- I’ve been slowly working my way through the Charles Smith portfolio of wines for the last few years – with the only hindrance to my progress being their limited-availability. It’s quite a wonder why more restaurants/retailers don’t carry this line. I would challenge anyone to find a better value coming out of Washington State right now. It certainly beats the generic-tasting-juice that some of the “big boys” are churning out!
- Charles Smith grew up just outside of Sacramento, California. Born to a Welsh mother and French father, his first exposure to wine was the barrels of family wine made every year by his father. Charles moved to Denmark for a girl (NB: as you do) and spent the next 11 years living the rock-and-roll lifestyle (literally), managing rock bands (Danish indie-rock duo The Raveonettes being one of them).
After growing weary of all the sex, drugs, and loud-music; he moved back Stateside in 1999, and decided to take his career in a slightly different direction by opening a wine shop on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound. During that same year he caught the “Syrah-bug”, making his first vintage in 2001: the 1999 K Syrah. In 2006 he launched his second brand – Charles Smith Wines.
- At this stage, it’s probably worth pointing out that Charles is 100% self-taught in the art of winemaking and has never made wine for any other winery.
- If you’re looking for a little more insight into the man that is Charles Smith, I seriously recommend you check out this video. Let’s just say he’s not exactly like most other winemakers you’ll meet………and I get the feeling he has a TON of stories to tell!
- The 2010 Kung Fu Girl Riesling received 90 points in the Wine Spectator. Not bad for a $13’ish bottle of vino!
- The Riesling grapes for the Kung Fu Girl are sourced from the Evergreen Vineyard in Columbia Valley, Washington State.
The vineyard was planted in 1998, and lies along a stretch of steep cliffs above the Columbia River. Due to its proximity to the water, the vineyard experiences cooler than usual temperatures, thus meaning a longer hang-time for the grapes, and almost mimicking the Mosel region of Germany.
- Riesling is one of the original grapes grown in Washington State, producing wines with abundant apricot and peach aromas, and often made into a drier style than most people have come to expect from Riesling.
- The vineyards in Washington State sit at latitudes of 46° and 47°, approximately the same as the Bordeaux and Burgundy regions of France.
- Depending on which stats you want to believe, Washington produces around 57% red to 43% white wines.
Wet stone, apricot, peach nectar and orange-rind on the nose. Bracing minerality, puckery lime juice and a slight amount of effervescence. The white fruit leads the way on the palate, but the citrus isn’t far behind. Finishes crisp.
If you’re looking for sugar-water-Riesling, you won’t find it here! This is a Riesling to change the mind of people that don’t typically drink Riesling. I’ve blind tasted people (Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc drinkers) on this wine a number of times, and I’ve never been disappointed with their reaction!
I recommend going the Oriental route, and pairing the Kung Fu Girl with Asian and Thai influenced dishes. The 12.5% alcohol shouldn’t pose too many problems.
$13’ish – Extremely impressive for a single-vineyard Riesling!