So, not too long ago I voiced my frustration with California — or “new world” in general — Riesling. I feel like the majority of us have a stigma surrounding German Riesling, stereotyping it much like Gewürztraminer as a sweet wine. This is not without its merit, as the country is technically known for that style of white wine, but it’s because they were (originally) catering to the palate of the American demographic. And, so, I don’t know if it’s because of that Rhine region interpretation of our tastes, or our initial misunderstanding of our California terroir, but it seems like a lot of American Riesling were, up until a point, created with sweetness in mind.
Well thank goodness that this seems to be dissipating. California, even just within the last 10 to 20 years has seemed to develop a new understanding of terroir in regards to what grapes grow best in which areas. So, Riesling from Napa? I don’t believe I’ve had it before. And I, of course, had some doubts and hesitations. But that being said, Smith-Madrone has quality wines made by people who’ve been working to understand the land for decades. So, if Smith-Madrone says Napa Riesling, then I am, without a doubt, tasting Napa Riesling. Here we go…
About the Wine: The Smith Madrone 2015 Riesling is made from 100% Riesling grapes harvested from the Smith-Madrone estate vineyards located in the Spring Mountain AVA of Napa Valley.
Flavor Profile: Open the bottle of the Smith Madrone 2015 Riesling and breathe in strong scents of canned peaches or fruit cocktail. This Riesling presents a beige-y yellow on the pour and in the glass and sparkles like the glittering pointillism of summertime sand. Initial aromas are of honey, soft nuts, and water lily perfume. Swirl and find heightened tropical notes of pineapple pith, coconut, elderflower, along with a subtle acidity in the form of citrus zest.
The palate of the Smith Madrone 2015 Riesling is light, bright, with a sharp acidity and a background of texture. The finish is a simultaneous tart and sour lingering one. Dominant flavors are of underripe yellow peach, apricot skins, agave nectar, and lime juice.
Food Pairing: I paired the Smith Madrone 2015 Riesling with a panini: roasted ham with caramelized onion and pear, topped with Swiss cheese. Perfect perfect perfect pairing. Also, I highly recommend this sammy. I loved how the decadence of the cheese paired with the sharpness and the overall refreshing nature of the wine. Meanwhile the salty-sweetness of the onion perfectly complemented the fruit components of the wine and the savory ham, which was roasted with rosemary, pulled out those floral aromatics.
More Info: I received the Smith Madrone 2015 Rieslingas a sample for review. (Cheers Stu!) Retail: $32. For more information about Smith-Madrone, their wines, and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Smith-Madrone website.
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