The Dialog Wines Blog

Now Playing at Your Local Liquor Store: The “Ultimate Terroirist”

 Published on: Tuesday, June 7, 2011

That’s”Terroirist” not “Terrorist.”

I always like to think I find great wines to blog about and even better wines to import into my Atlantic Canadian Market to share with friends and fellow wine enthusiasts. Three new wines just reached the shores of Newfoundland from Washington State via Dialog Wines and I have to say, that yes, this time we’ve done it. Unique packaging, interesting stories, excellent value and great quality. Dialog Wines partnership with Charles Smith Wines is indeed a beauty. A unique boutique agency with great wines and a boutique producer who makes great wines and marches to the beat of his own drum. At this point, perhaps you’re saying “Ya ya, sure… Of course you are going to say that your wines are the best.” Well, to that point, I’ll say that yes, I do think my wines are the best. That is why I choose to represent and promote them.

But in the business of importing and selling wine, I will admit that it is certainly easy to accuse the importer or representative of being biased. After all, how many times have you tasted some seriously bad juice after being told “these wines are the best wines ever!”

So that’s why I’m going to let the professional wine critics tell you a little bit about Charles Smith and the quality of the wines he produces. A former rock band manager turned winemaker, in its December 15th issue, Wine Spectator has said that Charles Smith “understands what it takes to make killer wines: great vineyards, low yields and minimal intervention in wine- making. And his artistic, subtly subversive black-and-white labels are what make these wines sell.” Just prior to the release of that article, Wine Enthusiast rated Charles’ Royal City Syrah 100 Points. I guess you’re pretty good if you can make a 100 point wine.

I’d advise you to keep your eyes open but with incredible packaging and names like Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon, Velvet Devil Merlot and Eve Chardonnay, I’m confident that these wines will stand out as soon as you enter the USA section of your local liquor store. Robert Parker was certainly impressed:

“Over the past two years a cult following has sprung up around the persona of Charles Smith, imbuing him with larger than life attributes. By and large, he has acquired this status the old-fashioned way, he has earned it. When I tell enquiring minds that I’ll be visiting Charles later in the day, they know exactly where I’m going. Once past the persona, however, Charles continues to make some of Washington’s finest wines. Native yeast fermentation, footcrushing, spontaneous malolactic fermentations, gentle basket pressing, no fining or filtration are routinely practiced in the cellar. Even more important, Charles knows where to find the great grapes. In a region where blending is still the rule of thumb, he is the ultimate terriorist. Almost all of his wines are sourced from single vineyards.”
– Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, August 2010

And if that doesn’t impress you, Food and Wine Magazine thought Charles was good enough to call him the “American Winemaker of the Year” in 2009. That’s not a bad resume.

So there you have it. The critics love Charles Smith and so will you. I’ll leave you with some tasting notes written by Charles himself.

2008 “Eve” Chardonnay — Columbia Valley (100% Chardonnay)
Tasting Notes: Sinfully tempting…fresh, crisp, the perfume of sweet apple blossoms lures you into The Garden of Eden. Silky, soft, mouth filling deliciousness…take the first sip! —Charles Smith
2009 The Velvet Devil Merlot — Columbia Valley (90.6% Merlot, 9.4% Cabernet Sauvignon)
Tasting Notes: PURE VELVET! Milk chocolate, wild blackberry, baking spice, rose oil…beautifully perfumed Washington in a glass….Velvet Devil? HELL YEAH! —Charles Smith


2008 “Chateau Smith” Cabernet Sauvignon — Columbia Valley 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petite Verdot, 6% Syrah
Tasting Notes: Super smooth. Cedar, Rainier cherry, dark rose. A Washington Cabernet with a real sense of place. Ultra-balanced…ultra-fine! French? Non. Chateau Smith? Oui.

You’ve read what the critics had to say about Charles Smith Wines, now go out and grab a bottle or two and see if you agree. Dialog Wines will be featuring Charles Smith Wines at the NLC “Perfect Pairings” Event starting on June 24th. Come taste Charles Smith Wines and enter to win some Charles Smith paraphernalia. See you there!


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