Cook's Flat Reviews

The Wine Advocate, May 31, 2022

Smooth and silky

2012 Cook's Flat

93 points: Give it a quick splash in a decanter prior to serving, as it comes out of the bottle with some slightly tarry, black-olive notes, but those give way to more friendly, appealing scents of cedar, cassis and tobacco with air. Like the rest of the wines from Smith-Madrone, acidity plays a prominent role, providing a spine to support aging. It's medium-bodied, smooth and silky yet still firm and crisp, with fresh, herbal overtones on the softly tannic finish.


The Wine Advocate, May 31, 2022

Concentrated, complex and savory

2013 Cook's Flat

95 points: The 2013 Cook's Flat Reserve features perfectly integrated cedar, vanilla and tobacco-tinged cigar box notes with cassis and cherry fruit. It's medium to full-bodied, supple and silky with maturity, yet it still has plenty of life ahead of it. Concentrated, complex and savory, it's a classic mountain Cabernet from a great vintage that can be consumed now and over the next 15 years or so.


Don Winkler, International Wine Review, January 20, 2022

Elegant expression of mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Cook's Flat

94 points: Named after George Cook, who planted this 8 acre parcel on the top of Spring Mountain in the 1880s, this is a singular, expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. Showing dark cassis and slate like minerals on the nose, it’s refined and light on its feet in the mouth, yet packed with flavor. An elegant expression of mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Made from a mountain top parcel replanted in 1972. It’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

https://i-winereview.com/blog/index.php/2022/01/19/smith-madrone-wine-fire-and-economics-in-napa/

Martin Redmond, Enofylz, Instagram, September 2, 2021

Exceptional

2016 Cook's Flat

This exceptional wine pours an opaque garnet with effusive aromas of black and blue fruit, cassis, tobacco and spice. On the palate it's medium-bodied, elegant, and complex with a supple texture and well -integrated polished, sweet tannins. It shows rich black cherry, ripe black and blueberries, and spice flavors with a long, and very appealing delicious finish. A blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon (46%) Cabernet Franc. This world-class wine is made in very limited quantities from the best vintages from their best estate blocks. With decanting, it's  approachable now, but will handsomely reward cellaring.
When the Smith brothers bootstrapped the purchase of a 200 acre ranch on Spring Mountain, in the Napa Valley in 1971, it included a vineyard that had been planted over a century before. But the forest had reclaimed much of the land. The brothers had to call in loggers to clear patches of land that would become vineyards.  
They sustainably farm 34 acres situated at elevations between 1,300 and 2,000 feet, on steep slopes which range up to 35%.  Their estate vineyards are planted to primarily (in ascending order) Riesling, Chardonnay.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CTVgsOXPzqB/

WineReviewOnline, Rich Cook, August 24, 2021

Don't hesitate

2016 Cook's Flat

98 points: Looking back at my review of the 2007 vintage of this wine – it’s first – I’m struck by the fact that I could say virtually the same words about this vintage.  The blend is different, but the result is strikingly similar.  A wine not made in every vintage, it’s only separated out from the rest of the Cabernet program when Stu and Charlie decide that it can do what it’s done here.  There’s a “drink me now” aspect to this wine that’s undeniable, which of course can be dangerous to any plans to hold it long term.  That said, I’d still recommend betting on this to have a reasonably long run, so if you’re the trophy hunter type who lives for the magic of a fully evolved masterpiece, don’t hesitate.  

http://winereviewonline.com/wine_reviews.cfm

Austin Beeman blog, December 28, 2020

Seriously luxurious taste of Napa Valley's Mountains

2016 Cook's Flat

One of my 12 most memorable wines of 2020. A red blend patterned after Bordeaux, this is a seriously luxurious taste of Napa Valley’s Mountains with just enough structure to keep from descending into goo. Pretty great stuff.

http://www.austinbeeman.com/blog/memorable2020

WineTravelEats, Amber Burke, July 17, 2020

Long and luxurious finish

2016 Cook's Flat

The Cook’s Flat Reserve is their premium limited release Cabernet Sauvignon blend (54% Cabernet Sauvignon 46% Cabernet Franc). This is a special wine for special occasions. Smith-Madrone does not make this wine every year, instead only producing small quantities from outstanding vintage years. On the nose, you will find beautiful aromas of forest fruits, damsons, black currants, tobacco leaf, and spice. This complex and sumptuous medium-bodied wine shines brightly in the glass with its silky texture and well-integrated tannins. It has a long and luxurious finish that will make you reach for your glass to take another sip. If I were to use one word to describe this wine it would be “elegant." It is just that good. I’d love this wine with a venison stew. It would be lovely with any kind of game like elk or boar. Beef Wellington also comes to mind as a wonderful pairing option. This is a wine for sharing and making memories with those you love.

