Of the many fascinating surprises in the Northern California wine world, the idea of cold-weather-adoring riesling vines thriving in the sun-drenched Napa Valley is certainly near the top. It seems like a terroir odd couple, but a handful of Napa Valley producers — led by this Spring Mountain District legend celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2021 — have the steep terrain and temperate conditions to let riesling thrive.
The 2017 from Smith- Madrone’s estate high above St. Helena is an exemplary version of a bright, balanced riesling, courtesy of mountain vineyard maestros Stu, Charles and Sam Smith. The nose approaches with a touch of tar and citrus oil, leading to ripe peach and bay leaf notes and concluding in a finish that conjures up melon draped with prosciutto. Move over chilled rosé — this is definitely the wine to pair with some sausages off the grill and fresh corn on the cob by the pool this summer.
The 2017 Smith-Madrone Riesling can be found at smithmadrone.com.