Riesling Reviews

Wine1percent, Stephen McConnell, September 30, 2020

Your Riesling fantasies are going to come true

2016 Riesling

One of those bottles which sit in the cellar SCREAMING at me to open them and I relish–and put off–and relish–and put off–trying the new vintage every time. One of the handful of California producers who GET IT RIGHT year-in and year-out; you just KNOW all your Riesling fantasies are going to come true. Pale canary, just a shimmer of straw in a crystalline body. Funky drrrty grassiness in the nose, a full breath of mineral tip-toeing around petrichor and petrol, never committing to either in an infinite balance of slight citrus, lemongrass, sagebrush, and peachy-hazelnut fruit. Everything chopped up into tiny parcels feeding the grand scape of things: nothing massively jumping or hedonistic, each slight nuance firmly in its place. Far more lavish on the tongue. Nectarine and apricot hit hard, full and round, smoky acidity coating all. Perhaps one of the more *flush* of vintages I have had: nothing meager here. Full rich decadent fruit edging on sweetness all over the mouth. The Dirty Denizens of Disaster combine again from the nose into the finish, chalky and brittle on one end but viscous and coating at the other. The infinite lack of finality is one of those things lovers of this variety cherish, and the brutality of it gives plenty of bitter woody fruit-gasm for ever and ever.


https://wine1percent.com/2020/09/30/rise-up/

Oded Cohen, Odedi's Wine Reviews, September 23, 2020

Nicely balanced and rich.

2016 Riesling

92 points. Light golden in color and very pretty. Strong nose of citrus, lemons, yellow apples, diesel, spices, minerals, light tropical fruits, sea salt and pineapples. Medium plus in body with medium acidity, crisp and creamy. Dry on the palate with lemons, citrus, apples, pears, light diesel, pineapples, white pepper, light earth, herbs and spices. Long tangy finish with limes and black pepper. This is a very tasty Riesling from Napa Valley. Showing nice complexity with a nice mouthfeel. Nicely balanced and rich. Although easy to drink, it is more of a thinking wine. A good quality wine with lots to offer. The spicy finish makes it interesting. Very expressive right out of the bottle, and calmed down after 30 minutes of airtime. Better when not too cold. This 4 year old is drinking so fresh, and I love that. Would age nicely in the next 10 years. Good by itself or with food. I had it all by itself by the pool.


https://winesipping.wordpress.com/2020/09/23/smith-madrone-vineyards-and-winery-spring-mountain-district-riesling-2016-napa-valley-california/

ShanksandChardonnay, September 8, 2020

Exceptional

2016 Riesling

For white wine Wednesday, I’ve selected a Napa Valley Riesling. This American version is notable for the fact that it is imported into the varietal’s ancestral home. It was an exceptional example. Intensely aromatic and flavorful with a crisp and refreshing character, I understand why even the Germans are willing to tip a glass. Our September snowman approved as well. ⛄️ Color was lemon with pale intensity. Nose was pronounced intensity with fresh green apple and citrus with apricot and mineral aromas. On the palate it was dry with mouth-watering high acidity, medium alcohol, medium body, and pronounced flavor intensity that confirmed the green apple, citrus, apricot, and mineral notes as well. It also had a medium finish. Balance+ Length - Identity/Intensity + Complexity + = Overall, very good quality.


https://www.instagram.com/p/CE8QK0sniGL/

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, August 25, 2020, Michele Anna Jordan

As suave and smooth as Fred and Ginger taking a twirl

2016 Riesling

Our Wine of the Week, Smith-Madrone 2016 Napa Valley Spring Mountain Estate Riesling, is as suave and smooth as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers taking a twirl across a dance floor. There is a bounty of forward fruit, suggesting primarily apricots and white peaches, followed by a mid-palate softness evocative of lemon curd. The finish is clean and crisp, with little bursts of minerality. There is the slightest impression of sweetness, too, not from residual sugar but from the fruit itself; the wine is dry. There is just the slightest hint of sweet spice. At the table, the wine can take a bit of heat, especially from Indian cuisines, as it merges beautifully with plain whole milk yogurt, a traditional condiment for countless Indian dishes. To enjoy this wine with grilled chicken or pork, add a simple raita — yogurt with diced cucumber or minced radishes — alongside and you’ll have a match that soars. When searching for delicious pairings, look to the wine’s roots, especially in Alsace, the eastern France region where the varietal thrives. The mountainous area is known for its charcuterie and its sauerkraut, both which pair with this wine. Fresh water fish is an Alsace specialty, and if you snag some wild trout, you’ll enjoy this wine alongside.


