” I wrote that while Chardonnay is still one of the most widely planted grapes, as well as one of the world’s most popular grapes, as well as the queen of the white wines, it is still one of the most maligned grapes. But many of us know the beauty of the Chardonnay grape. If you are still in doubt, then try the Smith-Madrone 2016 Chardonnay from the Spring Mountain District in Napa Valley and you will fall in love with Chardonnay and understand why it is the Please The Palate's wine of the week. Located on Spring Mountain in Napa Valley, Smith-Madrone was established in 1971 by Stuart Smith and his brother Charles Smith. The densely forested property that they purchased was an abandoned vineyard. They logged the land and planted five acres each of Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. By 1989, the Pinot Noir was grafted to Chardonnay. Today Smith-Madrone has thirty-four acres planted with 10.25 acres of Chardonnay. A mountain vineyard, all of the grapes are planted on slopes and benefit from the cooler mountain climate. The Chardonnay is planted on the coolest north-facing slopes. The vines are planted in mostly deep-red Aiken Stoney Clay loam soils which are volcanic-based and well-drained. The Chardonnay is barrel fermented and spends nine months in French oak, of which 80 percent is new. Each year the wine is made from the same vineyards, pruned by the same people in the same way, cultivated in exactly the same manner and harvested at similar levels of maturity. The resulting wine is a reflection of the vintage. The 2016 growing season was described as “near perfect” with ideal weather conditions. The Smith-Madrone 2016 Estate Grown Chardonnay is a bright straw gold color. It has an intense nose with beautiful aromatics of peaches, apricot, pears, apple, lemon and toasted hazelnut. Even after nine months in 80 percent new oak, the oak is retrained and in balance. It does not dominate on the nose or the palate. The wine is creamy and rich on the mid-palate but the acidity of the wine is exceptional. The wine has a chalky finish and the bright fruit notes carry through to the end. The Smith-Madrone 2016 Estate Grown Chardonnay is structured, balanced, intense, refreshing and just plain delicious!
A fabulous Chardonnay
Light yellow in color with a golden tint. Strong nose of citrus, vanilla, oak, spices, yellow apples, white pepper, ripped melons, mandarins, Mediterranean spices, almonds and white pepper. Full bodied, creamy and smooth, with medium plus acidity. Dry on the palate with lemons, citrus, green apples, pineapples, limes, light earth, light wood, spices and black pepper. Long finish with tangy limes. This is a fabulous Chardonnay from Spring Mountain District in Napa Valley. Nicely balanced and tangy. Showing nice complexity now, and is enjoyable by itself. Would be nice to see how this continues to develop in the next few years. Tasty and delicious.
A fabulous Chardonnay from the Spring Mountain District
Light yellow in color with a golden tint. Strong nose of citrus, vanilla, oak, spices, yellow apples, white pepper, ripped melons, Mandarins, Mediterranean spices, almonds and white pepper. Full bodied, creamy and smooth, with medium plus acidity. Dry on the palate with lemons, citrus, green apples, pineapples, limes, light earth, light wood, spices and black pepper. Long finish with tangy limes. This is a fabulous Chardonnay from the Spring Mountain District in Napa Valley. Nicely balanced and tangy. Showing nice complexity now, and is enjoyable by itself. This four-year-old needs time open up. Good right out of the bottle, but really changed after an hour of airtime. It became a completely different wine. Lost almost all of its oak notes which I liked. So nice to see the evolution. Would be nice to see how this continues to develop in the next few years. Tasty and delicious.
A good wine needs to dance across the palate
100% Chardonnay that was dry-farmed, barrel-fermented, and aged in oak (80% new French barrels) for nine months. Only 831 cases made, which is a pity, because I could sip this rich, refreshing wine every day. I live in Miami and am always on the hunt for crisp, white wines to bring the temperature down. Napa Chardonnay doesn’t usually come to mind. This one, however, is a beauty. It hits the Goldilocks spot for me: lots of ripe white peach, apple, and pear, tons of zippy citrus, and lively, medium+ acidity. As Stu mentioned during the tasting, a good wine needs to dance across the palate, and acidity is the key. If you think you don’t like new world Chardonnay, I dare you to try it – if you can find a bottle.
