Monday, January 12, 2009

Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling

Charles Smith is a Walla Walla, Washington State-based winemaker generating a lot of excitement among wine Geeks. His labels, "Charles Smith" and "K Vintners" sell a variety of wines, with the more expensive K Vintners specializing in field blends and Syrah. Robert Parker Jr. rated him an "Excellent" producer from the state in his 7th wine buyer's guide, and scored his wines between 87-93. Jay Miller (of the Wine Advocate) called him a "Brilliant winemaker," and added this: "While it’s way too soon to put K Vintners on the same level as a Domaine Leroy or Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, the experience you get tasting in the cellar is much the same as in those legendary wineries, brilliantly made wines reflecting the terroir but also a winemaking signature that makes it totally clear which winery made the wine."

That's quite some laurels for a guy who opened his winery in 2001.

I first saw Charles Smith on Wine Library TV, (episode here - check out his crazy hair) and since then have been reading up on Mr. Smith and have seen nothing but praise for his efforts.

While I haven't yet ponied up $40+ for a K Vintners bottle, I did snag another highly regarded wine from his cheaper line, the 2007 Charles Smith Wines “Kung Fu Girl Riesling” – Columbia Valley ($12). I got the last bottle of this wine at K&L Wines in San Francisco a few weeks ago, and served it for a New Year's Eve party at my place. Everyone seemed to really like it. I thought it was a touch too sweet, but overall a good wine.
On the nose, I found Asian pear and white peaches. In the mouth I gor some minerality on the attack, followed by juicy granny smith apples with a cidery sweet finish. The acidity seemed better balanced as it warmed up. Touch of cinnamon.

Winemaker's description: "Single vineyard, fragmented basalt, and caliche...classic Riesling, sublime minerality. WHY? BECAUSE, RIESLING AND GIRLS KICK ASS!"

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