Drew Fuller Staff Selection • Fall 2016 •I have been a huge fan of Charles Smith of Walla Walla, Washington fame, ever since I first tasted his Kung-Fu Girl Riesling, which I was predisposed to not like upon seeing the kitschy, edgy, stark black and white label that begged to not be taken seriously. Well, one taste proved you should never assume anything, since that wine was (and is) exceptionally made, especially for a winemaker whose true love is Syrah! Charles Smith is a rare person who has followed his passion for wine, and without formal training has established multiple successful wine brands. This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, from two vineyards in Columbia Valley, WA. The first is Goose Ridge, which produces ripe and rich grapes in very warm, dry conditions. The second vineyard is Frenchman Hills, which offers fruit with higher acidity due to cooler temperatures, rocky soil, and high elevation. Charles uses naïve yeast and ages the wine for 12 months in 50% new French oak, and bottles it unfined and unfiltered. The resulting wine is complex with robust flavors of cassis, black berry and plum with tobacco, earth, mineral and floral notes adding depth. Smooth tannins lead to a full bodied wine and a long, harmonious finish. All of this for well under $20, which begs the question, how can he do it?? While I can’t begin to answer that, I am simply happy that he does, and I encourage you to try it for yourself. I’m not alone in that, as Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, 91 points, advised “savvy readers should buy a case of this.” Cheers and enjoy with your next grilled steak or ribs. #108488
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