Of Riesling. And Cabernet. And Pumpkin Spice.

Just to clarify, people, we hardly mean the infamous latte here. Even if the title does seem to scream, “it’s autumn!”.

However, as it is officially October, the lovers of summer begrudgingly pull out the sweaters and boots in preparation for the colder months ahead. Those devoted to the fall season rejoice…alongside the marketing geniuses over at Starbucks.

Might we suggest a winery to accompany your seasonal transition, whether is be positive or filled with dread? Ladies and Gents, we present to you a couple drops from Smith-Madrone.

The name of this winery, sitting in the Spring Mountain District of Napa Valley, found its origin from the brothers who started the establishment – Stuart and Charles Smith circa 1971 – as well as the beloved Madrone tree that has a prominent location on the grounds.

Although they have a beautiful Chardonnay and reserve wine in their lineup, today we’re going to take a look at the Smith-Madrone dry Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The juice

Now for those of you in denial of summer’s end, this Riesling is a fine solace for your woes. The honeysuckle and lemon peel aromas will certainly remind you of warmer weather.

The slight, yet distinctive petrol aromas, orange blossom notes and smooth mouthfeel will finish bone-dry. It seems to usher you right into the drier, savory months of autumn.

Similar to this varietal’s old world versions, Smith-Madrone grows their Riesling along the steep mountain slopes that assist beautifully to their ripening process and crisp, refreshing notes.

Whether paired with crab or seasoned pork loin with root vegetables, surely this wine is truly fit to consume no matter what time of year.

For those of you celebrating fall’s arrival one pumpkin recipe at a time, wait no longer than to pop open Smith-Madrone’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. This 100% estate fruit Cabernet sings with an aromatic nose of black cherry, dried herbs and hints of perfume. The mouthfeel continues via flavors consistent with the initial aromas, plus additional flavors of star anise, oak and black cherry skin.

A velvety and layered palate bleeds seamlessly into the long, enjoyable finish that extends a warming sensation. In other words, this wine is a flawless pairing for the cooling weather outside.

Fair warning: this Cabernet comes with a slightly higher-than-average alcohol level. So take caution with serving at room temperature and instead shoot for a few degrees cooler to get the best expression and balance out of the wine. With this lovely drop, try a pairing of roasted vegetables with parmesan polenta, or skirt steak with rosemary butter.

All in all, we say, “so long” to summer and “greetings” to autumn. We hope you enjoy these mountain-bred wines and the seasonal pairings that accompany them so well!


Sam Stowell

Samantha Stowell began her adventure with wine 4 years ago after quitting her corporate life as an interior designer. After completing the Advanced Level 3 WSET course, she traveled to McLaren Vale, Australia to work for Mollydooker wines on the cellar floor, in the tasting room and, ultimately, their marketing department.  Since returning, she has been the resident sommelier of two Southern California establishments, where she focused on developing their wine programs until deciding to retire from the floor and begin her own wine education and recommendation business, Sam(the)Somm.

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