It may have been a special weekend for the ever-popular, yet elusive "Rhone-style" Walla Walla wine located near the WA/OR border. However, it was also a very special weekend for a winemaker who is somewhat elusive in person, but you can be sure he'll greet you on billboards as you enter and leave the Walla Walla Valley with his likeness in black and white profiling his signature locks while looming over traffic.
It was a treat for me, as well as for many wine lovers to enter the new uptown Walla Walla tasting room on Spokane Street and not only see the "man" himself generously pouring his wines and visiting with his guests as if they were long-time friends, but it was also a delight to visit with the "Mrs." - the ever-so-charming Ginevra Casa Smith. I became acquainted with Ginevra last year and I always look forward to seeing her.
I tasted through the "Kung Fu Girl" Riesling, "Eve" Chardonnay, "The Velvet Devil" Merlot, "Boom Boom" Syrah and "Chateau Smith" Cabernet Sauvignon. The line-up of wines were generous in flavors and affordable in prices. The aromatic "Kung Fu Girl" Riesling and a spicy Kung Pao chicken are going to be match-worthy. The "Eve" Chardonnay is going to be on my porch this summer. It's like taking a bite of a juicy Delicious apple. I really took to "The Velvet Devil" Merlot. It was pure velvet on the tongue with it's dark cherry and milk chocolate mouth feel - - SMOOTH.
The building that holds the wines of FOOD & WINE Magazine’s 2009 WINEMAKER OF THE YEAR is not new, by no means. Instead of constructing a new building, Charles chose to invest in the city by investing in an old building. He transformed a former 5,000-square-foot garage into a airy and contemporary tasting room and offices, while keeping the integrity of the old vintage design and materials. Not only will the room; with the brick walls, high rafters and skylights; serve as a tasting room, but everything in the room is almost mobile. The broad wooden tasting room bar is complete with wheels so it can be transported to another space when Charles hosts special events. But don't let me go on and on about this great addition to Walla Walla's uptown, see for yourself.