A Great Red and a Great White from a Master

Charles Smith is an amazing wine maker. His reds, and especially his Syrahs, are legendary, with some fetching $250/bottle. But let’s focus on some of his other wines, starting with Wines of Substance Cabernet Sauvignon 2016. This is an absolutely delightful wine, rated 93 points by Jeb Dunnuck and 92 points by a well-respected Wine Advocate critic/taster. (92-point Cabernet Sauvignons routinely fetch $50 and upward; sometimes $100 and upward.) According to our critic, “The wine offers up classic aromas of crushed cassis, loamy soil and pencil lead. On the palate, it's medium-bodied, layered and flavorful, with chewy but ripe tannins and succulent balancing acids, concluding with good length. Considering the scale of this cuvée and the pittance it commands, it's a remarkable achievement.” The pittance in question? At last check, about $13/bottle. INCREDIBLE VALUE! (Let it breathe for two hours before drinking.)

And if you like white wine, Charlie’s got you covered there, too, with the curiously named Kung Fu Girl Riesling, a dry white that is absolutely knock-your-socks-off delish. According to the winery, “It takes an unconventional winemaker to make a totally unexpected dry Riesling. One night, Charles was eating Chinese takeout and watching a fight scene in a notorious martial arts film when he had an idea: a killer white wine made to be paired with Asian food. Just like that, Kung Fu Girl was born. And it’s been kicking ass and taking names ever since.” As for the 2017 vintage now in my cellar, “White peach, mandarin orange and apricot are delivered with a core of minerality that makes this dry Riesling shimmer with energy and freshness. Another epic vintage of Kung Fu Girl." I won’t disagree. I’ve been drinking the wine for a decade or so and have received nothing but compliments. The price? As low as $9 and change in some places, like Wine Library.

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