Stu Smith Archives - Please The Palate
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Think Napa Valley and you probably think Cabernet Sauvignon. But, this past week, I spent three days at the first annual Wine Writers Educational Tour, taking a deep dive into Napa Valley. Of course, I tasted a lot of very good Cabernet Sauvignon and learned about the more than 100 soil variations in Napa and more. But we tasting many more wines than Cabernet Sauvignon and one wine that stood out over the week was a Riesling! The Smith Madrone Riesling is the Please The Palate pick of the week. Smith Madrone Winery was started by brothers Stuart and Charles Smith in the fall of 1970. They purchased their property, an abandoned vineyard, on Spring Mountain. A densely forested property, they logged the land and with the idea to make great wine, planted Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir was later grafted over to Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. When Stu Smith was asked why he planted Johannesburg Riesling, he explained that in 1970 and 1971, all of the grapes sold for the same amount of money. A white wine boon came in the mid-1970s but then the red wine boon followed and much of the Riesling in Napa began to be pulled out.