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Monday, October 22, 2012

Charles Smith Wines

From time to time I'd like to introduce you to new wineries to try.  Sometimes you get to your local liquor store all ready to purchase a specific bottle of your favorite Pinot Noir only to discover that some guy in a "Drink Up, Bitchez" t-shirt has just emptied the shelf of it (at least he has amazing taste in wine, right?  And if he actually left the house wearing that shirt, you can assume that he's probably single and needs the wine more than you do anyway.)   That's when it's good to have knowledge of a few no fail wineries to fall back on.  My go-to winery is out of Walla Walla, Washington and run by the ex-road manager of various European 80's rock bands.   He's got wild hair, dresses in ripped black jeans and just has bad ass written all over him.  So of course when Charles Smith gave up the music biz, he became a self taught winemaker.  I mean, managing a Danish rock band and creating a highly drinkable Syrah.  Obviously similar career aspirations.   I assume that when Justin Beiber finally hits puberty, his manager will follow the same path, right?

Charles "Bad Ass" Smith

Charles Smith Wines reflect his brand's personal motto "It's just wine.  Drink it."  They are as unpretentious as their iconic  black & white block letter labels.  In fact, it's those easily identifiable labels that make it so simple to find a bottle on a crowded store shelf.  

He owns the umbrella label of K Vintners which puts out not only the affordable Charles Smith Wines, but also the  more pricey K label.  I've tried a few of the K label wines at tastings and they are truly wonderful wines.  Well balanced, true flavors and single vineyard bottlings (this means that the grapes were harvested from the same vineyard.  It's an important quality point which often leads to a high price tag.)  They range in price between $45 -$140.  The above bottle is his Cougar Hills Syrah.  The 2009 retails for about $45.00 a bottle.  Wine Spectator gave it 94 points with the tasting notes of "Rich, complex, powerful and compelling, densely packed with ripe blackberry, black cherry, licorice and tar flavors that keep pumping through the rock-solid finish." .   If I could afford to drink this on a regular basis, I certainly would (and if you happen to be able to afford it, then invite me over for dinner.  I'll bring desert.)

What I can afford is his less expensive Charles Smith Wines.  They also have the bold black & white labels, but sport cool varietal names.  Velvet Devil Merlot.    Kung Fu Riesling.  Boom Boom Syrah.  You can tell right off the bat that these wine will be fun.  I mean who doesn't want to ask a guest at a dinner party if they'd like a little more Boom Boom in their glass?

The Velvet Devil Merlot $12.00

Kung Fu Girl Riesling $12.00
Boom Boom Syrah $15.00

The one I keep stocked in my wine cooler is Kung Fu Girl.  I tend to recommend this wine more than any other wine I know.  I come from a rather close family who all live within ten minutes of each other.  Luckily for me, both of my brothers married wonderful women.  I'd probably drink a lot more at family gatherings if they didn't.  (Good for the blog.  Not so much for my liver.)   I'll usually crack open a bottle when we all get together (so we're talking holidays like birthdays, anniversaries, any weekend day ending in a "Y".)  One SIL likes very sweet wine while the other prefers some dryness.  I personally love that mouth pucker you get from wine that's as dry as the Sahara Desert.  The one and only bottle that all three of us can agree on is Kung Fu Girl.  It's not cloyingly sweet and has just enough dryness to pair well with most spicy food.  Think Asian or Mexican dishes.  If you're meeting friends at a BYOB restaurant and have absolutely no idea what to bring that will suit everyone's taste, this is bottle to grab. 

Hopefully none of your dinner companions will be wearing a "Drink Up Bitchez" t-shirt.  If one is and she's single, I may know a guy who's perfect for her.