“One sniff sets my mind a reeling! Vintage Chanel bag with broken cigarette, N°5 perfume, lipstick and a few loose coins… My heart!
Chapter two. As the aromas lift, I can’t turn the page fast enough. Black plum, cool ash, velvet drapes, dense yet airy with room for everything… The texture as smooth as the pages of a well-aged book. Truly poetry. My poem.”
With descriptors like these from a man like Charles Smith, how can you not be intrigued?
Charles’ wines have never been for the faint of, well, heart, and his Heart and Skull Syrahs are no different.
Born from gravel bed soil that forces roots to struggle to feed their fruit, it’s only vines of great character that can thrive in this part of the aptly named Stoneridge Vineyard. The resulting wines show renown depth and complexity, even for their variety: Skull is slightly more concentrated, with an aggressiveness that takes some time to come around. Heart is full-bodied, approachable, and generous, with juicy dark fruits and a touch of chocolate.
High-scoring overachievers each, Charles brought them together to craft Old Bones, a 50/50 blend of the pair showcasing each wine’s best traits. Or, as Charles says:
“Of the earth, deeply rooted in the only place in the world for this amazing wine. Powerfully layered and dense.”
“Sometimes things just name themselves,” he explained. “The first vintage, in 2005, revealed itself as having three distinctive parts and informed me as to the wines I should make, hence Heart, Skull, and Old Bones. Heart was just the berries, no stems. Skull presented itself as whole clusters, with the stems, which formed the skeleton. Old Bones revealed itself as a representation of the whole being.”
It’s fitting these wines form a cornerstone of the foundation upon which Charles has built his reputation and business over the years. Bearing striking labels that, especially at their inception, stand in stark contrast to the norm, they’re standard bearers for his wine revolution.
“(Skull and Heart) were the first wines Charles did under Charles Smith Wines that were exclusive and low volume,” Rikke Korf, his long-time collaborator and the designer of nearly all his labels, noted. “We were aiming for the top, but wanted to accentuate his rock and roll background and his European history, but in a Charles-esque way.”
“The names came before the art,” she continued. “We had done Kung Fu Girl and I think Boom Boom, so that black and white, very rock and roll approach was already starting to happen. We drew inspiration from the Old World, such as kings and armor and swords, and added in vines and leaves in tribute to the vineyards. King Coal would eventually do the same – they’re a bit of a series, if you will.”
Heavy, opulent, and powerful – Heart
, Skull, and Old Bones are ready to accompany your fall harvest meals and beat back the slowly encroaching evening chill. It doesn’t hurt that they also make the perfect centerpiece for Halloween season.