https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/lifestyle/alsatian-cabbage-a-classic-match-with-riesling/?ref=related&sba=AAS

Santa Rosa Press Democrat, August 25, 2020, Peg Melnik

A gorgeous riesling buoyed by great minerality

2016 Riesling

Wine of the Week: A gorgeous riesling buoyed by great minerality. High-toned stone fruit is coupled with bright acid. It’s nimble — elegant as a ballet dancer — and finishes crisp. Impressive. Stu Smith said there are three reasons the winery’s riesling excels. “The first is that our grapes are mountain grown,” he said. “Two, we deeply care and love the varietal. Three, we have a responsibility to the varietal. By acknowledging riesling as one of the four most important varietals in the world, we accept the challenge, the responsibility, if you will, that we must make a great wine.” “At our core we believe wine should be refreshing, compelling and the utmost companion with food,” he said. “Why? I think wines that have great structure and taste good today will continue to taste great for years to come. Acid in whites is important like tannin is to reds.” Smith agreed whites can age as well as reds. “Riesling loses the fresh fruit flavors and aromas and starts to take on the stronger flavors of dried fruit (and) a honey-like aroma and flavor intertwined with hints of fusel aromas. This interplay creates a wine of sublime beauty that can rival the best that red wines can offer.”


https://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/lifestyle/wine-of-the-week-winner-smith-madrone-2016-estate-spring-mountain-distric/

HV Wine Goddess, Debbie Gioquindo, July 12, 2020

An elegant and sexy riesling

2016 Riesling

If you are looking for an elegant and sexy riesling, this one is for you. ⁠Delicate with silky petrol notes and hints of orange blossom, lime and white flowers. The palate has nice acidity, with green apple, stone fruit and a hint lemon on the finish.⁠ Chef's pairing suggestions: pan-seared white fish such as dorade, perch, rosefish and trout. Wienerschnitzel with German potato salad, Knockwurst with sauerkraut and collards. Looking for some cheese, Chef suggests a medium neutral cheese like Gouda or Edam.⁠


https://www.instagram.com/p/CCi_3Ntn4oh/

WineTravelEats, Amber Burke, July 17, 2020

Beautifully dry and perfectly crafted

2016 Riesling

It is a knock it out of the park wine, and what Smith-Madrone is truly known for. In our opinion, this Riesling is one of the best produced in the USA and could easily go toe to toe with what is produced in Germany. I never get tired of drinking this year after year as my go-to summer sip. This wine ages beautifully. I have tasted a 20-year-old bottle and it was exquisite. To me, this Riesling tastes of summer – on the nose, you will find petrol, white flowers, and lime. On the palate, you will find notes of white peaches and honeysuckle with a dollop of citrus. Beautiful acidity and a small amount of minerality bring this wine balance and complexity. It has a lovely pale straw color which deepens as it ages. I often serve this with Indian style curries. The freshness of the wine contrasts with the spices and helps to tame and enhance their flavors. I’d also suggest Thai dishes as another option. Do not be fooled by the name Riesling. This is no sweet wine. It is beautifully dry and perfectly crafted. If you try only one of their wines, this is the one I am going to suggest.


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

Tobin, Instagram, August 14, 2020

Heavenly pairing 

2016 Riesling

A lovely recommendation from the Napa General Store to go with their famous Chinese chicken salad. Smith-Madrone delivered a beautiful rendition of Napa style Riesling. That diesel smell meets a viscosity of melon and tropical fruit. Heavenly pairing.


