“House of Smith embodies everything I’ve done and everything I will do in the future. This is where all my work lives.” – Charles Smith
For more than twenty years, Charles has made his mark as a winemaker. He built Washington’s largest winemaker-owned winery. He’s the only person to win both Food & Wine and Wine Enthusiast‘s Winemaker of the Year title. He continually releases countless high-scoring wines. All without wavering from his own unique, creative vision.
Yeah, okay. Everyone loves the holidays. But our founder’s passion for the season is contagious. From his annual 12 Days of Smithmas to lavish dinners and parties, Charles’ excitement for all things holiday really started when he was traveling overseas.
“I love the Danish Christmas,” Charles’s voice lit up as he explained. “You have this thing called the Julefrokost, where you gather with friends and eat and drink. You can get invited to anywhere from one to twenty of them starting December 1 through Christmas. It’s a great time to eat and drink and celebrate friends, the tradition of candles on the tree and the family joining in song… There’s nothing more beautiful than going down the walking street of Copenhagen when it’s all strung with garland and big luminous red hearts, which are a primary symbol of Christmas.”
“Penetrating color. Potpourri of aromas. Blackberry, plum and chanterelles continue to engage the palate. Forest floor, cured meat, black cherry and pine needles. Rich, engaging and oh so persistent. Complex to the max. Nothing is spared.”
–Winemaker Charles Smith
Charles has made – and makes – a ton of wine. Every one of them is the result of a personal journey, a combination of choices and personality that culminates in uniquely delicious ways. M.C.K., aka Motor City Kitty, is one of our oldest wines, a call-back to our very beginnings when Charles was just starting out in Walla Walla.
Whether donning a ‘festive’ sweater to get the gang together* or by taping an antler on your pup prepping for Grinch mode, it’s here. No matter how you feel about this time of year, an inarguable perk is a plethora of opportunities to stuff our faces with delicious foods. From traditional turkey and pie to sugar dusted cookies and those weird crab cakes puffs my aunt passes off as appetizers, ‘tis eating season.
What do you do when you discover some old, abandoned Chardonnay vineyards essentially right in your backyard?
Not just any vineyards, either – these had been planted in mixed limestone, much like those of classic Burgundian wines, such as Puligny-Montrachet. Well, if you’re Charles Smith, the answer is obvious: you make great wine with it.
Grapes and Snakes at the Powerline Vineyard, Washington State
“We finished crush Monday, so now we have to press…”
VP of Winemaking and Viticulture Brennon Leighton told me the other day. “Everyone is tired, but things have been great – it went extremely well.”
Yes, harvest 2020 is slowly winding down, tying a tight, juicy bow on what could have been a messy year. Despite numerous obstacles — COVID, wildfires, climate change — our Washington vineyards made it through not just unscathed, but actually better than expected.
“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.
Many K wines feature the bold, black ‘K’ logo on a white front label, but none quite so elegantly as the The Hidden’s broad brush strokes.
Sustainably grown in the Northridge Vineyard, high on the Wahluke Slope, the elevation’s cooler temperatures delay ripening and draw out complexity in the wine. Northridge is located in an oasis at the base of foothills – the vineyard itself seems “hidden,” in that it looks to be arid land as far as you can see.
It’s not until you’re right on top of it that the lush, green vineyard is revealed.
100% Syrah, The Hidden is inherently powerful by nature but reveals itself with grace, a trait that was, along with the location, taken into consideration in the label design.