Top Ten 2017 Wine 2


The first time you meet winemaker
Charles Smith you know you’re in for a real experience, with his frazzely
long hair, his black t-shirt and jeans. He looks like a middle-aged rock star, which
isn’t really too far from the fact. Before he started making wines in 2001,
he managed rock and roll bands. Like his wine, Smith is full of personality. He
divides his time between Seattle where he makes his wine and Walla Walla in
eastern Washington where most of his vineyard sources are located. Smith has a
number of labels including Sixto and Charles & Charles. But his K
Vintners is the heart of his portfolio. He produces more than a dozen reds under
the label every year. Most of it Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Powerline Vineyard is a relative newcomer to Smith’s lineup. He planted the 30-acre vineyard in 2012.
Situated at an elevation of 1,200 feet, the vines are applied on an ancient
riverbed that’s stocked with thick soils, cobblestones, sand and gravel. He is lucky
to get two and a half tons an acre. Powerline yielded its first wines in
2014 and the Syrah is a real standout. The result is a knockout wine that’s
impeccably built, but explosive with personality. With smoky, roasted meat and
blackberry aromas, and bold, supple flavors of dark plum, pepper, licorice. The
tannins are big, but they’re so polished and beautiful. Congratulations
to Charles Smith and his entire winemaking team. K Vintners 2014
Powerline Estate Syrah, Walla Walla Valley is Wine Spectator’s number two
wine of 2017.

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