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

ArmchairSommelier, Kirsten Georgi, July 22, 2020

The best Riesling California has to offer

2016 Riesling

My favorite California Riesling is from Smith-Madrone Winery. You can’t have a conversation about California Riesling without Smith-Madrone. Stu Smith planted Riesling at Smith-Madrone back in 1972, believing then (and now) that Riesling is not just one of the most important white grapes in the world, but one of the most important grapes in the world (along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay). Smith-Madrone is located in the Spring Mountain District of Napa Valley. Vineyards sit at elevations between 1,300 and 2,000 feet, on steep slopes which range up to 34%. Smith’s 6.25 acres of Riesling vines have east-facing exposures. To fit that acreage into the larger picture of Riesling in California, Napa Valley has a total of 79 acres planted to Riesling. Smith is a huge proponent of dry-farming and the idea that grapes that struggle produce better wines. The vines send their roots deep into the soil in their search for water and nutrients, producing smaller berries, with a larger skin-to-juice ratio. Smith-Madrone’s Riesling is a pure expression of the grape — fermented and aged in stainless steel. Smith says, “There’s no French or American oak, no lees, no batonnage, no malolactic, no micro-oxygenation or like type of manipulation. This is the purest expression and form that a grape can give.” Smith-Madrone Riesling is fantastic stuff. IMO, the best Riesling California has to offer. You’d have to go to Mosel to find a Riesling with this kind of purity, elegance, and precision. Waste all the time you want on Riesling, Smith-Madrone.


https://armchairsommelier.com/2020/07/22/california-riesling-the-limitations-of-selling-wine-in-a-grocery-store-part-2/

UncorkWithLisa, Lisa Eppel, July 6

Beautiful structure and balance

2016 Riesling

On the nose, I was immediately greeted with aromas of citrus and petrol followed by a nice touch of honeysuckle. On the palate, stone fruits (apricot) come forth as well as lime and crisp green apple. There’s a touch of creamy honey-like sweetness that is superbly balanced with the juicy tart acidity. This wine has beautiful structure and balance! The finish is long and lingering with wet stone minerality (oh how I love that minerality!)⁣. Dry with 12.8% abv and 0.68% residual sugar. The grapes were grown in the Napa Valley Spring Mountain District appellation, keeping with the international tradition of Riesling which is known to thrive on steep hillsides!⁣ This was my first Napa Valley Riesling ~ I did not expect to experience that Alsatian Riesling sensation that is so longed after. Great Job Smith-Madrone! ⁣


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

SwirlingDervish, Lauren Walsh, July 1, 2020

Unapologetically ripe and exuberant, lightly restrained by tart acidity that keeps all that personality in check

2016 Riesling

I have to admit: this was the wine I was most looking forward to tasting. Remember how I described my fellow wine bloggers who went crazy for all the Smith-Madrone wines? The most effusive praise – across the board – was for the Riesling. A bit of an outlier in Napa, Riesling more often calls to mind the steep slopes of the Mosel in Germany or perhaps the sun-warmed slopes of Alsace. Spring Mountain? Not so much. But this wine makes you wish Riesling were more prominent among the plantings; and that it all could be made by Smith-Madrone. Sweet and spicy bahn-mi pizza was a nice match with the Riesling. 100% Riesling, this wine smells like a beautiful fruit salad: apples, pears, passion fruit, and mango spritzed with a few drops of lemon juice and sprinkled with lime zest and ginger. It is unapologetically ripe and exuberant, lightly restrained by tart acidity that keeps all that personality in check. Reminiscent of Alsace but with even more pizzazz. 


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

StrongCoffeetoRedWine, Rick Dean, July 2, 2020

Mouth-wateringly juice finish

2016 Riesling

If you see or hear the word Riesling and you think sweet German wine, then think again. The only thing this has in common with the German wine is the grapes used. This Riesling is Alsatian in style. It sees no oak, only stainless steel. The style is dry and is made to be a pure expression of the grape. Like all Smith-Madrone wines, acidity is key. It starts out bright and lively and ends with a mouth-wateringly juicy finish. The nose is a blend of floral notes, citrus peel, and early peach and stone fruits. It has a creamy center. The palate is consistent with the nose with notes of stone fruits, including peach and apricot, lime citrus, and a tad of minerality and spice. I generally drink Riesling with spicy food, and this wine would be a great pairing with that. But do not limit yourself; spicy and savory of any kind will also make a great pairing. It will even “pair” with itself on a hot summer day as you sit on the porch, watching the sun cross the sky.


