Blacksmith

Blacksmith Cellars is a 1,500 case winery that rests upon the vision, dedication and hard work of one man, Matt Smith. Passionate about both the science and art of wine, he approaches his craft in ways that seem simultaneously systematic and inspired. He makes his wines in a warehouse located on the grounds of the former Naval Air Station in Alameda - across the bay from San Francisco. Because he doesn’t own a patch of vineyard, he’ll make wine from whatever comes through his network of growers - or even the spot market. As a result, he’s sourced grapes from Mendocino, Alexander Valley, Oakville, Stags’ Leap, Lodi, and Monterey and has worked with a range of varieties - from the well-known (Cabernet, Chardonnay, Syrah, Grenache) to the underrated  (Barbera, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc) to the obscure (Torrontes, Malvasia Blanca, Verdelho).

Originally from Virginia, Smith was studying Chemistry at Sonoma State University in the early 19990s when he was hit by the winemaking bug. A stint at Beaulieu Vineyards was followed by an enology degree at Fresno State and then being hired as assistant winemaker to Sam Dashe, a fellow “urban winemaker” who became an important mentor. Smith struck out on his own in 2004 with an Alexander Valley Cabernet. With that first wine, Sam established his method of doing all the jobs himself: tending the vines, picking, sorting, crushing, pressing, punching down, blending and bottling. From the start, Blacksmith Cellars has received critical accolades and plenty of fans, but the need to maintain control of his process and vision has restrained any temptation to grow the winery to beyond what Smith can do solo. Happily for us, he has also resisted the temptation to raise prices. From Blacksmith Cellars we can get an artisan product - delicious, well-made wine from top appellations at an affordable price.

 
Wine Maker

Matt Smith

Country

USA

Region

California


Photo Gallery



Wines from this Winery


2018 Blacksmith Dry Creek Valley Merlot

Fans of Blacksmith Cellars should be pleased with this new addition to our list: yet another great value in the form of a fabulously well-crafted wine from a beautiful vineyard in a top AVA. Like the Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, this Merlot comes from a single vineyard on the eastern side of the valley, where soils are thin and rocky. The winery’s notes on this wine say, “More suggestive of red currants than black in both scent and taste with a mannerly bit of grip, this Merlot is blended with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon which escorts it to a point where the blend is a balanced, nicely contained offering of medium weight. It is not a huge and intimidating wine, but it stays in focus with a clean fruit profile that is layered with a modest amount of supporting sweet oak that helps it on its way to a lingering, gently tannic finish, and it will competently turn the trick as an affordable partner to steaks and chops now and for the coming three or four years.”  

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¥4,180 (incl. tax)
2019 Blacksmith Russian River Valley Reserve Chardonnay

What’s so attractive about Blacksmith Chardonnay is how it balances a creamy, rich texture with lively fruit and fresh acidity. It’s also a great value - coming from an AVA that’s recognized as one of California’s best for Chardonnay. Blacksmith Reserve Chardonnay is sourced from 30-year-old vines growing in Kent Rosenblum’s Lone Oak Vineyard in the heart of the Russian River AVA. Because summer days are warm and nights are cool, the Russian River Valley produces standout Chardonnay with excellent fruit, structure, and acidity. According to Matt Smith, the wine offers “notes of apple and green melon, followed by caramel, vanilla, and oak…. wonderful breadth and medium-body, packed with Pippin apples, pears, and butter toffee.” A delight with spicy Asian fare, roast chicken, or shellfish. 

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¥4,510 (incl. tax)
2018 Blacksmith Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Think “Dry Creek Valley,” and rolling hills of gnarled, old, head-pruned Zinfandel vines may spring to mind. But it’s not a secret that the region produces standout, if under-appreciated, Cabernet Sauvignon, too. Because the Dry Creek Valley is cooler than the Alexander Valley, but less foggy than the Russian River Valley, the Cabernet wines tend toward a refined and elegant style, with Bordeaux-like structure, body and savory complexity. This blend of 90% Cabernet and 10% Merlot was sourced from a single vineyard planted on the east side of Dry Creek Valley, where rocky hillsides with thin soils contribute to small berry size and great fruit concentration. A lively nose of high-toned blackberry, violets and lavender opens up to generous flavors of red and blue fruits, olives, crème de cassis and cocoa. Try this juicy wine with grilled meats or veggies, pork tenderloin, or aged cheeses. 

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¥4,840 (incl. tax)
2018 Blacksmith Teldeschi Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel

With roots in a small Tuscan village, the Teldeschi family has been growing grapes and making wine in the Dry Creek Valley for over 100 years. They purchased their eponymous vineyard on the rolling benchlands on the eastern side of the valley in the 1940s. However, it had been planted in the 1920s, with some of the oldest blocks going back as far as the 1880s. For decades, they sold their grapes to local large producers, such as the Frei Brothers (later, Gallo of Sonoma), as well as to Italian home winemakers in the Bay Area. In the 1980s, a new generation of Zinfandel producers convinced the family that the fruit of the old, head-pruned vines was too special for jug wine, and Teldeschi Vineyard bottlings by the likes of Ravenswood and Ridge Vineyards introduced California wine lovers to the unique character of Zinfandel from the Dry Creek Valley. As for this Blacksmith Teldeschi Vineyard Zin, see it as one more example of Matt Smith’s talent for procuring grapes from an excellent vineyard in a top appellation and making a wine that punches way above its price point. 

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¥5,060 (incl. tax)
2018 Blacksmith

For centuries, “claret” referred to red Bordeaux wine sold in Britain. For Matt Smith, C.L.R.T. is a Bordeaux-styled Napa Valley wine; that is, a Cabernet blended with a hefty amount of Merlot and a bit of Cab Franc. But for us, Matt Smith’s C.L.R.T. is a pleasure delivery mechanism that delights with layers of deep black cherry, blackberry cassis, dark chocolate and vanilla notes, cinnamon, and spice. And the best part is that this Napa Valley Cabernet won’t cost an arm and a leg. Enjoy now or cellar for a decade or more.

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¥5,170 (incl. tax)
2017 Blacksmith Stag’s Leap District Merlot

Our new offering of Blacksmith Cellars’s 2017 Stags Leap Merlot is a good opportunity to buy a vintage with a little more time in the bottle. Matt Smith says, “The Merlot is blended with a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon to add depth to the mid-pallet and extension to the finish… Symmetry and balance are the key characteristics of this wine which offers a fragrant bouquet of violet intermixed with lavender and black cherry.  Oak spice, black olive, and rich cassis fill out the pallet which extends into a beautifully balanced finish.”

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¥6,050 (incl. tax)
2018 Blacksmith Oakville Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Oakville produces some of Napa Valley’s most illustrious (and expensive!) wines. Blacksmith Cellars’ Oakville Reserve is a wine with a pedigree but a reasonable price. About this wine, the winery says, “We have always sought to obtain absolute perfection in our Cabernet Sauvignon and this Oakville fruit represents the best of what we ferment. The fragrant bouquet offers up voluptuous black cherries and currents woven together with layers of rich French oak extract. The structure is massive and densely packed. The concentrated, full-bodied flavors of crème de cassis, vanilla, and espresso persist through the long power-packed finish. The Oakville Reserve will pair beautifully with a wide variety of rich foods and will age easily for the next 10-15 years.”

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¥7,150 (incl. tax)