Full bodied and loaded with extravagant, dark flavours: blackberry jam, cherry cola, cedar, cocoa and espresso. A joy to drink!
To die for on its own, but would be amazing too with roast chicken, molasses, chilli and sesame seeds.
Depending on the particular vintage, Velvet Devil comprises around 95% Merlot, with the small balance split between Malbec and Cabernets Sauvignon/Franc. The wine enjoys 25 days on (grape) skins and ageing is for ten months in barrel, a third of which is new French wood. Velvet Devil originates in the Columbia Valley AVA/appellation.
Hailing from "wine state" California's capital Sacramento, the young, curly-haired Charles Smith followed a woman to Denmark, where he spent nine years managing rock bands before seamlessly segueing to wine retail in Seattle. During a 1999 road trip that took in top Washington AVA (American Viticultural Area, or appellation/wine region), Walla Walla, he discovered his great passion for Syrah, and was moved to begin making his own juice. The ultimate result, Charles Smith Wines (estd. 2006), is described as a "modernist project,” which recognises the way people consume wine today: immediately!
Washington, on America's northern Pacific coast, makes more wine than any other state bar California. Most wines originate in the state's hot, arid, eastern part, which sits behind a rain shadow caused by the Cascade mountains. Viticulture is possible only because of irrigation via a network of local rivers. Washington's high latitude of 46°N gives seventeen hours of sunlight daily in summer – two more than California! Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah are the main varieties grown.