Golden yellow throwing big petrol coal-fire and rich melon fruit into your face. Dusky petrichor, smoky brittle, dense and filthily fruited with all the sultry nectar chalky nuance and bitter applesauce a wine can muster. Buttery and dense in the nose, with the acid bite apparent before the first taste.
One of my favorite Napa Valley chards, and the REASON IS: it goes with red meat better than a lot of red wines. I have trotted this out on several occasions to represent the main course and–amid much rolling of eyes–it cuts through savory steak and rich reductions better than some of the mainstay reds on the table.
In the mouth, bitter applesauce and persimmon personify the flinty bite of superbly crafted unctuous fermented white–rich but not fat, concentrated but not cloying–and the sultry points of the persimmon and melon complement both the rich fruit nuances of said, but also the vibrant edginess of each. The sharp acid visible in the bouquet translates firmly mid-palate, where the slow burn of alcohol and tannin prepare you for a decades-long finish reverently awash in sweet fruit and shockingly packed with bitter structure.
If you want your Chardonnay syrupy and collapsing on itself with butter and oak, this is the WRONG bottle to buy. But if you want to THINK about your Chardonnay: a spicy nectar so alive, so focused on mountain typicity and brilliantly churning decadent fruit balanced with terroir, minerality and citrus you might only see in Chablis, THIS is your beast. If you’ve eye-rolled too many times and somewhat given up on California Chardonnay, this is your bottle.
2014 SMITH-MADRONE Chardonnay Spring Mountain Napa Valley 14.3