May 2018: Sonoma Magazine
The Multitasker: Alison Smith Story of Smith Story Wine Cellars: Alison Smith Story developed a diverse palate for fine wine while working at K&L Wine Merchants. Never without her trusty Goldendoodle Lord Sandwich by her side, she now operates Smith Story Wine Cellars together with her husband Eric. The boutique winery produces old-world wines in the new world, including pinot noir from the acclaimed Anderson Valley. Smith Story is always on the move: she runs two tasting rooms, one in Anderson Valley and one in Russian River Valley, oversees marketing, and even runs a nonprofit, Socks for Sandwich, which donates new socks to those in need.
May 2018: The San Francisco Examiner
Vinous.com, Antonio Galloni
These are the best wines I have tasted from Alison Smith and Eric Story and their consulting winemakers Katy Wilson and Ross Cobb. All of the wines are vibrant and beautifully delineated, not to mention full of personality.
2016 Lakota's View, Sémillon, Sonoma Mountain. $40, 90pts.
Smith Story's 2016 Sémillon Lakota's View is powerful and also quite distinctive, with a good deal of phenolic intensity that gives the wine its distinctive feel. Tangerine, almond, mint and lightly honeyed notes all open up in the glass, but it is the wine's hillside character and structure that stand out most.
2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County. $25, 93pts.
The 2016 Sauvignon Blanc is fabulous. Rich, layered and also quite structured, the Sauvignon Blanc exudes character. There is so much to like in the 2016. Above all else, Smith Story's Sauvignon Blanc is full of personality. Varietal notes are nicely delineated, but not at all overpowering. Stony and floral notes add brightness throughout.
2015 Chardonnay, Dutton Ranch, Russian River Valley. $48, 92pts.
The 2015 Chardonnay Dutton Ranch is a powerful, deep wine, and yet picking on the early side keeps the flavors bright. This is a fairly restrained style for Dutton Ranch that balances a good bit of texture while avoiding heaviness. Chamomile, citrus peel and pear notes add complexity.
2015 Pinot Noir, Nash Mill Vineyard, Anderson Valley. $58, 93pts.
The 2015 Pinot Noir Nash Mill Vineyard is fruity, forward and quite delicious, even if it doesn’t have the detail or pedigree of the Thorn Ridge. Bright, red-toned fruit and floral aromatics help shape the wine's lively personality. What a pretty and expressive wine this is.
2015 Pinot Noir, Thorn Ridge Vineyard, Sonoma Coast. $80, 94pts.
The 2015 Pinot Noir Thorn Ridge is gorgeous. Translucent and perfumed, with silky tannins, strikingly fruit and exceptional balance, the Thorn Ridge hits all the right notes. Hints of rose petal, mint, cranberry and white pepper add brightness. This gracious, wonderfully lifted Pinot is long on class and personality. I loved it.
2015 Cabernet Franc, Sonoma Valley. $40, 90pts.
The 2015 Cabernet Franc is done in a fresh, Loire-inspired style that captures notable fruit intensity, but manages to avoid excessive vegetal or green notes. The red-toned berry fruit and lifted, floral notes pulse with energy. There is so much to like here.
2015 Merlot, Pickberry Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain. $54, 93pts.
Deceptively medium in body, the 2015 Merlot Pickberry Vineyard packs a real punch. Succulent dark cherry, tobacco, sage, menthol and lavender notes give the Merlot a very pretty savory profile to match the wine's translucent expression of fruit. Pliant and supple, the 2015 also has a good bit of supporting structure as well. It is another classy, polished wine from Alison Smith and Eric Story.
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Pickberry Vineyard, Sonoma Mountain. $60, 95pts.
The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Pickberry Vineyard is a total knock-out. Gracious and light on its feet, with tremendous character, the Pickberry will thrill readers who enjoy old-school California Cabernets. Bright acids and mountain structure from this hillside site on Sonoma Mountain give the wine a palpable sense of energy and savoriness to play off the dark-toned fruit. Scents of lavender, sage, tobacco and menthol linger on the super-expressive finish. What a marvelous wine this is.
April 2018: The Washington Post
- Some of the best pours in wine country happen in Industrial Parks: In California’s Sonoma County, just north of the Santa Rosa airport, Grand Cru Custom Crush is a gleaming new facility in a spare industrial park that includes DuMol and Marcassin wineries, two exclusive labels with avid followings. Russian River Brewing is building a huge facility with a restaurant nearby. Grand Cru has capacity for about 20 wineries; it housed 12 when it opened for the 2017 harvest. They include Black Kite, which produces pinot noir and chardonnay from various coastal vineyards, and Smith Story cellars, a membership winery with a philanthropic bent and an unusual marketing campaign based on a goldendoodle’s Instagram account.
March 2018: Sonoma Magazine
March 2018: Rockin' Red Blog
- Smith Story: The Intersection of Love and Wine
March 2018: James the Wine Guy
- Smith Story Sauvignon Blanc '16 92 Points Episode #2607
- Smith Story Pinot Noir '15 93 Points - Episode #2602
- Smith Story SV Cabernet Franc 2015 93 Points Episode #2606
- Smith Story Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon '15 - 93 Points Episode #2608
February 2018: The Washington Post
Dave McIntyre, Food and Wine Columnist
How an 80-pound goldendoodle helped build a California wine brand.
When Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story started their winery in 2014, they didn’t follow any conventional path. An old saw advises that to make a small fortune in the wine industry, you should start with a large one. That was not an option, so they went the modern way. (Click here to read article in full length)
December 2017: Drink great wine, help others.
