At Home on the Mountain: Three Wines from Smith-Madrone Winery


“If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options.
You can climb it and cross to the other side.
You can go around it.
You can dig under it.
You can fly over it.
You can blow it up.
You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there.
You can turn around and go back the way you came.
Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.” – Vera Nazarian

Not only did Stuart and Charles Smith make a mountain their home, they also established one of Napa Valley’s premier wineries on it. Located on Spring Mountain (1,800-foot elevation), the Smith-Madrone Winery produces several wonderful wines, three of which it is my pleasure to review in this post.

Above – Stuart Smith, vineyard manager, and Charles F. Smith, winemaker.


Smith-Madrone Napa Valley Spring Hill District 2012 Chardonnay

Smith-Madrone 2012 Chardonnay ($32) has enticing aromas of spice, apple, and pear that lead to luscious lemon, papaya, green apple, and melon flavors accompanied by notes of mineral, honeysuckle, and toast. Its texture is opulent, and its finish is lingering and rich. This wine would make a good companion for most seafood and poultry dishes.


Smith-Madrone 2011 Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon

Blended from 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc, this complex wine ($48) is both powerful and elegant. Its impressive flavor profile includes dark cherry, blackberry, blueberry, and plum, with notes of mocha, spice, raspberry, and vanilla lingering in the background. These perfectly integrated flavors are supported by firm but supple tannins and close in a long, resonant finish.


Smith-Madrone Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Riesling

Some wines manage to be both serious and charming, and such is the case with Smith-Madrone 2013 Riesling ($27). Its seductive aromas of peach, nectarine, apricot, lime, and grapefruit precede bright apple, mango, pineapple, and lemon flavors that are balanced by lively acidity and complicated by nuances of honeysuckle, spice, and mineral. This dry Riesling could accompany a wide variety of savory fare, but it would also be the perfect wine to sip on a summer evening when the temperature does not go down with the sun.

Since the Smith brothers are viticultural and vinicultural artists, I thought it appropriate to close this post with a quote from someone who shared both their love of wine and their passion for creating beautiful things.

“The birds have vanished into the sky and now the last cloud drains away. We sit together the mountain and me, until only the mountain remains.” ― Li Bai, the Chinese “Poet of Wine”

Below – A view of Napa Valley from the Spring Mountain vineyards of Smith-Madrone Winery. Photograph courtesy of Elliot Smith.


This entry was posted in Art and Photography, Books, Movies, Music, and Television, Food and Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply