Where to begin about my love for Charles Smith? An accidental love that began superficially, but now -- only a week and half later after meeting -- is solid, real, and, yes, tasty.
I was at my local wine-and-beer, walking up and down the aisles looking for a fabulous, inexpensive wine to jump out at me. The label of the 2008 Charles Smith Chardonnay called "Eve" immediately caught my attention. A simple label with bold, block lettering on a pale creamy background, and a big apple with a bite taken out of it. I'll admit it: I love a good wine label. It's not always led me to good wine, but enough so that I haven't stopped picking up bottles just because the label was fetching.
I used to be a red wine snob but have embraced whites in the past few years, particularly West Coast Chardonnays. And it doesn't matter that it's the dead of winter, a good white makes me happy any time of year.
I've drank Chardonnays in which an aroma or flavor became a little too much -- spending too much or too little time at some stage of the wine-making process. But that is not the case with Eve. Eve is balanced; whoever did the stomping on the grapes did it just right.
Charles Smith, native of California, is a former rock band manager in Scandinavia (and a former sommelier). He has set up his wine empire in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington State and the current wine production is called the "Modernist Project". I like the vintner's explanation because this is how Eric and I are about our wine consumption: "a response to how people generally consume wine today, that is immediately…as in immediately after being purchased at a market, restaurant or bar, to be drunk straight away."
I went back to the wine-and-beer to find more Charles Smith wines. A snow storm was heading our way, and I was in the mood for red. I knew the power would go out and nothing would make me happier than sitting in front of the fire place drinking a glass of red wine. The clerk at the wine-and-beer urged me to get "The Velvet Devil" -- a 2008 Merlot. He promised it would be fantastic, and it was.
Also priced at $17.99, "The Velvet Devil" is smooth. Red wines have weight and thickness in their taste and, again, I have to say, this was balanced.
Charles Smith has another Merlot called "Holy Cow". (As a Hindu, I am obligated to try "Holy Cow".) I also want to try his Syrah, called "Boom Boom!"
The clerk at the wine-and-beer also told me about Charles Smith the man ("He's totally crazy."). Crazy as in: he's got passion, temper, and taste -- all elements of a cult of personality ripe for a following. It doesn't hurt that the product is wickedly delicious.