More Northern Rhone in style, with lots of red and black fruits, olive, peppered meats and sweet fruit, the 2013 Syrah Rock Garden is seamless, downright sexy and layered on the palate, with a voluptuous, yet classy and focused texture. Like all of the Rhone blends from this estate, it was fermented with 100% whole clusters and aged mostly in neutral barrels and puncheons. Give bottles a year or two and enjoy over the following decade. These latest releases from Charles Smith check in at the top of the pyramid and are flat out incredible wines that I wish every reader could taste. Readers should also check out the new label, Wines of Substance, which are also included in this report. Going forward, the K Vintners label will be for the Rhone inspired blends, and all Bordeaux blends will be moved to the Wines of Substance label. (JD)
Coming off the Rocks District, this wine displays high-toned aromas of brown stems, crushed violets and black pepper along with a light meat and olive streak. The flavors are poised and layered, showing a mixture of red and black fruits with abundant savory accents. The crazy-long finish flat out impresses.
Firm, focused and distinctive, with an orange peel and tea leaf character that weaves through the blackberry and plum flavors. A hint of pear adds interest to the supple finish. Best from 2018 through 2023.
Medium red. Wild raspberry, musky mocha and tapenade on the nose. Juicy, savory, salty wine with a gamey nuance. Less plush and more vertical than the River Rock, displaying more acidity and grip. This intriguing Syrah finishes with rather suave, sweet tannins. In the absence of Charles Smith, I sampled his extensive line-up of K Vintners wines in his airy new facility on the northern edge of Boeing Field in Seattle with Brennon Leighton, who makes wines under his own B. Leighton label and is co-winemaker with Smith on the Sixto wines. (Leighton works for Smith and is also a partner on several of their labels.) Leighton emphasized that all of Smith’s contracts for the K wines are by the acre, which is still the exception in Washington. Leighton noted that the 2013s are a bit coarser than the 2012s. Two thousand fourteen was an even warmer vintage, but Smith 'made adjustments in the vineyards, leaving larger canopies and getting more shade on the fruit.' This has long been a fascinating collection of wines encompassing a wide range of distinctive terroirs. (ST)
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