You didn’t know Sammy Hagar made Wine?? He doesn’t. Former rock band manager now Winemaker from Northern California does..in Washington State. Owner-winemaker Charles Smith with his big hair, kick ass attitude and bold packaging arrived in the Walla Walla Valley following eleven years in Scandinavia managing rock bands. He has been involved with wine personally and professionally his entire life. He first started with K-Vintners and then The Magnificent Wine Company where he made his big bucks with the following Wine pictured here.
He sold The Magnificent Wine Company in the late 90′s to Precept Brands in Washington State. He took that money and started a winery called “Charles Smith Wines” He has followed his mission statement since it’s inception. He was producing non-snobbish, quality wines from Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley with cool names, cool labels, at everyday drinking prices. When I was a Wine Buyer I had Huge Displays of all his wines and got a Big WOW from all of my customers because they couldn’t believe the quality for these $15 wines. Here are some of his Labels:
The Wine I wanted to review was his 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon that he calls “Chateau Smith” Wine Spectator just awarded the 2009 Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon 91 Points and I paid $18 retail for the bottle. This is the review from Harvey Steinman who covers Pacific Northwest Wines for Wine Spectator Magazine: SCORE 91 Points Supple and inviting, with complex flavors of dark berries and plum shaded with hints of bacon and star anise. The finish rolls along unimpeded by the polished tannins. Drink now through 2016. 10,000 cases made. –HS
First I find it very interesting that the reviewer mentioned “Hints Of Bacon” because that was the attraction to me years ago about all of Charles Smith Wines were that they had that pleasing aroma of bacon notes in the background. My review of the 2009 Chateau Smith is 90 Points. Pretty aromas of black raspberries and cassis the flavors of sweet plums, dark berries and a hint of licorice and white pepper spices just glide along the palate without a bitter tannin whatsoever. This is a great everyday drinking Washington Cabernet
I urge you all who always ask for a Cabernet Sauvignon that doesn’t require a Hunk Of Beef or any food to drink at an affordable price, to seek out this Wine at your local Retailer. It is delicious. I have been a fan of all Charles Smith’s projects and this Cabernet just validates why. Remember Napa Cab Fans, this is just one of the many California born and raised winery owners/winemakers who have left the State of California and chose to set up shop where I too believe is the best place in the USA to make Wine, Washington State. This whole project strayed away from the overpriced, over oaked, glitzy brand names in Napa and proves you can get amazing wines for under $20 with simple black and white labels. I think my message to you about wine is similar to Charles Smith’s Slogan Statement on his Webpage: “IT’S JUST BOOZE—– DRINK IT”!!!!
I think as a South Floridian living in Jungle Temperatures 60% of the time and being fortunate to have availability of fresh fish and fresh shellfish, I tend to like my White Wines, Fresh, Crisp and Young as opposed to, Heavy, Oaked with High Alcohol. I think the country that provides this type of flavor profile on White Wines better than anywhere else is Italy…and NO, I don’t mean another Pinot Grigio. I love Arneis from Piedmonte, Insolia from Sicily, Garganega from the Soave Region of Verona and dozens more from so many different regions of Italy. One place in Italy many people are not familar with is the Island Of Sardinia. The first thing people say when I mention Sardinia is “Are the wines good with Sardines”? Actually they would be a perfect match for some FRESH, GRILLED Sardines but also all shellfish or white fish dishes.
Sardinia [Sardegna] wine region
Sardinia (Sardegna to its Italian-speaking inhabitants) is a large island in the Mediterranean Sea, situated a considerable distance off the west coast of mainland Italy. Like Corsica, immediately to the north, the island has belonged to various empires and kingdoms over the centuries, and its culture reflects this unsettled history. Sardinia is more politically stable now, however, having been part of Italy since the middle of the 18th century.The closest mainland wine regions to Sardinia are Tuscany and Lazio, 125 miles (200km) away, while Italy’s other island region, Sicily, is 185 miles (300km) to the south-east. The distance between Sardinia and the other Italian regions has led to the island developing its own distinct culture and identity.
It has been a while since I have had a Vermentino. I was in the mood for a plate of Fried Calamari and I thought this would be a great opportunity to try a new Vermentino from Sardinia and the Selections of Italian Wine Importer Alberello Wine Imports in Winter Park Florida and The “Selections of Nadia Galati” ARAGOSTA
Cantina Santa Maria La Palma in Sardinia produces this Vermentino. The 2010 Vintage scored a respectable 86 Points by Wine Enthusiast Magnazine with the following review : “Aragosta is one of those wonderfully light and crisp Italian whites that would pair so well with the seafood dishes we love most (fried calamari and crab cakes, for example). Tonic aromas of peach, citrus and white flower emerge from the nose”
— M.L. (12/15/2011) — 86
I gave it an 87 Points. I don’t think these are the types of Wines that I would drink alone but boy do they pair up well with Seafood and Ice Cold Shellfish. The important factor on this wine and any crisp, white wine, is not to drink the Wine too COLD. 15 Minutes in your Freezer is Perfect. This allowed me to smell the pretty white flower, white pepper bouquet and aromas of peach, apples and fresh squeezed lemon. On the Palate, it was light bodied, crisp with good acidity and a long lasting finish for Lemon Zest. This was just tasting the wine by itself for my review. With my Fried Calamari it was a home run!. With Shellfish like Shrimp, or Stone Crabs it would be a Grand Slam. The best part is, a Vermentino is just the beginning of Italian White Wines and this does not include America’s Favorite Pinot Grigio which is not the Showcase White Wine for Italians. We are talking about a price point of $11-13. Boil up some shrimp, slightly chill down a bottle of Vermentino like Aragosta and make believe you live in Sardinia. I may be approaching 53 years old but when it comes to Italian White Wine Varietals I still like em Young And Fresh. Does that make me a Dirty White Wine Man???