Smith-Madrone 2015 Chardonnay

27 May

Smith-Madrone 2015 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District, CA. ABV 14.4%,  SRP $34/bottle.

Color is pale straw. The nose offers pear, apple, lemon zest, and just a hint of oak. On the palate,  however, the fruit is beautifully pronounced: yellow peach, sweet apple, citrus crossing from the mid- to back palate, leaving a swath of mouth-watering heat from the alcohol. Secondary notes of baking spice, stone, vanilla, and vegetation with marzipan on the lingering finish.



As a wine lover, my first thought on this wine is that it’s so tasty, you don’t want to think about it. You simply want to enjoy this delightful glass of wine that is so unlike what we’ve come to expect from Napa. Smith-Madrone’s winemakers (Stuart, Sam, and Charles Smith) actually dry-farm (no irrigation) and in doing so, they develop a grape and create a wine that is closer to a Beaune-style chardonnay than the common flavor profiles that are popular with New World grapes. What does this mean to you?  It means you’re going to enjoy this wine more than you expect, and you’re going to need to buy more of it than you’d expect because like me, you’ll drink it faster, even if you’re savoring the flavors. You’re going to wish you bought a bigger bottle…or several bottles, because your mouth is going to ask you for MORE.




As a wine drinker who personally tries to shy away from the high alcohol content of some California wines, this is one where I take exception. The wine is so well-made, I’d easily buy a case of this to tuck into my cellar (if I only had the room!) it’s such a delicious wine that sings through warm weather and is incredibly agreeable with food.

If this is a good price point for your chardonnay drinking, (or a good price point for a special bottle) I can not recommend highly enough that you give Smith-Madrone a taste. As passionate as I am about white Burgundy, this is a wine I will remember for shattering my conceptions of Napa Valley chardonnay.



à votre santé!


2 Responses to “Smith-Madrone 2015 Chardonnay”

  1. Sasha Hammond May 27, 2019 at 1:16 pm #

    Did you get to try any Yakima Valley wines while you passed through?? You met my son who works at Capitol Theatre and he shared your blog with me. It’s great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jimvanbergen May 27, 2019 at 1:54 pm #

      Hi Sasha! Carter is awesome, so glad he shared my love of wine with you.
      We did INDEED try as much Yalima valley AVA wine as possible!
      Here is a little proof…

      We tried several more in Yakima, and rented a bus to visit several area wineries in person- so we had a blast! But the above two posts are probably a good indicator of some of my favorite wines form the trip. Thanks for your patronage!


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