Peel away the layers of a wine, and you’ll often find that the people behind the label are one of the most intriguing parts of the story. What brought the vintners or growers to this point? What luck or derailments have they experienced along the way?
Stu and Charlie Smith have volumes to tell — they’ve been on Spring Mountain since the early 1970s. Armed with Berkeley degrees, they combine smarts with a no-nonsense approach, and make wines, like this Riesling, that don’t just show deliciously attractive fruit, but a depth of aromas that reveal themselves slowly and seductively in the glass. Put this Riesling next to many others, and you’ll see the difference. Even Germany, the quintessential home of the Riesling grape, recently purchased a pallet of Smith Madrone Riesling!
For parts of their story, visit smithmadrone.com. To experience their “salt-of-the-earth” character and incredible line-up of wines, you’ll need to make an appointment and head up the hill.
Staglin Music Festival for Brain Health
There are several Napa Valley wine events that pull out all of the stops, pouring a staggering diversity of top Napa Valley wines, offering extraordinary culinary bites by favorite, local chefs, and adding extra entertainment to spice up the already mind-blowing experience.
Recently, I attended the 24th Music Festival for Brain Health, held at the Staglin Family Vineyard in Rutherford, and it is different.
It does all this and more. Wineries that do not generally participate in other events are among the star brands offered throughout the Staglin caves. Guests encounter bottles of Scarecrow, Screaming Eagle, Harlan, and Bond. Seventy-five wineries in all poured their wines for the joint benefit of mental health. Your favorite is sure to be on the list. Choose from Chappellet Vineyard (historic, gorgeous wines), Colgin Cellars (rich, powerful), Continuum Estate (more of the rich, powerful style with the backbone of mountain fruit behind it), Corison (flagbearer for wines of elegance along with power), Dalla Valle, Keplinger, Marston Family Vineyard (Spring Mountain beauty), Melka Estates & Winery (which must be tasted so you can talk about the magic fairy dust that follows winemaker Philippe around), Ovid, Realm Cellars, Rudd Oakville Estate, Seven Stones, Spottswoode (homestead for women super powers), Vineyard 29 and many others.
Sounds amazing? There is bad news. The wines that you wish, pray, and plead that you would find abhorrent, such as the Scarecrow and Screaming Eagle, are deliciously complex wines that you would easily agree to sell your soul for at any time.