Charles Smith, winemaker and Winesleuth hair twin

I met my hair twin the other night at Hawksmoor Steakhouse in London. We weren’t exactly hair twins, he’s blonde and I’m not but we both have wild and curly hair and we both like wine a lot! My hair twin in Charles Smith, ex-rock band manager and “2009 Food and Wine Magazine Winemaker of the Year” for K Vintners of Washington State. Charles has quite a reputation as a innovator, marketing genius, and is never afraid to speak his mind, his opinion of European wine drinkers – they’re “pussies” if they look at the back label see 15.5% alcohol and deem it too much for them without even trying it first. Luckily or unluckily, depending on how you look at it, I didn’t realize the alcohol content until late in the evening while chatting to Charles. His wines are extremely well balanced. I would never have guessed that they contained so much alcohol, no hint of a burn or alcohol on the nose, just  full bodied wines with refined tannins. If you start reading ingredients on a wine label, then his wines are not for you in Charles’ opinion. He does acknowledge that his wines “are not for everybody, they never are, it’s all about the individual”.  Charles picks the grapes when they are ready and not beforehand and if they have 15% alcohol so be it.  He wants to produce wines that reflect not only the region but also the vineyard where they are grown. To him, the most important thing is to produce balanced, soft, round and integrated wines. To drink his wines, you need food that’s going to stand up to it and Hawksmoor did an admirable job of serving up Porterhouse and Rib-eye steaks to match the wines. We had a selection of K Vintners wines, the 2008 Northridge Syrah from Wahluke Slope, the 2008 Morrison Lane Syrah, Walla Walla Valley and K Vintners 2008 Creator ( a blend of cabernet and syrah), Colombia Valley. Each wine was unique...

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Bombshell red,Washington State wine

The London International Wine Fair is always so much fun because you never know what you’re going to find. Back when I lived in the States, I was familiar with Washington state wines. I knew they did aromatic whites such as riesling, pinot gris and other cool climate varietals but my general impression was of a state of wet coniferous forests, rugged coastline and Seattle. I had no idea where, exactly, they grew the grapes. I visited the Wines of Washington state stand while I was at the fair and was pleasantly surprised to discover that Washington does not only some fabulous whites but also some very elegant and well balanced red wines. I came across Airfield Estates solely because the Bombshell Red, Vineyard Salute caught my eye. It’s retro 1940’s style lable, imitiating the mascots that were often painted on the nose of WWII bombers was a definite attention getter. Airfield Estates is located inland in the very dry Yakima Valley and varietals such as syrah, cabernet, merlot and cabernet franc have settled in quite nicely there. I had a quick tasting with the importer of Vineyard Salute, Sheryl Janosky of Janosky & Strenge at the fair. Click to find out more about the wine and it’s history. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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