https://napafoodandvine.com/zooming-with-smith-madrone-winery-and-vineyards/

Jim Van Bergen, JVB Uncorked, June 27, 2020

This wine is about a winemaker crafting top quality wine for an impassioned enjoyment

2016 Cook's Flat

Having tasted the 2009 and the 2013, the 2016 is poised to be quite popular. The 2016 blend is comprised of 54% cabernet sauvignon and 46% cabernet franc; it is aged 19 months in new French oak barrels. Featuring an expansive and glamorous nose, the palate experiences intense full fruit: red plum, blackberry, and black plum with a touch of cassis. Secondary and rich savory notes of tobacco, potting soil, aged leather, forest floor and vanilla tantalize the side and top palates, as the luxurious mouthfeel expands and bathes the tongue, offering greater enjoyment. An extended finish on this blend is more than satisfactory- I immediately began formulating food pairing and a wine dinner based around this bottle.

When I contemplate Cook’s Flat Reserve (which one does, with such a lovely glass of wine) this wine is about a winemaker crafting top quality wine for an impassioned enjoyment. What is fascinating about this wine is how delicious, enjoyable, and intense it is in its youth, for a world-class red blend that has Old World styling. For similar styles from Bordeaux, a wine would have to age considerably longer than four years to have any similar balance - but Cook’s Flat Reserve demonstrates great balance and structure along with the ability to age and still retain quality fruit, acidity and tannin. With a decade of age, that intensity evolves into refined structure with even greater complexity- so either youthful or fully aged, you maximize enjoyment with this bottle.

Should you be looking for a top-flight California red blend that speaks of the best of both the Old World and new world in great wine making, this is the bottle you will want to seek out. Like me, once you’ve had it, you’ll want to have several from each year in your cellar, to age and enjoy, while knowing you can still drink them young for an exceptional experience without having to wait 10-20 years. However, those with patience will reap the benefits.

https://jvbuncorked.com/2020/06/27/smith-madrone-blurring-the-lines-between-old-and-new-world-wines/

Rick Dean, StrongCoffeeToRedWine, July 2, 2020

A labor of love

2016 Cook's Flat

This is a special wine, a labor of love. It is created from a small group of the best barrels of the vintage. Since every vintage is different, you can expect the blend also to be different.  The 2016 blend is 54% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Cabernet Franc, aged 19 months in new French oak barrels. This is an expensive wine. A precious gift for the person(s) who want more than just a great glass of wine, but an immersion into the 1,800 feet elevation slopes of Cook’s Flat as well as the winemaking skill of the maker. Someone who drinks and contemplates the wine. They admire how it changes from the first glass to the last. I am not sure when the 2016 vintage will be released, but even in its youth, it is an incredible sip. I can only imagine what will transform in the years to come. Dark blue and black fruit aromas waft out of my glass. Black currant, plum, even prune intermix with earth and vanilla. The palate offered similar flavors and so much more, including a tad of dark, dark chocolate.  We drank this bottle over two days. I wish I had documented the differences on day two. Shame on me. Both days were magical. This was special.

https://strongcoffeetoredwine.com/smith-madrone-vineyards-and-winery/

Nancy Brazil, PullThatCork, July 18, 2020

An elegant, complex and evolved wine that is still bright and youthful

2009 Cook's Flat

An elegant, complex and evolved wine that is still bright and youthful. Complex dark fruit and cedar aromas are followed with dark plum and red fruit flavors. Hints of cedar and pencil shavings add complexity. Tannins are silky smooth and the finish is very long. Delicious.

