Winemaker Charles Smith is a radical in the American wine scene. One of his ‘crazy’ ideas is that the music you play has the power to influence your enjoyment of a wine. Of course I’m in total agreement, and we had some fun (and several beers) when he was last in TO. Recently, Charles launched a line of Washington State wines that are a huge success. They have bold, in-your-face black ‘n white labels, that clearly speak to the arty and the hip. And, the important part – the wines are very good.
Style-wise, they are closer to Niagara than the American West coast. They are hardly value-priced, but one must expect to pay extra for ‘cool and hip.’ The Riesling is quite dry, super refreshing and very Niagaraish. The implied ‘for Asian Cuisine’ label message is spot-on. Grab a bottle, some take-out sushi, and toast a radical wine marketer. The Merlot is not the usually soppy-sweet American stuff, but a dry, firm, food wine in the bistro-style. The ‘Velvet’ line on the label is more about marketing, than a taste description of the wine.
CHARLES SMITH 13 Riesling ‘Kungfu Girl’, Washington State 394759 $18.95
CHARLES SMITH 12 Merlot ‘Velvet Devil’ Washington State 394742 $18.95