Big, welcoming red with warm, spicy aromas, full body and confident flavours of blackberry, raspberry, cinnamon, violet and fruitcake. Intense, long and very complex.
Aerate for an hour and serve with lamb chops and balsamic reduction.
Typically made from around 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot usually making up the balance. The grapes are grown in Washington's Columbia Valley AVA (wine region) and the wine sees ten months' maturation prior to bottling, in 40% new French oak.
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 bottles 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.