Smith Story has been on my list for quite awhile. They were first recommended to me by some fellow tasters last summer. We seemed to have similar tastes and shared our favorite wineries. Then Smith Story came up over and over in conversations. I knew they produced their wine at Grand Cru Custom Crush. And, while on a tour there last November, we saw some of their folks working in the winery – maybe Ali. Someone else recently commented in conversation that Smith Story should be a case study of how to start a winery.
Smith Story offers two different tasting experiences. Because they produce wine at the custom crush facility, reservations can be made at that location for tastings. But, I’ve been there and done that. I noticed they also offer tastings up in the Anderson Valley in their very own tasting room. No appointment is required! Sure, it broke a rule, but I was excited to try their wines and I preferred their tasting room over one at GCCC.
I was pretty excited to see owner and winemaker Eric Story behind the counter pouring the wines! I’m pretty sure Smith Story is probably the only winery to have been crowdfunded! It makes you think anyone could open a winery. Granted, the two have over 40 years of combined experience in the industry. So….maybe not anyone. And when I mentioned the case study idea to Eric, he just laughed and joked that it would be a story of what not to do or something along those lines. Take a look at their website and read their story!
We started our tasting with their 2018 Sauvignon Blanc. It was a delightful with a great pricetag of $25! All of their wines were underpriced, in my opinion. Which brings us to the second wine – a 2016 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay. For only $38! I love Dutton fruit. That’s no secret. But at $38? Some of that was definitely going home with me! Only 150 cases were produced.
Eric then surprised us with a sampling of their 2018 Rose of Pinot Noir. But this wasn’t just any Russian River Rose of Pinot Noir. Nope, it was from Rheingau, Germany! It’s grown and produced in Germany and brought over. Eric spent quite a bit of time in Germany and still has connections. So, a couple of his wines are from Germany. Sadly, he’s not sure when they’ll be available again due to the European tariff increases. I’m not going to go and get all political on you. But, GRRRRR.
Then we dove into Pinot Noir. First up was the 2017 Helluva Vineyard Pinot Noir. It’s 100% Pommard Clone and is from the southern end of the Anderson Valley near Boonville. The next Pinot was the 2016 Nash Mill Vineyard which is on the opposite end up past Philo. Eric helped to plant this vineyard and identified a sweet spot that contained Pommard 5 and 115 clones which is the section of the vineyard from which he sources his grapes. Both were lovely. I preferred the Helluva.
Next up was the 2016 Pickberry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma Mountain. Its crazy drinkable now . Eric surprised and delighted us a bit more by pouring the Lord Sandwich Red blend (Zinfandel, Syrah, and Petite Syrah). Lord Sandwich is their Goldendoodle. And a really adorable one at that. Sadly, Sandwich wasn’t at the winery. But he has his own label, non-profit, and just had a photo shoot in the vineyard as he’s going to be featured on the cover of the latest Wine Dogs book. Check out his Socks for Sandwich website.
We finished out our tasting with 2018 off-dry Riesling also from Rheingau, Germany. That is going to taste incredible this summer!
I don’t know about you, but I have a large collection of corks. I loved the way they displayed their corks and special bottles. It was fun to see what was in their collection.