The 2008 Royal City Syrah was sourced from the Stoneridge Vineyard. It displays a soaring perfume of sandalwood, garrigue, lavender, smoke, bacon, game, blueberry, and black raspberry. Super-concentrated, it deftly marries power and elegance in a seamless wine that should see its 20th birthday in peak form. I met up with Charles at his new wine bar in Walla Walla before we drove out to the winery in his 1949 Cadillac, a picture of which is on the web-site (not the deluxe model like my grandfather used to drive). It is always a highlight of my annual trip to Washington because in addition to the tasting, you get a performance but, after all is said and done, when it comes to making wine, Charles Smith is all business. He knows where the vineyards are, he believes in amazingly low yields, and in the winery he is a non-interventionist. All of the following wines were made with native ferments and were bottled without fining or filtration. (JM)
An Amaro-like mix of bitters and herbs; this is exceptionally dense and dark. The fruit is a grace note; the big flavors come from herb, earth, rock, barrel and more. Licorice, baking spices, smoke, black cherry, Bourbon barrel, and on it goes. Huge and dense and seemingly endless. (PG)
Savory, with layers and layers of flavor on a deftly balanced frame. The velvety style emphasizes black olive, green olive and roasted meat flavors around a subterranean core of blackberry, tar and spice. The finish rolls along unimpeded by polished tannins. (HS)
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