Wine Icons: Charles Smith - The Mick Jagger of Wine
There is something provoking about seeing a cartoon bomb on a wine label. It shouts out from the shelf “look at me, or I am going to explode and you WILL be sorry.” The first time I picked up a bottle of Boom Boom Syrah, I did not want to put it down for that exact reason. I would much prefer my wines to blow up in my mouth, and leave an explosion of awesomeness on my taste buds.
I am glad I did pick up that bottle, and even happier having picked up Kung Fu Girl Riesling. Perhaps my happiest the first time my friend and I picked up a bottle of Chateau Smith Cabernet Sauvignon. Why? These were no fancy treats, they were not expensive at all, but you know what made them special? That they made me feel like a fucking rock star on a Wednesday night, that me and my friends could rock out with wine, leather jackets, Chuck Taylors and ripped black jeans. Oh yeh, these were wines for the rebels, these were wines for us.
When you see images of Charles Smith you start to see where these wines come from. They are not stuffy, pretentious, wines that were made by some Fifth Baron of Wherever. These are wines made by a guy who loves wine, and wants to make wine his way. Not some classical pianist on a century old piano, but music made from a beaten up, hand me down Stratocaster and a dirty amp. Wine made by a guy who looks more like fellow Washingtonian Buzz Osborne of Melvins fame than even your suited and booted winemakers from further down the Pacific coast.
In fact, there is probably a none more fitting playlist than a Melvins playlist to enjoy while slurping down all the Boom Boom Syrah and Chateau Smith you can get your hands on, and hurry, because these awesome brands just got acquired by Constellation Brands. The punk attitude will live on, especially when every Somm friend of yours tell you how much they dislike Charles Smith, and you can tell them to go to hell! This is not about some nuanced expression of terroir, its just wine, so shut the fuck up and drink it!
You’d think that was it, Charles Smith wines would make some good, cheap wines, sell boat loads, and call it a day. Ha! No. Instead Charles Smith bought himself a couple of Les Paul Customs and a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier to make his wine music. Making bigger, bolder, richer wines from the likes of his Sixto and K Vintners wineries, where prices range from the $40 to the $140 mark. The same craft, the same attitude, just bolder and richer, they sound better, they taste even better, and the wines are pure decadence for the soul.
The truth is, Charles Smith just keeps on going. The Seattle Times called him the Mark Cuban of wine, that his success in the wine industry has polarized many people. Good! Because this industry needed a good kick in the ass! In fact you can thank Charles Smith for bringing many young drinkers into the wine fold, making it cool to drink, making it fun, allowing us to connect with wine in places, on occasion we never thought we could. Which is why Charles Smith goes beyond being a rock star of the wine world, oh no, the man is a wine icon.