https://pullthatcork.com/2016/smith-madrone/

Wine Casual, Reggie Solomon, July 8, 2020

Mid-palate complexity abounds with subtlety of flavor and nuance

2016 Cook's Flat

94 points: There are red blends and then there are “red blends,” and this is the enviable latter. Deep-intensity ruby in color, this wine has an aromatic, medium-plus-intensity nose of blackberry, bramble, dried mushroom, black plum, leather, red currant, black cherry and violet blossom. On the palate the dry, full-bodied red blend has medium-plus-intensity, black-fruit flavors with a hints of leather supported by medium acidity and velvety, medium-plus tannin. Mid-palate complexity abounds with subtlety of flavor and nuance.The red blend you bring to a dinner party that will please you and the crowd.

https://winecasual.com/smith-madrone-vineyards-and-winery-cooks-flat-reserve-2016-an-enviable-complex-red-blend/

Gabe's View, Gabe Sasso, June 16, 2020

A joyous and hedonistic wine

2016 Cook's Flat

This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (54%) and Cabernet Franc (46%). Dark and spicy fruit aromas lead the charge here. Black cherry and plum flavors abound. Bits of kirsch liqueur and sweet dark chocolate drive the long and spice laden finish. This is a joyous and hedonistic wine, and like their other offerings is also well proportioned. Drinking Cook’s Flat Reserve brings to mind the term, Excess in Moderation. I’d lay it down for awhile, but it’s also hard to resist now.

http://www.gabesview.com/blogposts/2020/6/16/smith-madrone-simply-napas-best-winery

Enofylz, Martin Redmond, July 7, 2020

Elegant and complex

2016 Cook's Flat

93 points: Opaque garnet with effusive aromas of black and blue fruit, cassis, tobacco and spice. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, elegant, and complex with a supple texture and well -integrated polished, sweet tannins. It shows rich black cherry, ripe black and blueberries, and spice flavors with a long, and very appealing delicious finish. A blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon (46%) Cabernet Franc. The wine is made in very limited quantities from the best vintages from their best blocks. This is an exceptional wine that is approachable now, but will handsomely reward cellaring. The proprietary name “Cook’s Flat is an homage to George Cook, the first owner of the property. ‘Cook’s Flat’ was the local oldtimers’ name for the eight-acre plateau-like vineyard block which was replanted in 1972. 

https://enofylzwineblog.com/2020/07/07/a-splendid-virtual-tasting-with-smith-madrones-stu-smith/

Lauren Walsh, TheSwirlingDervish, July 1, 2020

Exquisitely balanced, this wine is a hedonistic pleasure

2016 Cook's Flat

Made in preciously small quantities only in superior vintages, Cook’s Flat Reserve is modeled on the world-famous first growth wines of Bordeaux. Always a blend of the finest barrels, the 2016 brings together Cabernet Sauvignon (54%) and Cabernet Franc (46%) in a medley of ripe black fruit, tobacco, baking spices, and sun-warmed earth. Exquisitely balanced with moderate acidity and tannin, this wine is a hedonistic pleasure to drink now but would reward the patient oenophile who can put it away for a few more years. A simple meal of grilled steak and baked potatoes allowed the Cook’s Flat Reserve to shine. Only 111 cases of the 2016 were made, and each bottle is individually numbered. Available only via the winery (for now) count yourself among the lucky few if you manage to score a bottle. I’m still thinking about this wine two weeks after tasting it. Yeah, it’s that good.

https://theswirlingdervish.com/2020/07/01/the-folks-at-smith-madrone-my-kind-of-wine-people/

Grape-Experiences, Cindy Rynning, July 5, 2020

A brilliant, balanced blend

2016 Cook's Flat

A brilliant, balanced blend, this wine can be served at a star-studded dinner party or at relaxed backyard gathering with your favorite wine lovers. Stu Smith explained that they “have fun with this project. The name is an homage to George Cook, the first legal owner of the property the Smith family purchased in 1971, and indicates the 8-acre parcel (named Cook’s Flat) of the 200 acres purchased. The concept started with the 2007 vintage. We didn’t want to make big, bold California Cabernet. Instead, we wanted to make a wine to compete with First Growth Bordeaux. We only produce this wine when the vintage year is superior and each year the blend is different. The 2016 is 54% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Cabernet Franc. We’ll release the wine when we want to….” Rich and full, I discovered intense aromas of dark and juicy plums, black cherries and hint of earth. On the creamy, textured palate, notes of blackberries, dark chocolate, currants, sweet tobacco, baking spices and slightest hint of green tea rested on a foundation of soft tannins and moderate acidity. The finish was exceptional. Stu suggested, “Cook’s Flat Reserve 2016 can age 15-20 years. It’s elegant, soft, sophisticated.” Only 130 cases of this wine were produced; my bottle was stamped 1352 of 1560.

