I miss Merlot! In my opinion, people are crazy to not be drinking it nowadays. Everytime I visit a wine store, I am amazed at how small the Merlot section is. All because of a little movie and a sentence people will never forget (You know what it is. I don't have to say it!). Well, here's your wake-up call! It's coming back whether you like it or not and there is no better person to help re-introduce it to a skittish public than the over-the-top, crazy, edgy persona of winemaker Charles Smith.....Huh? Many of you have probably never heard of Charles Smith. That's ok because after you read this, you will want to know everything about him... His cool exterior makes you want to dig a little further.
Just take a look at him...He's not a winemaker! I can just hear it now...Ah, but he IS--an inventive, gutsy, larger than life winemaker whose keeps churning out idea after successful idea . Around wine his entire life, he began making small lots of my former nemesis, Syrah. After managing rock bands in Scandinavia for eleven years, he landed in Walla Walla, Washington and started his own wine companies, K Vintners, The Magnificent Wine Company and his newest project, Charles Smith Wines. His wines are IN YOUR FACE, drink now wines! This year, he was named 2009 American Winemaker Of The Year by Food And Wine Magazine. Not bad for someone who started nine years ago! After all his multiple successes, this motorcycle riding madman has people, including myself, praying at the altar of his wines.
I happened to be at a tasting the other night when I spotted a huge display of 2007 Velvet Devil Merlot. With it's simple but flashy label (see above), it grabbed my attention immediately. I was swooning as I sampled it. Soft, supple and velvety, it personifies everything I love in a Merlot--sexy, voluptuous, brimming with plums, cherries, cocoa. It's ready for you--NOW! Stainless steel fermented, aged in French Oak with fruit from Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills and Yakima Valley. This is the real deal! A Washington bargain. I cannot wait to drink it again. I purchased several... Average price $12-15 a bottle. You'll find this in wine shops and markets. Check out his latest website: www.charlessmithwines.com. (Note: The 2007 Velvet Devil Merlot is sold out on the website. They have the 2008 available.)
I've never visited Washington and will hopefully be attending the 2010 North American Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC#10) in Walla Walla next June. I sincerely hope Charles makes his presence known there. We want more Charles!!