Smith-Madrone Vineyards Revisited (with photos) may be viewed here. Revisited
After having several more bottles of the Riesling described below, I posted a revised review here: Riesling
Note that there is an addendum to the review of the Smith-Madrone 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon at the end of this post.
The Smith-Madrone 2010 Riesling sells for only $27 and compares to the best Alsatian and German Rieslings being made today. Arguably, the Riesling varietal is one of the four greatest or most noble grapes in the world, along with the Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. In the 1970s, I went through a Riesling phase back when wines from famous wineries around the world were still affordable, even great German ones. Over the years, I have found only a few decent American made Rieslings, with most of the dryer ones lacking complexity and minerality and the sweeter and late harvest ones usually being too simple and sweet without the interesting layers that can be found in high-end late harvest German and Austrian Rieslings. The Smith Madrone Riesling is a drier style Riesling, drier than most German Kabinetts, more along the lines of an Alsatian Riesling, but without being overly crisp on the palate or rather austere on the finish, as some Alsatian Rieslings can be.
There is also no tasting fee (another sign of an “authentic winery”) but, as with all of the wineries located up on Spring Mountain, reservations are needed, although easily arranged. Prices are very reasonable for the quality of the wine, with the Riesling being a downright steal at only $27. Smith-Madrone provides the sort of experience you might have found in Napa Valley back in the 1960s or early 1970s; there is really nothing quite like it. If you don’t visit Smith-Madrone, you are missing a part of this history as well as Napa Valley today at its best. We strongly encourage you to visit Smith-Madrone Vineyards while there is still the opportunity to experience a winery that was and continues to be the real thing.
Addendum 4/24/2012: Here is a post I put on the Smith-Madrone Facebook site:
4022 Spring Mountain Rd
Saint Helena, CA 94574
Date of visit: 12/21/2011