May 6, 2007

First Encounter with K Vintners and winemaker, Charles Smith

I've pulled up an e-mail I sent on April 28th, 2005 after tasting many of the K Vintner Wines for the first time!

It was quite the night!


One of the curses of my job is I have to taste wines. Yes, it's hard work...but, someone has to do it and keep you from tasting plonk. I wade through a lot of grape juice before I find the wines we want to carry (and a lot of this plonk is expensive stuff).

Occasionally, I get to taste some unique wines...even rarer I get to do it with the winemaker.

Well, Wednesday was one of those nights.

Doug Watts and Cat Oster, owners of South Portland Wine Company (Maine's newest and best wine distributor), called and said that Charles Smith from K Vintners would be in town and asked if I wanted to swing by and taste some wines (turns out that we tasted wine and then went and ate buckets of steamers, mussels, oysters and a lobster or two or twelve at J's in Portland and then caroused a bit - please keep that quiet...I told Aly it was a hard night's work!).

Twist my arm! I decided to take one for the was tough...hard work...but, someone had to do it...and that someone was me...

Charles Smith is an iconoclast...he's a unique person (he's the Honorable Charles Smith - his brother is the president of a prestigious Cambridge College and a member of the House of Charles is the "Honorable...")...former rock-and-roller...think Ozzy Osbourne, Neil Young and Bob Marley...full of bluster...full of opinions....full of a head of hair that the guys on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" would scream, "Product, product...needs hair product..." and full of ability to make great, unique, one-of-a-kind wines. Charles is not trying to make wines for the masses...he's making wines for people that love wines that "taste like they are from somewhere." We are lucky to have these wines in Maine. They are in extremely limited supply. They are powerhouses today (and, with decanting will drink well tonight) and they'll age well for 7-12 years.

What's unique about Charles' wines - they are not made for everyone. They are unique, complex, interesting...wines you sit around and drink over a long evening with great friends.

They are not simplistic...they are not summer-time "quaffing" wines. They are robust, complex...."Wow" wines!

This is what I tasted and like and is available:

The Boy 2003 - $44.99 (less than 6 bottles) - This is a Big Wine. Robust. It's not for the faint of heart. Mind-boggling intensity of flavors and aromas. This is single vineyard wine from the famous Cayuse "En Cerisse" Vineyard - famous for its stone and gravel makeup - remember, the best grapes often come from the worst land. It's a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Tempranillo and more! Layers and layers of complexity. Wonderful fruit and spice. Crystal clear, but still a rich color. Deep. Rich. Well-integrated tannins. This is a wine you're friends will fight over to finish. By the has the most unusual label on a bottle...period! The label is as plain as possible!

Milbrandt 2003 - $29.99 (less than 30 bottles) - This is an elegant Syrah. Wow! Big, huge flavors and aromas, but still soft and smooth. Notes of bacon fat and smoked meats. Espresso in the nose. Minerals and earth from the soil. Well-integrated, soft, fine-grained tannins. Silky, soft, long finish. From the Wahluke Slope Vineyard, Columbia Valley.

Cougar Hills Syrah 2003 - $44.99 (less than 12 bottles in Maine) - Ooooh, is just a really nice wine. Mocha, cocoa and chocolate aromas and flavors. Soft. Elegant. Smooth. Complex. Huge variety of flavors and aromas. A whopping 1920 bottles made....worldwide.

These are just brilliant wines. They are not widely available. They are not for everyone.

But, if you like unique wines that taste like they are from somewhere...that taste like a unique person laid hands on them...then you should call us and ask us to set aside a bottle or two or so.

These wines are worth your hard-earned money. If you want any, let us know ASAP.