Fun, Food, Pets and Travel


Tom Powers

gastrotommy – Charles Smith

I am often very skeptical of people, places and things that are really cool. I find I just don’t typically find the same things cool that most other people do. So when a manager I worked with told me about wines from a guy in Washington that was a self-taught winemaker who used to manage rock bands in Copenhagen…I cringed. I concocted this wild image of a drug-abusing, chain-smoking burnout that had returned to the states with some stupor-induced notion of becoming a Rockstar winemaker. Not on my watch. Not a chance.

I was ready to shred these wines.

Then, I tasted the wine. My first experience with Charles Smith’s wines was the K Vintners, Syrah, Cougar Hills, Walla Walla, 2002. Despite the potential cliched nightmare, the wine was delicious. It was balanced. Big, but balanced. It had a good degree of acidity, tannic structure and simply jammy fruit. I continued to enjoy these wines for a period. Then Charles created a new line from a new company.

The Magnificent Wine Company was the creation. His product was House Wine. I loved everything about this: the simple black and white label, the name, the taste and most of all, the price, $10. Are you kidding me? Charles had cracked the code. As he says, and I paraphrase, rather than putting $2 worth of wine in $20 worth of packaging and charging $10, he put $20 worth of wine in $2 worth of packaging. The result is a product that changes with the harvest, that is delicious and yes, I’ll have another. In fact, just keep ‘em coming til someone falls asleep. Then bring 2.

Next up for the savvy marketing, crazy haired, self taught Rockstar winemaker was Charles Smith Wines. He took the gloves off, had fun at all price points with many varietals. The wines are magically delicious. From Kung Fu Girl Riesling to Eve Chardonnay to Boom Boom Syrah to Velvet Devil and so on the wines bring place, pleasure and purpose to every sip.

What I also discovered along the way was that Charles was not simply a guy with crazy hair that likes to get down like he’s going to prison tomorrow (really). He is really smart. He has a tremendous amount of respect for the great old world wines from Europe. He understand and executes marketing strategy as well as anyone in the world. Furthermore, he never compromises his values to gain favor. Ever. I just don’t know if he was ever a chain smoker.

So you are looking for something that totally rocks that you can find anywhere? Check out Charles Smith’s wines.

Looking to order a bunch for your house and save 20%? Send us an email. We’ll hook you up.

ps, our radio show next week features a 30 minute interview with Tommy and Charles. Earmuffs for the children, please.