Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Smith-Madrone Chardonnay 2010

Napa Valley producer Smith-Madrone’s Riesling was written up here recently.  Stu Smith and his winemaker brother Charles were kind enough to send a sample of their Chardonnay as well.

The steep mountainside estate vineyards in the Spring Mountain district were first planted in 1971 and are primarily dry-farmed at an altitude of between 1,300 and 2,000 feet.

This 100% Chardonnay is made from the fruit of vines planted by the Smith brothers 38 years ago.  It is completely barrel fermented and aged in 100% new French oak for eight months.  The alcohol content stands at a robust 14.4% abv, with only 703 cases produced.  The wine retails for $30.

Immediately noticeable is a nice golden color in the glass.  The nose shows pineapple, apricot and peach aromas.  Oak spice is present, but it is also pleasant.  The French oak shows well on the palate as a smokey taste, and it blends very nicely with the fruit flavors.  Apricot and citrus meet butterscotch, but there's no flab here.  A racy acidity adds a zip I don't often find in a Chardonnay.

I wish I had had a bottle with me when I ordered pineapple tamales at Loteria!  Try this Chardonnay with cashews, hummus or a creamy cheese and you should be pleased with the pairing.  I was.


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