Smith-Madrone barrel ferments their Spring Mountain Chardonnay in French oak, 80 percent new, and ages it for ten months. The results are both creamy (from the barrel) and zingy (from its high total acidity; 8 g/L, for the geeks). The aromatics mingle lime peel and grass with cultured cream and butter, plus toasted white spices like white pepper and nutmeg. The texture is juicy and refreshing, while its sluice of citrus and tart yellow stone fruits also carries waves of spice and caramel.
It sounds ponderous, but the overall effect is deft. Given the wine’s substance I think it could age a few years, making it, at $34, a good investment. Pair it now with rich shellfish, roasted poultry, creamy young cheeses, or a charcuterie board.
2015 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay Spring Mountain Napa Valley
14.4% abv | $34 (sample) 510 cases made