Charles Smith is one of the biggest players in Washington wine. This larger than life man has received incredible acclaim for his wines over the years and he has amassed brands such as K Vinters, Sixto, Secco, as well as his famous Charles Smith label wines. While he has traditionally been based in Walla Walla, he is a city man at heart and created an amazing place to taste his wines in south Seattle in the Georgetown district.
Charles Smith has created some of the highest rated Syrahs in North America. His highly rated ‘Royal City’ Syrah has been hailed as one of the best Syrahs out there by critics and somms. His K Vintners label produces a range of impressive bottlings. I was particularly impressed with what he did in both 2012 and 2013, exceptional and ripe vintages. Look for his 2013 K Vintners ‘The Boy’ that impresses with its pretty red fruit flavors. The range of fruit, structure and elegance to the wines were up there with the best in the state. The Syrah releases from K impressed mightily. Sadly, some of their finest wines, such as the Charles Smith ‘Royal City’ Syrah and the K ‘Rockgarden’ Syrah were not available for tasting, as they mentioned that they were only for wine club members or had sold out.
His Sixto bottling impressed as he has chosen three different vineyard sites in Columbia Valley to showcase Chardonnay. These were rich and full bodied Chardonnays with some ageing potential. I was particularly impressed with the 2012 Sixto ‘Rosa Hills’ Chardonnay, which had a rich and buttery fruit flavor profile with crème brulee and ripe pear. Look for K Vintners, Sixto and Charles Smith wines at Metropolitan Market, Esquin, Costco and other great Northwest wine shops or www.charlessmithwines.com #charlessmith
2014 K Vintners ‘Art Den Hoed Vineyard’ Viognier- This is from the Yakima Valley and spent 6 months ageing on lees with no malolactic fermentation. The vineyard sits at 1300 feet and the wine is sourced from vineyard blocks ranging from 8-14 years old. Aromatics of honeysuckle, pear, red delicious and butter. Bright mouthfeel with a strong acid backbone. Lemon zest, pear, red delicious apple and stardust with a lovely cream finish. Drink 2015-2020. -92
2013 K Vintners ‘The Boy’ Grenache- This wine was sourced from Walla Walla Valley fruit (Northridge and River Rock vineyards) and they utilized 12% Syrah into the blend. This warm vintage wine stands in at 14.5% alcohol, as this wine was Charles Smith’s first non-Syrah wine that he made. Lovely aromatics with aromas of dill, gravel, orange peel, raspberry and red cherry. The mouthfeel is smooth as this seamlessly glides along. There are flavors of red cherry, Mandarin orange, gravel and raspberry. This is novel, terroir driven and simply delicious. Drink 2015-2028. -94
2012 K Vintners 'Guido' Sangiovese- The Sangio is sourced from Jack’s vineyard in the rocky soils of the Walla Walla Valley. This has aromatics of red cherry, smoke and stewed prune. There are flavors of red cherry, dill, strawberry, mushroom, wet stone and rhubarb. This is delicious wine that does not need more time and is a crack and pour. Drink 2015-2022. -92
2012 K Vintners 'The Deal' Syrah- This is made from Wahluke Slope fruit. This has a dark fruit profile on the nose with blackberry, cassis and smoke. There are flavors of blackberry, blueberry compote, smoked meats, and white pepper. This has a great acid backbone with nice depth and concentration. This generous wine is great right out of the bottle. Drink 2015-2025. -93
2012 K Vinters ‘The Creator’- This is a blend of 70% Cabernet with 30% Syrah from the River Rock and Jack’s Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley. Jack’s Vineyard was planted in 1999, relatively ancient for Walla Walla. This wine opens with aromas of red cherry, blackberry, tar, and dill. There are flavors of black cherry, black olive, blackberry with a lovely acid backbone. This has a long life with a lovely minerality. Drink in wither year. Drink 2016-2030. -94
2012 K Vintners ‘Northridge Vineyard’ Merlot- This Wahluke Slope Merlot comes from the Northridge Vineyard, owned by the Milbrandts. It weighs in at 14.5% alcohol and saw 60% new French oak treatment. The wine opens with aromas of red cherry, raspberry and dill. There are lovely flavors of red cherry, dill, raspberry and blueberry. This fruit driven wine delivers. There is a lovely smoothness and texture to this wine. Drink 2015-2025. -93
2012 Charles Smith ‘Broncho’ Malbec- This wine comes from Stoneridge vineyard, located in the northeast corner of Wahluke Slope AVA. This is a warm growing site with a ton of wind. The wine has a dark and inky color. There are rich aromatics of milk chocolate, blackberry, dried sagebrush and and prune. There are flavors of black cherry, black olive, blackberry cobbler and sage. This is dense and delicious. Drink 2015-2025. -92
2012 K Vintners 'Morrison Lane' Syrah- The Morrison Lane vineyard is the oldest vineyard site for Syrah in Walla Walla and was planted in 1994 -- well before most other wineries set foot in Wallyworld. The soil is coarse sand and gravel. The wine opens with dill pickle and blackberry with black pepper and smoked meats on the nose. The mouthfeel is rich and balanced with a lovely acid structure. There are flavors of anise, spice box, blackberry and anise. This delicious wine is open and polished. Drink 2015-2022. -92
2012 Sixto ‘Uncovered’ Chardonnay- This Chardonnay is blended with fruit from Roza Hills, Frenchman Hills and Moxee vineyards. Deep golden hue. Lovely aromatics with pear, golden delicious apple, nutmeg and oak. Rich mouthfeel with a smooth texture and viscosity. Flavors reminiscent of golden delicious apple, pear, butter and a lovely long finish. This is a rock solid bottling. Drink 2015-2022. -92
2012 Sixto ‘Rosa Hills’ Chardonnay- The Rosa Hills vineyard stands at 1350 feet and is a southern sloping bowl that sits on the southern slope of Rattlesnake Hills. There are aromas of brioche, lemon zest and pear. There is nice richness on the mouthfeel with flavors of creme brûlée, pear, golden delicious and a long, lingering finish that lasts for half a minute. This is an impressive bottling. Drink 2015-2025. -94
2012 Sixto ‘Moxee Vineyard’ Chardonnay- This wine comes from nearly 40 year old vines that are under some limestone and silt loam. This wine opens with aromatics of pear, green apple and slightly subdued in the nose. There are flavors of pear, red delicious apple and cream alongside a smooth and velvety mouthfeel. This has a lovely texture and slightly less citrus components than its Frenchman Hills counterpart. Drink 2015-2022. -93
2012 Sixto ‘Frenchman Hills’ Chardonnay- This vineyard is perched at over 1600 feet and is a cool site compared to most in the Wahluke Slope. This vineyard, planted in 1998, has a limestone and basalt base. This is fermented in concrete and aged in French oak. Aromatics of oak, pineapple, golden delicious and lemon zest. There are flavors of peach pit, golden delicious apple, pear and lemon rind. Delicious cream finish. Drink 2015-2023-93