Kungfu Girl and Eve: Two Charles Smith Washington State Beauties to Welcome Spring

Winery: Renowned, self-taught pioneer winemaker Charles Smith is the founder and winemaker behind Charles Smith Family wines. His “kick ass attitude and bold packaging has earned him the moniker ‘rock star’ of Washington State Syrah”. With his many diverse brands [K Vintners, Wines of Substance, Sixto, Charles & Charles, Secco and Vino] he is able to offer a wide variety of wines varying in cost from budget friendly to highly rated, single vineyard Syrahs in the $100 range. Within all of his labels, Smith strives to craft sustainably farmed wines that “are full of flavor, balanced, and true to place of origin”.

Created in 2006, the Charles Smith Wines label was themed as “The Modernist Project”. Focusing on how people tend to drink wine today, which is immediately, the goal is to create approachable wines “to be enjoyed now, but with true typicity of both the varietal and the vineyard”. A fantastic concept; a Riesling that tastes like a Riesling from Washington State! Modern with a sassy edge, Charles Smith labels are renowned for their clean black and white artwork created by Charles Smith and artist Rikke Korffsure. Super eye catching and easily recognizable, the style has become synonymous with K Vintners and Charles Smith.

Philosophy: “It’s just wine, drink it.”

Winemaking: Both Riesling and Chardonnay grapes were sourced from the ‘Evergreen’ Vineyard. Planted in 1998, the vineyard stretches across steep cliffs above the Columbia River, within Washington’s newest AVA, Ancient Lakes. The soil is composed of fragmented volcanic rock, gravel, limestone and silt, and is known for producing “fruit with sublime mineral character and great acidity”. Kungfu Girl Riesling was aged on the lees for 2 months in barrels. Eve Chardonnay was fermented with partially native yeasts. Aged on the lees for 5 months in barrels [no new oak].

Charles Smith ‘Kungfu Girl’ Riesling Washington State 2015
Pale gold in colour with invigorating aromas of grass, apple, earth and petrol. Peach, green apple, pear and minerals are glazed with a touch of honey. Perfectly balanced, with an energizing play between acidity and subtle sweetness carrying thru to the clean, zippy finish. Super refreshing and easy drinking, the moderate alcohol contributes to what I would call “fantastically gluggable”.

Pairing Suggestion from the Winery: Thai or Chinese food, five spice pork or duck, fresh seafood.

100% Riesling
12% Alcohol
$12 [average price]

Charles Smith ‘Eve’ Chardonnay Washington State 2014
Gold in colour with aromas of lemon balm, orange blossom, anise and a trace of butter. Silky layers of lemon, apple, pear and a streak of minerality culminate in a delectable creamy finish. Sunny and cheerful, fantastic on its own or with a wide variety of dishes. [It was perfect with goat gouda grilled cheese with arugula.]

Pairing Suggestion from the Winery: Golden squash with sautéed Shrimp.

100% Chardonnay
13.5% Alcohol
$12 [average price]

 

Samples submitted for review purpose.

Charles & Charles Rosé 2015

charlesrose

Brand: The Charles & Charles label was established in 2008 and is a collaboration between Wine Enthusiast Magazine ‘2014 Winemaker of The Year’ Charles Smith of Charles Smith Wines and K Vintners fame, and Charles Bieler, a member of the Three Thieves label and Bieler Pere et Fils. They set out to prove that pink wine doesn’t have to be sweet, and “Yes, you can drink Rosé and still be bad *ss”. The label [along with Three Thieves labels] was created by the legendary Nashville Hatch Show prints, which were the essence of old school American entertainment posters for more than 125 years. The abstract American Flag represents “the tremendous wine heritage and current practice right here in our great country”.

Winemaking: The 2015 vintage is the first vintage that grapes were sourced from vineyards that were devoted solely to Rosé production. The desired flavour profile for a Rosé is different then a red blend. “With the Rosé, we strive for a long hang time to develop flavor, but with low alcohol and ripeness. We invite the tension of a touch of herbal and under ripe notes, a problem we don’t at all want for the red wine blend.” 2015 went on record as the warmest vintage in Washington State, resulting in wineries having to take risks in their harvest dates. For the Rosé, Charles Smith “picked early to capture fresh fruit flavors, but not so early as to lose flavor, a line as thin as a knife’s edge”. 55,000 cases made.

