Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery2001 Cabernet Sauvignon
(Spring Mountain District ~ Napa Valley)
Charles Smith is one of the few producers on Spring Mountain to make his Cabernet Sauvignon utilizing 100 percent American oak. The domestic variety of wood is most often deemed too aggressive for most Cabernet producers, but Smith and his brother Stuart at tiny Smith-Madrone, are proponents of the wood. Along with other of their techniques, including beginning their picking at 23.5 Brix sugar, which manifests in less-than 14 percent alcohol, the Smiths fashion a wine that can best be described as Old World.
And that ain’t a bad thing at all. But the Cabs made at Smith-Madrone usually don’t win at professional judgings, whose panelists tend to favor more fruit forward, intense wines. Take their 2001 Cabernet, for instance. It’s the perfect match with food, which is the point, isn’t it?
The wine is a bit closed in the nose at the moment but some cherry-berry manages to squeak through. On the palate, the wine at this stage is tight but there’s a substantial backbone of complexity, which includes minerality and earthiness. In the end, everything’s in line here. The finish is long and tannic, so best hold it for a couple of years and drink it over the next 15.
The blend is 90 percent Cabernet, Merlot (8), and Cab Franc (2) from S-M’s red mineral rock, dry-farmed estate vineyard. The wine was unfiltered and unfined and the final alcohol reading was 13.5 percent. Not to be overlooked, is the $35 price. Considering that this is a damned good Cabernet, and from Spring Mountain, one of the Napa Valley's premiere growing areas, that's a bargain.
Reviewed February 28, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.
Other reviewed wines from Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery
Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery
2002 Cabernet Sauvignon
(Spring Mountain District ~ Napa Valley)Alan Goldfarb 12/18/2006
Winery: Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery
Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.