16 December 2013

Smith-Madrone Wines

I had the blessed fortune to attend two Thanksgiving dinners this year, though nothing will quite match 1995 when circumstances collided to provide me four Thanksgiving meals within 48 hours. (I was also at the height of my bread baking phase, and made two dozen loaves of various classic European styles.)

The second harvest festival this year was held at the home of my parents along with Julia, The Roommate, my brother, and his wife and daughter. For the occasion, I brought along a trio of wines from Smith-Madrone Vineyards. There's a long tradition of serving American wines at the Thanksgiving table, and I was particularly excited to serve the small batch bottles of a classic Napa producer.

2012 Smith-Madrone Riesling
Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley
100% Riesling
$27, 12.5% abv.
798 cases made

Napa Riesling in tall green bottles was an early favorite of the Carter family back in the 90s. This one had gentle notes of green apple and was lightly sweet with earthy undertones and firm acidity. Really a spectacular balance of elements that could stand up to selections from Germany, and one that went particularly well with the side dishes like green bean casserole and my mother's rich sweet potato casserole.

2011 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay
Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley
100% Chardonnay
$30, 14.2% abv.
463 cases made

100% fermentation in French oak gave this California Chardonnay a nose of buttered popcorn with a touch of vanilla. Beneath that are scents of warm roasted peaches. Mild acidity and a round mouthfeel lead to a long finish. I found that it was a great match for Dad's pecan-smoked turkey.

2009 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon
Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley
84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc
$45, 13.9% abv.
1,302 cases made

Dad also slow smoked a full, grass-fed, Hereford tenderloin that was rubbed down with a spice mix and cooked to a perfect medium rare. I was excited to pour this wine with the delicate beef flavors, and it did not disappoint. Rich cassis aromas with nice elements of bell pepper and tobacco. Berries show up on the aftertaste. The wine shows medium tannins and a long, lingering finish, and should continue to improve for a few more years. Highly recommended, and make sure that you have friends and family around to enjoy it.

Note: These wines were provided as samples for review.

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