Where offices once occupied the front of the compound, there are now tasting rooms for three small-lot family wineries. The newest addition, Smith-Story Wine Cellars, consists of host husband and wife, Eric Story and Allison Smith, and their Golden Doodle, Mr. Sandwich. Eric and Allison were buyers and promoters of other people's wines before they decided to make the move to produce their own. They pour recent releases of their Mendocino and Sonoma County wines alongside a project they produce in the Rheingau region of Germany. They may be the only family-owned winery in the U.S. with a German 2015 Rosé of Pinot Noir."
March 2017: Vinous.com
91pts. 2014 Thorn Ridge Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
The 2014 Pinot Noir Thorn Ridge is another super appealing wine from Smith Story. Expressive earthy and floral notes lend aromatic nuance to the juicy red toned flavors. Creamy and expansive on the palate, yet also very much medium in body, the 2014 has terrific overall balance. Hints of orange, game, tobacco and underbrush add the closing shades of nuance. Drinking window: 2017-2014 -- Antonio Galloni
90pts. 2015 Helluva Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast
The 2015 Pinot Noir Helluva Vineyard is a very pretty, delicate Anderson Valley Pinot. Expressive aromatics and soft contours give the wine much of its considerable early appeal. Bright red stone fruit, lifted floral notes and a kick of orange zest are all nicely woven together in this attractive, mid-weight Pinot. Drinking window: 2017-2022. - Antonio Galloni.
July 29, 2016 Bon Appetite Magazine:
March 1, 2016 Indulge Magazine.
February 2016 Review by Antonio Galloni,"From 2014 Sonoma and Points North: New Releases, Part 1", www.vinous.com
"These are the first wines I have tasted from Smith Story. Ross Cobb and Katy Wilson make the wines for industry veterans Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story in a style that emphasizes freshness and energy."
Tasting Note: 2014 Smith Story Wine Cellars Sauvignon Blanc
The 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, from a site on Sonoma Mountain, is made in a fresh, reductive style that shows the brighter, stonier side of Sauvignon. Even with all of its freshness, the Sauvignon shows plenty of depth and an attractive element of phenolic weight that adds complexity.
Score: 89 Drinking Window: 2016-2018 Release Price: $25
Tasting Note: 2014 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)
The 2014 Chardonnay is an an attractive, appealing, wine. Orchard fruit, gentle apricot, spice and almond notes meld together in an effortless, gracious white that hits all the right notes. This is a gorgeous Sonoma Coast Chardonnay to drink over the next handful of years.
Score: 91 Drinking Window: 2016-2022 Release Price: $34
Tasting Note: 2014 Pinot Noir Helluva Vineyard
The note finessed side of the Anderson Valley comes through in the 2014 Pinot Noir Helluva Vineyard. Bright, floral and lifted, the 2014 offers lovely understated punch in its bright red fruit. The 2014 was done with fully destemmed fruit, which helps bring the fruit forward.
Score: 93 Drinking Window: 2016-2024 Release Price: $36
Wine of the Day: Grapelive.com
2014 Smith-Story, Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County.
The Smith-Story wines are all worthy of searching out and Eric and Alison Story have put together a great lineup of talent behind their wines with the likes of Ross Cobb, formerly of Hirsch and his pal Katy Wilson of La Rue, along with one of Germany’s best and most exciting producers from Ruedesheim in the Rheingau. Cobb and Wilson will really make a huge impact on the California offerings and the 2014 Anderson Valley Pinot is a good insight into how good these wines are going to be in the future. The current lineup includes a lovely pink Pinot Noir rose and dry Riesling from Germany at great prices, plus my favorite their Sonoma Mountain sourced Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc that has the Greystack clone, non musque, which is a delightful and interesting Sauvignon Blanc.
The 2014 Smith-Story Sauvignon Blanc has nice ripe citrus, peach, quince, gooseberry and white cherry layers with a core of lemon/lime and cool summer melon along with a touch of tangy herbs, wet stones and a nervy steeliness. In a world of boring $30 Sauvignon Blancs, the Smith-Story stand above and has an almost Alto-Adige kind of feel and excitement to it, like the Terlano, I was impressed, if you are looking for a good and solid value in dry Sauvignon Blanc this will please you. The 2014’s from Smith-Story are all bargains and offer lots of personality, quality and verve for the money, especially the Sauvignon Blanc. All of them are easy to love and drink now, keep an eye out for them, this is a label to watch. ($24 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive
Summer is almost over, so grab a few more bottles of Rose to toast the end of 100 degree days. Smith Story Rose, from North Texas native Alison Smith Story, who spent a good amount of her career as a wine broker, before getting married to Eric Story, a Bay area wine buyer, and beginning their collaboration in wine, Smith Story Wine Cellars.
Created from a mutual love of each other, great wine, and the celebration of life (with bonus points given if it is in Hawaii.) They launched their brand last year with a handful of varieties from both California as well as importing from an Old World country they both love, Germany, including petrol and white flower filled Riesling and an inviting Rose made from Pinot Noir. Their Smith Story Rheingau Rose of Pinot Noir ($20) is a lovely expression of the variety, and proof that red wine vines can grow in cool Germany. Balanced, fresh and juicy with herbal notes, ripe red berry, red apple, tangerine and crushed stone earthiness.
The duo are also crafting a steely, mineral influenced Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc ($25) from fruit grown on both Sonoma Mountain and in Knight’s Valley, with the goal to produce a Loire Valley style wine with fruit from California. Floral, fresh and aromatic, the lively wine is a beautiful expression of quality and passion. Two special wines from a very special couple, both available via their website or at Pogo’s.