Brand wine with six vintages
Napa Valley, December 2020 – Smith-Madrone Winery produces six bottles of the Smith-Madrone Vertical Rider Collection from the 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 vintages. As we prepare for our 50th anniversary next year, we wanted to offer our customers something fun and unique, says Stuart Smith, Founder and General Partner.
The vintages 2014 and 2015 are only available in very small quantities in the basement library. 2017, 2018 and 2019 have not yet been published. 2016 is the current version of the cellar (which is also available in 1.5 litre magnum bottles). This vertical is offered for a price of $250.
Tasting these wines is the absolute taste of our terroir, adds Stuart Smith. The same grape variety from the same vineyard, grown with the same hands for fifty years, is an opportunity to really understand our winery and our approach to viticulture, he says.
This is literally a great wine selection, a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the same kind of wine that has been lovingly produced by a single producer over the past five decades, said Michael Madrigale, a New York sommelier. Whether people buy it and taste the wines with Coravin or enjoy them at the same time, it will be a very memorable tasting, he added.
Smith Madron is considered a pioneer in the cultivation and production of Riesling in the Napa Valley. When Stu founded a winery in 1971 and planted on the steep slopes of the Spring Mountain vineyard, he made a conscious decision in favor of Riesling because he appreciated the special characteristics of prosperity on the slopes.
Smith-Madron competed and won the prize for the best horseback riding in the world at the 1977 Olympics in Paris, Golt-Millo. It was a blind competition with wines from all over the world, including famous names such as Schloss Vollrads.
In 1983, Smith-Madron was the first American Riesling producer to label its wines under its real Riesling name, after an eight-month battle with the BATF. Smith-Madron was the only vineyard that used the word Riesling on its labels, while other wineries at the time used either Johannisberg Riesling or White Riesling. What for? That’s the real name of the breed, Smith says. When was the last time you had a red Riesling? White Riesling is superfluous; Johannisberg is a picturesque vineyard in Germany, not too different from Smith Madronet. Why should we call the Johannisberg Riesling Johannisberg Riesling if we don’t call Pinot Noir Romani Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon Lafite Sauvignon? The real name of the grape variety is simply Riesling, and our struggle to use this terminology was an expression of our serious commitment to this grape, he adds.
With our Riesling you get the purest expression of the breed. No fermentation of apples and milk, no oak extraction, settling or mixing with other options, says winemaker Charles Smith, Brother Stu. After harvesting, the grape juice goes directly to stainless steel tanks where it is fermented, clarified and bottled. It is a truly minimalist intervention vinification, and Riesling is the only grape variety that reaches its highest peaks in this way, he adds.
Riesling expert Stuart Pigot (Riesling History: The Best White Wine on Earth) named Smith-Madron’s Riesling as the only dry Riesling in North America in his list of the book’s 20 best dry Rieslings. He wrote about the Riesling vineyard: They were not only of consistent quality, but also very special. 1996 was one of the best ripe American Rieslings I have ever tasted. What other American Riesling can match its vitality and unique taste? In the description of the breed in general terms, Pigott wrote: There is not only the spirit of the time, there is also the wine of the time, and Riesling is the white wine of our time. In a world of wine dominated by the powder keg, where standardization of taste is the norm, Riesling remains distinctive and deliciously original.
Smith-Madrone is one of the vineyards of the Napa Valley founded by Stuart Smith in 1971. Viticulture and viticulture is the work of two brothers of the priory, Stuart and Charlie Smith, and Stu’s son, Sam Smith. All Smith Madrone wines come from the 38 acres of vineyards surrounding the estate, which were first planted by Stuart and Charlie 49 years ago. The vineyards extend over steep slopes, from 1300 to 1900 feet. Total annual production is less than 4,000 cases. For more information, please visit www.smithmadrone.com.
Smith-Madrone’s ongoing releases of the vineyards around the winery at the top of the Spring Mountain District appellation in the northern Napa Valley – 2016 Riesling, 2017 Chardonnay, 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2016 Cook’s Flat Reserve.
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