Tasting Notes: Bright cherry-pink in colour with aromas of strawberry, mint, watermelon and just a slight hint of anise. Tasting quite similar to the aromas, with strawberry and melon brightened by a good streak of acidity. A hint of shortbread on the dry mineral finish adds an unexpected, enjoyable layer to each sip.

61% Syrah, 12% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cinsault, 3% Counoise
Columbia Valley
Washington
Produced & Bottled by Charles & Charles
12.2% Alcohol
$10
Enjoy now thru 2017

Barnard Griffin Winery Rosé of Sangiovese 2014

barnardgriffinrose

Winery: Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard founded Barnard Griffin Winery in 1983. The family winery is located in south-central Washington at the convergence of the Yakima, Columbia, and Snake Rivers. The estate is known for its award winning “small batch artisanal wines” and budget friendly prices. The winery has 70 acres of its own vineyards and also works with other small family growers “for vineyard continuity and quality”.

Tasting Notes: Deep pink-coral in colour, with aromas of strawberry and white pepper. A substantial Rosé with strawberry, watermelon and cranberry flavours complimented by a lively acidity. Fruit with a quick shake of white pepper comprise the dry finish. Very fruity, very dry, this is a fantastic on its own and can stand up to heartier summer dishes.

100% Sangiovese
Columbia Valley
Washington
Produced and Bottled by Barnard Griffin Winery
12.9% Alcohol
$12

Charles Smith Vino Volo Barbera 2013

vinovolo

Winery: Renowned, self-taught pioneer winemaker Charles Smith is the founder and winemaker behind Charles Smith Family wines. His “kick ass attitude and bold packaging has earned the moniker ‘rock star’ of Washington State Syrah”. With his multitude of labels [K Vintners, Wines of Substance, Sixto, Charles & Charles, Secco and Vino] he is able to offer a wide variety of wines varying in cost from budget friendly boxed wine to highly rated, single vineyard Syrahs in the $100 range. Within all of his labels, Smith strives to craft wines that “are full of flavor, balanced, and true to place of origin”. Vino was “Italian inspired and locally produced” in Washington State.

Philosophy: “Everyone says, “Let’s go grab a glass of vino!” – so we wanted to help make the decision a bit easier when choosing a wine.”

Winemaking: Vino Barbera is make exclusively for Vino Volo, a chain of wine bars around the country and in many large airports, specializing in wine flights and educational tasting graphs. Grapes were sourced from Northridge Vineyard in the Wahluke Slope of the Columbia Valley appellation of south-central Washington State.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with bright aromas of strawberry and raspberry along with hints of baking spices. Direct and delightfully simple with vibrant blackberry and raspberry flavours complimented by woodsy elements and hints of dark chocolate on the dry finish. Clean fruit flavours and an acidic backbone make this fantastic for sipping on its own, and also a good companion to a wide variety of dishes. [It was fantastic with bbq tempeh and mac n cheese.]

Barbera [I could not verify varietal percentage.]
Wahluke Slope
Washington
Produced and Bottled by The Charles Smith Family
13.5% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now thru 2016

Charles & Charles Rosé 2014

charlesrose

Super versatile [a great match with black rice and portobello quesadilla] and a refreshing sip on its own.

Brand: The Charles & Charles label was established in 2008 and is a collaboration between Wine Enthusiast Magazine ‘2014 Winemaker of The Year’ Charles Smith of Charles Smith Wines and K Vintners fame, and Charles Bieler, a member of the Three Thieves label and Bieler Pere et Fils. They set out to prove that pink wine doesn’t have to be sweet, and “Yes, you can drink Rosé and still be bad *ss”. The label [along with Three Thieves labels], was created by the legendary Nashville Hatch Show prints, which were the essence of old school American entertainment posters for more than 125 years. The abstract American Flag represents “the tremendous wine heritage and current practice right here in our great country”.

Winemaking: The “2014 Rosé is quite simply the most awesomely complex and complete Rosé we’ve made to date” due to the “diversity of grape varieties and, even more, to the mix of vineyards that are increasingly on the very fringe of where these grapes can ripen”. Grapes were sourced from vineyards located throughout the Columbia Valley.

Tasting Notes: Vibrant pink-coral in colour with aromas of minerals, citrus zest and faint traces of cherry. Strawberry cherry flavours were accented by herbaceous hints and a lively acidity, whilst ginger and white pepper highlighted the dry, mineral finish.

72% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Grenache, 3% Cinsault, 3% Counoise
Columbia Valley
Washington State
Produced and Bottled by Charles & Charles
12.2% Alcohol
$11
Enjoy now thru 2016