Bravo, left my palate desiring another glass
Pale gold with green tinge, the nose offers apple, lemon pith, vanilla. On the palate, a beautiful lemon-lime with solid acidity. Excellent mid-palate that surpasses the normal California chardonnay default. Designed to be great by itself, and amazing with food. This is brilliant with blue cheese on a whole wheat cracker; I paired it the following night with baked chicken, greens and baked potato, and again the third evening with sashimi. In every instance, the wine excellent and left my palate desiring another glass, another bottle. Bravo. Smith-Madrone Chardonnay is among my top choices in the under $50 chardonnay from Napa.
Superb value...you have my heart
In two words? Superb value... You can find this bottle on a retail shelf for the price of a Bourgogne Blanc.. My mind has been blown. Even in its infancy, this Chardonnay has so much character. I’ve certainly had many Grand Cru Burgundy of lesser quality. Not that they are the same, but qualitative checkpoints surpass. Luxuriously made with 80% new oak, it shows golden delicious apple. Ripe pear, peach, and lemon custard. Acidity is outstandingly fresh, which gives beautiful lift to the wine, and carries the finish on for more than 2 minutes... overall I am head over heels with this estate. Gone are the days where winemakers hold wines back until they are truly ready. Not only would that be a financial burden, but space can factor in as well. However, this 2016 is Smith Madrone’s current release. Coming from the Spring Mountain District in Napa Valley, this is from a dry farmed vineyard and minimal producing. Only 831 cases. Not sure how they are doing it but wow. You have my heart.
A very long finish
Golden yellow in the glass with aromas of citrus, cedar and toast. Generous flavors of pear, crisp apple, and citrus blend with notes of cedar and are supported by bright, juicy acidity. The wine is a bit round with a very long finish.
If you think you don't like Chardonnay, try this one, you may experience a revelation
This isn’t a shy Chardonnay, neither is it an ostentatious and over the top Chardonnay. This is though a big mouthful of delicious Chardonnay. Over the years they learned which barrels work for their vineyard, and while it has 80% new French oak on it, it’s never obtrusive in the least. Vibrant orchard fruit is buttressed by oodles of rich Meyer lemon. Those flavors fill your mouth and make it happy. If you think you don’t like Chardonnay, try this one, you may experience a revelation.
Damn. This Chardonnay is freaking outstanding. Sunshine on a cloudy day outstanding. I haven’t bought a bottle of California Chardonnay in I don’t even know how long. Thanks for bringing me back into the fold, Smith Madrone. Tense and exciting, with layers of yellow apple and pear flavors, hazelnut and butterscotch follow shortly behind. A structural symphony, perfectly balanced between acidity and fruit/oak flavors. Forget toilet paper, I’m hoarding this wine. 95 glorious points. Bravo, Stu and Charles!
Dressed head-to-toe in gorgeousness
Lithe, lemony, lingering… dressed head-to-toe in gorgeousness.
A great example of a bold, juicy, full-bodied wine that achieves balance
A great example of a bold, juicy, full-bodied wine that achieves balance. The nose gives the impression of salted clarified butter and peaches, leading into a palate of lemon curd, mango and toasted nuts. Gratifying, but refreshing enough that you can’t help but take another sip.
Very complex, very smooth
A wine of light, golden yellow color, and quite brilliant. This has medium oak on the nose, along with ripe apple, peach syrup and lemon. Throw in some wet stones. The palate has white peaches, and lemon again at the end. This is very complex, very smooth, has a rich and creamy palate and still remains fresh. It also is very long.
Spicy and succulent
91 points: The vintage had a near perfect growing season, ideal for Smith-Madrone’s Chardonnay style, a mid-point between California’s opulent stereotype and a new, fresher, more vibrant one. Barrel-fermented, and aged in 80% new French oak, it’s spicy and succulent, with aromas of hazelnut and lemon curd and a creamy texture that doesn’t weigh it down. Drinking Window 2019 - 2025.
The nose is complex and beautiful. Bold out of the bottle, it 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 with tangier fruit and fine, silky texture.
Massive rich ripe fruit
Massive, rich, ripe fruit offering extracted voluptuousness and a powerful punch.
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.