Please the Palate

If it seems like I open these wines a lot, it’s true. Guilty as charged. Because they’re GOOD. And, you can afford to. What better two reasons? Realized I hadn’t even touched my 19’s yet. Another stellar year–according to people who rate these things–only graded slightly under yet another VINTAGE OF THE DECADE: 2018. Surprisingly, WS has only rated TWO vintages under 90 in the past 20 years (actually I think “under 92” would be more accurate), such is the mainstream media’s apprehension at *scaring* consumers from a bread & butter region. Frankly, such a small grouping across 20 years of variables bores me, but it’s fun to reference these plaudits when forming MY opinion of a vintage. FWIW: 2011 and 2003 were FAR AND AWAY my favorite two vintages in this span. I guess my employment at WS would be short-lived.

Deep ruby in the glass, transparent but staining–with well-defined legs. The color is magnificent: the rim sometimes kissed with amber–sometimes feeling pink. Decanted heavily. The nose has big, rich qualifications with plentiful tar and leather under-pinnings, but pulls back before flabby flatulence spoils the effect into crowd-pleasing chubbiness. Bruised floral–rose and lily–paint wide swaths edged with sharp tobacco which morphs to wet earth.

In the mouth, a Mourvedre- or cold-climate Petite Sirah-peppery robustness plays tricks on the Cabernet foundations, producing a sharp, green-leather and muddled-herb topping to good acid and a gentle introduction of mineral. Brambly berry and cherry maintain steady beat throughout, as pointed and aggressive as the rasp of powerful tannins. The finish thins in classic forever-ageable fashion, evoking the best of Left Bank. As with any producer dedicated to heritage over early-term lusciousness, the beautiful vintage makes it agreeable now, but machinations are in place for 20+ years.

2019 SMITH-MADRONE Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mt. Napa Valley 14.3

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