The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 86 of 132

NAPA VALLEY Framed for Sunlight WITH A MODIFIED CANOPY SYSTEM AND ROW RE-PLANTING, SMITH-MADRONE HAS DEVELOPED SHINE IN ITS WINE F Stu Smith with his Springer Spaniel Curly, at Smith-Madrone vineyards in the Spring Mountain District of Napa Valley. rom 1,900 feet above Napa Valley, the view from Spring Mountain looks stunning. Founder and viticulturist Stuart Smith has been taking in this spectacular scenery for the past 41 years. With his brother Charlie, Smith had to apply for a logging permit before they undertook the task of clearing out a dense forest from the property in 1971. "Most of the trees were over 55 years old," Smith recalls, adding, "Douglas firs, manzanitas, black oak and madrones, among others. We had to pay homage to the trees by naming the winery Smith-Madrone." Smith graduated from UC Berkeley in 1970 and studied enology and viticulture at UC Davis for two years. "In '72 we didn't know about row direction, or even pay attention to how the sun was hitting the vines." He settled on planting in a northeast/southwest direction, with a more direct angle of incidence to the morning sunlight. "That first morning sun is what we were after," he claims. "By the time the hottest part of the day rolls around, there's a gentler sun on the grapes." Thinking that he would get about 15 good years from these vines, all planted on their original native roots, it was actually not until 2000 that Smith began replanting because of phylloxera; the vineyard is about 80 percent replanted as of today. The 36 planted (and re-planted) acres include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. —Meridith May Smith-Madrone 2011 Riesling (SRP $27) Perhaps one of the most stunning, elegant domestic Rieslings: white flowers and sun- shine in a lithe body. Fragrant and juicy, Asian pear and honey come up to the surface like a mermaid seeking air. It has the perfume of Alsace and the tightrope acidity of Germany, but it is all Spring Mountain. 86 / the tasting panel / july 2012 PHOTO: COURTESY OF SMITH -MADRONE

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - JULY 2012