http://www.grape-experiences.com/2020/07/convictions-beliefs-wines-smith-madrone-vineyards-winery/

Dallas Wine Chick, Melanie Ofenloch, July 5, 2020

Elegant and nuanced

2016 Cook's Flat

The Cook’s Flat Reserve represents the best barrels from the best lots and is made in certain vintages.  It reflects the heritage of the first winery on the property — Cook’s Flat was the name used by locals for the vineyard planted by George Cook.  This was elegant and nuanced with blackberry, black cherry, raspberry, tobacco, spice and earth.  At $225, it is a special occasion wine, but worth it. In talking with Stu and tasting these wines, the word that comes to mind is authentic.  As Stu put it, “Mother nature is our stamp and with her comes balance, complexity and elegance that reflects the terroir.  Our goal is play in the dirt and make affordable wines that encourage discussion and make the world flow away.”

http://www.dallaswinechick.com/smith-madrone-humble-beginnings-unforgettable-wines/

1WineDude, Joe Roberts, July 1, 2020

Long, savory, supple, even sexy, there are no rough edges on this nuanced, fabulous mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc

2016 Cook's Flat

Cook’s Flat never really disappoints, and this latest release (with only just over 1,500 bottles produced) keeps right in line with tradition. Smith-Madrone’s top-of-the-line since 2007, “we set out to make the best wine that we could” and “put the cross-hairs on the First Growths [of Bordeaux],” Smith told us. This is meant to evoke a great Margaux, and it comes as damned close as any Napa Cab I’ve tried recently. Long, savory, supple, even sexy, there are no rough edges on this nuanced, fabulous mix of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Explosive despite its youth and tightness, this is the more focused, spicier, smokier, darker, and slightly deeper big brother to the Estate Cab. Nearly a week after the tasting, it was still drinking incredibly well from the bottle, suggesting an impressive aging curve ahead.

http://www.1winedude.com/wine-in-the-time-of-coronavirus-part-5-courage-of-convictions-with-smith-madrone/

Gabe's View, Gabe Sasso, June 16, 2020

A joyous and hedonistic wine

2013 Cook's Flat

This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (54%) and Cabernet Franc (45%). Dark and spicy fruit aromas lead the charge here. Black cherry and plum flavors abound. Bits of kirsch liqueur and sweet dark chocolate drive the long and spice laden finish. This is a joyous and hedonistic wine, and like their other offerings is also well proportioned. Drinking Cook’s Flat Reserve brings to mind the term, Excess in Moderation. A mere 111 cases of this wine were bottled. I’d lay it down for awhile, but it’s also hard to resist now.

http://www.gabesview.com/blogposts/2020/6/16/smith-madrone-simply-napas-best-winery

Decanter Magazine, Elin McCoy, February 2020

Tantalising aromas

2013 Cook's Flat

94 points: Only 194 cases of this Cabernet Franc-dominant blend were made. Black cherries, tobacco and herbs dominate the tantalising aromas, which spill out of the glass. Generous and open, it’s not as floral or dense as the 2016 and shows a kind of savoury, briary style. Unlike the Estate Cabernet, it’s aged in 100% new French oak.Drinking Window 2019 - 2038.

https://smithmadrone.com/news/download-decanter2020.html

Advinetures, Allison & Chris Wallace, May 22, 2019

Ripe and polished

2013 Cook's Flat

"Cook’s Flat” is what the locals used to call the 8 acre plot planted in 1972 and used to grow the grapes for this red blend. This vintage the cuvée was 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, with roughly equal parts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Many Napa proprietary blends or luxury cuvées are distinguished by their power. The Smiths, always marching to the beat of their own drum, have focused on elegance in this wine. More toward the black fruit end of the spectrum than their regular Cabernet, this wine showed great intensity without any heaviness. The tannins are medium+, but they are ripe and polished. A rich mouthfeel makes it a pleasure to drink now but Stu assured us this has a long future in the cellar. With such precise balance, we have no reason to doubt him.

https://advinetures.ca/blog/authentic-wines-personalities-smith-madrone/

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