Smith-Madrone Winery & Vineyards produces only estate wines from the winery’s dry-farmed vineyards. The 200-acre estate ranch encompasses the vineyard, planted over a century ago. Today the vines cover thirty-four acres in various stages of production. The tributary name of the winery honors the Smith brothers and the ranch’s most important tree, the Madrone.

Founder Stu Smith purchased the ‘terroir’ in 1971 in partnership with family and friends after discovering that the land had been a vineyard in the 1880s. Along with his brother Charles Smith, Stuart Smith holds the title of vineyard manager and winemaker. In a statement, they share their vision for the operation:

“At Smith-Madrone, our goal is to make artisanal wines which are distinctive and are an expression of both the vintage and us, as vintners, but above all else, are wines which bring pleasure to the senses. Every year our 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, yet Mother Nature stamps each vintage with a unique set of flavors, senses, and character. Vintage dating is a celebration of that uniqueness and diversity.”


Recently, I had the pleasure of receiving samples of three of the winery’s current releases. Of the three, I have currently tasted two of the estate’s wines; Smith-Madrone 2017 Estate Riesling and 2017 Smith-Madrone Estate Chardonnay. I tasted these wines on their own. I will taste the Cabernet Sauvignon at a later date.


Smith-Madrone Details

Smith-Madrone Rieslings

2017 Estate Riesling

Napa Valley

Sub-Appellation: Spring Mountain District

100% Riesling

Alc 12.9%

Production: 1,449 cases

Price: $34


The Wine

The wine has charming legs that slowly drift smoothly down the glass like a pair perfect silk stockings. It is pretty impressive to watch.

Heavy aromas of petrol surge from the glass immediately upon swirling, nectarine and apple push through to reveal themselves afterward. The petroleum mixed with the fruit notes urges your nose to revisit before each sip.

There is a barrage of lemon, lime, nectarines, and green apple on the palate, accompanied by Thai basil, wet stone, and unstated notes of beeswax. The wine finishes with white pepper, basil, pink grapefruit, and lively lime. This medium-dry, medium-body wine is bright and crisp with almost a creamy mouthfeel. Subtle flavors of mango appear on the finish as the wine warms.

2017 Smith-Madrone Estate Chardonnay

2017 Chardonnay

Napa Valley

Sub-Appellation: Spring Mountain District

100% Chardonnay

Barrel Fermented

Alc 14.6

Production: 991 cases

Price: $40


The Wine

Aromas of yellow apples, burnt caramel, and hazelnut reminiscent of a holiday tart.

Zesty notes citrus peel, tart green apple, pineapple, vanilla, baking spices, and hints of toast on the palate. The finish is lengthy, with citrus carrying through. Riveting acid. Tingly, almost peppery end. This wine has nice minerality, incredible complexity, and structure and is super balanced.


I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction wines. While I can’t claim a favorite amongst the two, I can attest, both of these wines were exquisite. These wines are perfect for summer sipping. However, I could see myself drinking them year-round. The empty bottle happened way too soon. Both are lovely with or without food and a great value.

I am looking forward to the next bottle.

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