Charles Smith Royal City Syrah 2009
Syrah/Shiraz from Columbia Valley, Washington
"Man this is it! Wow! You name it, it's got it. Hickory, black cherry, Venezuelan chocolate, pie crust, camphor, beeswax and suede. It is complex. It is elegant. It is Royal City." - Charles Smith
"Supple, rich and complex, this is a towering, majestic wine layered with floral, mineral and exotic spice character around a core of meaty black cherry, licorice and maple flavors. It all comes together seamlessly on the long, expressive finish. Drink now through 2020."
"Representing the fourth installment of a wine designed to showcase what he treats as his Cinderella vineyard (though it's not actually his), with whose Syrah vines as he puts it "we hit it out of the ballpark already with the first vintage," Smith's 2009 Syrah Stoneridge Vineyard Royal City combines amazing density of sappy cassis, cherry concentrate, bitter huckleberry, licorice and road tar with vibratory impingement of brown spices, citrus rind, brined anchovy, and some je ne sais quoi that, as with numerous other Washington behemoths, it manages to pull from an environmental stock of energy. All of that said, you'll have to really like the particular flavors on exhibit here to want to imbibe them at this level of near-overwhelming concentration; overnight the only change I noted was the emergence of a faintly caramelized and rancid note from oak; and whether the strong tannins that lurk beneath this wine's sweet, viscous, tarry surface will remain well-blanketed as it evolves in bottle only time can tell. (I'll hope to taste one of the four previous vintages of Royal City next year, but even so, wine built to this scale must count as very young still at only age six or less.) Naturally it hasn't escaped me that most of my fellow critics have praised these Royal City wines as if they represented the proverbial Shining City on the Hill of Syrah, and some friends I especially respect have written eloquently of their virtues. I guess I have to part ways with them in the degree of excitement I find myself able to muster for an, as yet at least, rather amorphous syrup of Syrah, even one so startlingly shot through with virtual lightning bolts of energy. But, as already suggested, I'll hope to find out what precipitates from this big, dark vinous storm cloud over the years.
The Wine Advocate
- 9/1/2013 (29 items) (viewed 15 times)
Learn About Charles Smith Map It
First there was K Vintners, then the Magnificent Wine Company and now winemaker Charles Smith brings you his latest revelation. Charles Smith Wines: The Modernist Project is a response to how people generally consume wine today, that is immediately…as in immediately after being purchased at a market, restaurant or bar, to be drunk straight away. Wine in this category is typically...
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Learn About Columbia Valley
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which...
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Learn About Syrah/Shiraz
(seh-RAH/shee-RAHZ) It's a Smokin' Grape Syrah and Shiraz - same grape, different name. It's a popular and adept variety, growing in multiple regions and creating many different styles of wine. The home base of Syrah is the Northern Rhone, where it creates the exclusive wines of Hermitage and Cote Rotie. On the less pricy side, the Rhone makes Syrah-based wines in Crozes...
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