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

Enofylz, Martin Redmond, July 7, 2020

Dry and very fresh

2016 Riesling

Very pale straw color with green highlights with aromatic white peach, nectarine, lemon, honeysuckle, wet stone and a hint of petrichor. On the palate it’s dry and very fresh with white peach, nectarine, honey, Meyer lemon flavors accented with a wet stone minerality and citrusy long finish. 


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

DallasWineChick, Melanie Ofenloch, July 5, 2020

A standout Riesling

2016 Riesling

A standout Riesling. It was dry and had a great minerality with notes of apricot, citrus, green apple and petrol.


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

UncorkwithLisa, Lisa Eppel, July 5, 2020

Superbly balanced

2016 Riesling

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗛𝗲𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗢𝗻! And I have the perfect Riesling for you to try!! This 2016 Smith-Madrone Riesling would make a wonderful addition to your summer wines for the hottest of summer days! On the nose, I was immediately greeted with aromas of citrus and petrol followed by a nice touch of honeysuckle. On the palate, stone fruits (apricot) come forth as well as lime and crisp green apple. There’s a touch of creamy honey-like sweetness that is superbly balanced with the juicy tart acidity. This wine has beautiful structure and balance! The finish is long and lingering with wet stone minerality (oh how I love that minerality!). The grapes were grown in the Napa Valley Spring Mountain District appellation, keeping with the international tradition of Riesling which is known to thrive on steep hillsides! This was my first Napa Valley Riesling ~ I did not expect to experience that Alsatian Riesling sensation that is so longed after. Great Job Smith-Madrone!
Oh, I almost forgot, swipe left ⬅️to see what we paired it with!! Spicy tikka masala with cauliflower rice…it was a pairing to die for!


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

Swirling Dervish, Lauren Walsh, July 1, 2020

Reminiscent of Alsace but with even more pizzazz

2016 Riesling

A bit of an outlier in Napa, Riesling more often calls to mind the steep slopes of the Mosel in Germany or perhaps the sun-warmed slopes of Alsace. Spring Mountain? Not so much. But this wine makes you wish Riesling were more prominent among the plantings; and that it all could be made by Smith-Madrone. 100% Riesling, this wine smells like a beautiful fruit salad: apples, pears, passionfruit, and mango spritzed with a few drops of lemon juice and sprinkled with lime zest and ginger. It is unapologetically ripe and exuberant, lightly restrained by tart acidity that keeps all that personality in check. Reminiscent of Alsace but with even more pizzazz. 


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

Jim Van Bergen, JVB Uncorked, June 27, 2020

Superbly dry

2016 Riesling

It is more Alsatian than German in style: superbly dry; with a honeyed nose but dry palate and body. On the palate are green apple, Bosc pear, and a solid key lime base layer. Capable of pairing with rich and savory food, this is ideal for Thai, Burmese, Sushi and a Spanish gazpacho, but can handle everything from a salad to steak tartare, from carpaccio to mussels, from meringues to chocolate lava cake. If you ask me for the best rieslings from the USA, it is a very short list. I will offer you Dr. Konstantin Frank from Finger Lakes, New York; Teutonic from Willamette Valley, The Columbia Valley collaboration “Eroica” from Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen, and Smith Madrone’s Riesling. That short list is incredibly high praise.


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

PullThatCork, Nancy Brazil, June 26, 2020

A pure expression of the variety that will age well for 30 years

2017 Riesling

Medium yellow in the glass with generous aromas of stone fruit, dried pineapple and a hint of petrol. Complex flavors of white peach, pineapple guava, stony minerality and bright acidity. The flavors taste like fruit, but the wine doesn’t taste sweet. The finish is very long. Even over-refrigerated this wine has amazing aromatics. Winemaking takes place in all stainless steel to preserve the gorgeous fruit aromas and flavors of Riesling. It is a pure expression of the variety that will age well for 30 years. In Stu’s view the rewards for aging Smith-Madrone Riesling are worth the wait.


https://pullthatcork.com/2020/smith-madrone-2/

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

Stupidly delicious

2016 Riesling

The hero in most stories usually has a secret weapon of some sort. In the case of Smith-Madrone, Riesling is their secret weapon. This wine is well made, stupidly delicious and quite possibly the most age-worthy wine in their portfolio most years. Peach and apricot notes are evident from the first whiff to the last sip. Throw in white tea, white peppercorn and a long finish and it’s got everything you need. The tension between the fruit and the acid is simply thrilling. I’ve gotten to travel a good bit of the world tasting wine. One of my fondest memories is a drizzly day a handful of years ago up on Spring Mountain. I had an appointment to see Stu and Charlie around lunch time. We sat around inside the winery, tasted the current releases and ate some sandwiches. After a few minutes with a twinkle in his eye, Charlie told me he thought I might want to try an older Riesling. I don’t recall the vintage off hand, but it was delicious and complemented our food and our boisterous conversation so well. A perfect day.


