One sniff and the floral aromatics on this one are off the charts. Another and the chalky, mineralific, raspy match-head blows you away. Swirl again and the melding of these two is magical as it caresses thick buttery fruit. Is this how you spell perfect Chardonnay? I suppose that argument could be made. Significant golden straw showing here at 6, the chartreuse aspects a faint glow in the body. A nose so overwhelmingly restrained in its grandeur, its elegance, its expression of tasty melon, lychee and green apple.

And then you taste it. The entry a powerful slam of stone-fruit and tropical, edged with bitter acid, petrichor, and steely flint. The middle cascades ridiculous fruit–sweet and chewy–on all surfaces, the balance of which boggles and stuns as the wet soil and high sparkly notes go tête-à-tête on each other in a cuddly battle for non-supremacy. Golden butter and applesauce coat the finish, where the kind of tannin reflecting a near-endless lifespan cause cherubic dreams.

Ya know–Chardonnay’s a weird thing. Marketing is constantly insisting this region or that region will produce the most spectacular examples and we should look no further. Wine-writer is continually penning the same, cookie-cutter captions extolling this producer or that producer as the end-all of modern exhibition. But here. Look here. HERE we have someone doing it perfectly for decades right under everyone’s noses and it really doesn’t get any better.

2016 SMITH-MADRONE Chardonnay Spring Mt. District Napa Valley 14.4

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