Before the founder of K Vintners and Charles Smith Wines, Charles Smith, first rode through Walla Walla on his motorcycle, he managed rock bands in Denmark. He returned to Walla Walla just a few years later to plant a vineyard, establish a winery, and start rocking the wine world with his outstanding wines.
K Vintners’ first release was 330 cases of 1999 K Syrah, Walla Walla Valley. The portfolio has mushroomed into a tempting list of small-lot, single-vineyard Syrahs, field blends of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as Grenache, Tempranillo, and Viognier, which are handpicked, foot stomped, fermented with naturally occurring yeasts, and basket pressed.
According to The Wine Advocate
, "Charles knows where to find the great grapes. In a region where blending is still the rule of thumb, he is the ultimate terroirist. Each wine reflects the vineyard from which it was produced, but there is also a house style which lets you know immediately who made the wine."
Charles sources his fruit for the K wines from dozens of sustainably farmed vineyards in two distinctive viticultural areas: Walla Walla Valley, and Wahluke Slope.
In 2008, K Vintners was recognized by Wine & Spirits Magazine
as Winery of the Year in its annual buying guide, as well as one of the Best New Wineries of the Last Ten Years. In 2009, Food & Wine
magazine named Charles Winemaker of the
Year; and in 2010, Seattle Magazine
bestowed him with the same honor, calling him "a powerhousein the Washington wine world." In 2010 alone, Robert Parker gave 15 of his wines scores between 91 and 99 points.
Charles has initiated the brand Charles Smith Wines: the Modernist Project to showcase Washington varietals Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon designed to be enjoyed right away. Under this brand his high-end Syrahs have continually garnered scores between 95 and 100 points.
Despite his skyrocketing success, Charles remains dedicated to making the best wines
and giving Walla Walla all the glory he can.
WHAT TO BUY:
’08 Royal City Syrah
Earth, cool stone, tobacco, faint dark fruit, Asian spice $100 Presale/$140
‘10 Kung Fu Girl Riesling
White stone fruit, apricot, nectarine, peach, Satsuma, lime leaves $12
’09 Cougar Hills Syrah
Cured meat, game, warm earth, fresh violets, sea salt, oyster shells $45
K Vintners & Charles Smith Wines
35 South Spokane St.
Walla Walla, WA 99362
Tasting Room Open Daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Off the wall wine events, winemaker lunches, scenic view, private tastings by appt, winemaker on site.