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

Kirsten Georgi, ArmchairSommelier, June 5, 2020

The best Riesling California has to offer

2016 Riesling

In my book, Smith Madrone is the best Riesling California has to offer. Any conversation about California Riesling should start with Smith Madrone. Layered notes of citrus and stone fruits, wet rocks and petrol, all supported by a fierce spine of acidity. You’d have to go to Mosel to find a Riesling with this kind of purity, elegance, and precision. Absolutely glorious, year in and out. Wish I had the patience to age this stuff. But I don’t.


https://www.instagram.com/p/CBDdB-AJXJu/

Grape-experiences, Cindy Rynning, May 22, 2020

 I expect only the best from this iconic winery and this dry Riesling delivers just that

2016 Riesling

 I expect only the best from this iconic winery in St. Helena and this dry Riesling delivers just that. Lively aromas of white peach flesh, white flowers, lemon zest, freshly-cut pineapple and lime were clean and sharp. On the palate, dry and creamy with vibrant acidity, flavors of white pepper, juicy kiwi, lime and herbs paved the path to a luscious and lasting finish. And sipped with an assortment of grilled vegetables for a late afternoon delight? Life just gets better and better.

Why did this wine and food pairing work? When grilled, the flavors of vegetables were enhanced and offered smoky characteristics. This bright and lively wine with plenty of acidity was a brilliant counterpoint to those notes.


http://www.grape-experiences.com/2020/05/barbecue-worthy-white-wines/

RedWinePlease, Neil & Cheri Dubois, April 25, 2020

Refreshing acidity

2016 Riesling

A light, golden yellow color and very brilliant. You get stone fruits, the traditional petrol marker and floral on the nose.  Even though it is dry, it almost seems like there is some sweetness at first, then the refreshing acidity takes over.  The palate is about delicate, white fruit, with pear and some honeydew melon.  It finishes with some minerality.  


http://www.redwineplease.com/smith-madrone-wines-to-thine-own-self-be-true/

Decanter Magazine, Elin McCoy, February 2020

Stand-out wet rock minerality, succulent limey, citrusy notes, juicy acidity, and round texture

2016 Riesling

91 points: The dry Riesling has long had a dedicated following, and the winery is one of the few producers of the varietal left in Napa - think Alsace style. This vintage shows a stand-out wet rock minerality, succulent limey, citrusy notes, juicy acidity, and round texture. It’s also the first vintage available in hand-waxed magnums, which makes sense because the wines are surprisingly long lived. Drinking Window 2019-2029.


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

Winethropology, Steve McIntosh, February 1, 2020

This luminescent white exudes versatility and poise

2016 Riesling

Ultra clean and beaming with focus, this luminescent white exudes versatility and poise. Faithful to varietal character, and with enough dryness and easy appeal to win over riesling skeptics.  Very nice.


http://www.winethropology.com/2020/02/recycle-bin-week-of-january-27.html

Terroirist, Isaac Baker, January 25, 2020

Oodles of goodness....crazy value

2016 Riesling

Spring Mountain’s Smith-Madrone has long made incredible, age-worthy, unique wines, and their new Riesling delivers oodles of goodness for not much money.

93 points: Medium yellow color. So fresh on the nose, which pops with peaches, limes, pineapple, mixed with white flowers, hay, honey, crushed shells and sea spray. Brisk and focused on the palate with racy acidity, yet plenty of depth in texture. Tastes near dry, but shows lots of richness. Pure lime and papaya fruit mixed with mountain stream, honey and some crushed shells. This is another excellent Riesling from Smith-Madrone, one that should age beautifully. Crazy value. 


https://www.terroirist.com/2020/01/wine-reviews-california-new-releases-14/#more-28870

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