Specializing in Bringing a Taste of Wine Country to San Clemente
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Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2011
Super Kung Fu Girl! More depth and complexity than ever. Apricot, kumquat, nectarine and lime leaves. A great mid-palate intensity with a long, long minerally finish.
From among the multitude of inexpensive Charles Smith wines he showed me only his 2011 Riesling Kung Fu Girl and I simply could not find time to explore that range further. Despite its near ubiquity in U.S. markets, I had not tasted any previous installment of this Smith hit - generically-labeled, but in fact sourced entirely from 25-year-old vines in caliche- and basalt-ridden Evergreen Vineyard, 1,300 feet above sea level and overlooking the Columbia in the Ancient Lakes region (north of the Frenchman Hills Royal Slope). To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be rank understatement. I was disarmed, delighted, and amazed at the distinctively delicious performance this wine gives, not to mention its mind-boggling value. Almost as incredible is this wine's production volume of 65,000 cases (So I'll assume, notwithstanding Smith's explication of mega-assemblage, that not all bottles or releases of Kung Fu Girl taste identical; that said, I did control for - and confirmed - my enthusiastic opinion with a second bottle of 2011 from a different market.) Delectable scents of basswood (Germans would say "linden flower") mingle with honeydew melon, white peach, and lime that go on to render the palate sorbet-like in its combination of succulent richness and sheer cooling refreshment. The balance of acidity and sweetness (from 18 grams of residual sugar) is perfectly judged to support the aforementioned impression and - with the help of a lick of salt, mineral dust, and citrus zests - advances an invigorating, ultra-luscious and lip-smackingly lingering finish. Whether you need to drink this up over the next 12-18 months I can't say from experience but I very much doubt it. (Not that cellaring will be on many purchasers' minds.) Smith says his sensibility for Riesling was honed on the Mittelrhein in the 1990s - that being the source nearest his then base of Copenhagen - and he certainly took-away some serious artisanal capital! Sounding a theme familiar from the Old World as well, he credits extreme diurnal temperature swings in the vineyard with this wine's strikingly successful balance and overall quality. If you are interested in the future of Riesling; Washington State wine; wine value; or wine for the masses, this represents a huge glass of Hope you can drain with a grin to Charles Smith's health.Score: 90. —David Schildknecht, December 2012.
Fresh and lively, this is off-dry, but with tangy balance to the pineapple and lime flavors, lingering on the finish. Drink now through 2015.Score: 89. —Harvey Steiman, November 30, 2012.
All sizes are 750mL unless otherwise noted.
Vintages and ratings subject to change at any time.
All pricing and availability subject to change.
Wine which is produced and bottled under strict supervision and meets all standards to be certified Kosher.
Wine which is produced using organic practices and is free of all synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, hormones and pesticides.
Biodynamic designation is regulated by Demeter, an international certification organization. Biodynamic agriculture is based on the view of a farm as a self-contained organism. Certified organic vineyards must meet Demeter"s additional criteria for a period of one year before earning the designation "biodynamic."
Sustainable practices incorporate organic standards and may exceed them and include ecologically and socially sound business practices such as fair pay for farm workers and energy conservation.
Wines sealed with a screw cap as opposed to a cork, which experts report protects and preserves wine more effectively than does a cork, while also eliminating the possibility of cork taint.
All wines naturally contain some sulfites, however wines that contain less than 10 parts per million sulfites are not required to include "Contains Sulfites" on their labels.
Wines that are still in the barrel and have yet to be bottled. Futures offer the opportunity to invest in a wine before it arrives in our store.
Like futures, pre-arrivals are wines that have not yet arrived on our shelves, however they may or may not be a new release. Pre-arrivals may already be bottled and en route to our store.
The Wine Advocate is a bimonthly wine publication featuring the consumer advice of wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. Initially titled The Baltimore-Washington Wine Advocate the first issue was published in 1978. Accepting no advertising, the newsletter publishes in excess of 7,500 reviews per year, utilizing Parker's rating system that employs a 50-100 point quality scale.
Wine Spectator is a lifestyle magazine that focuses on wine and wine culture. It publishes 15 issues per year with content that includes news, articles, profiles, and general entertainment pieces. Each issue also includes from 400 to more than 1,000 wine reviews, which consist of wine ratings and tasting notes.
International Wine Cellar
Since 1997, the 100% subscriber-supported IWC has also been available in French and Japanese editions.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine is a lifestyle magazine covering wine, food, spirits, travel and entertaining topics. It was founded in 1988 by Adam and Sybil Strum and reaches 686,000 readers. Its wine ratings, conducted by reviewers in major wine-producing areas of the world, are considered an influential gauge for consumers and professionals in the wine industry.
Wine & Spirits
Wine and Spirits is America's practical guide to the straightforward, enlightened enjoyment of fine wine and and premium spirits. We have for 18 years served customers and marketers alike with a lively mix of wine reviews, features, profiles, food and wine pairings, new product introductions, travel pieces, history, opinion and wine business news.
Burghound.com was the first of its kind to offer specialized, and more importantly, exhaustive coverage of a specific wine region. The first Issue was released in January of 2001 and there are now subscribers in more than 50 countries and nearly all 50 states. Allen Meadows spends over four months a year in Burgundy and visits more than 300 domaines during that time.
James is one of the world’s leading authorities on Australian wine, matching intelligent, honest reviews with unparalleled knowledge of, and passion for, the wine industry.
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
For thirty-five years, Connoisseurs’ Guide has been the authoritative voice of the California wine consumer. With readers in all fifty states and twenty foreign countries, the Guide is valued by wine lovers everywhere for its honesty and for it strong adherence to the principles of transparency, unbiased, hard-hitting opinions.
I rate wines using the 100-points scale. I have used this point system for close to 25 years. I still believe it is the simplest way to rate a wine, with its origins from grade school in the United States. A wine that I rate 90 points or more is outstanding (A), and worth buying. If I rate a wine 95 points or more (A+), it is a must buy.
View from the Cellar
View From the Cellar, an electronic wine newsletter published bi-monthly by John Gilman.
Homepage for wine writer, Neal Martin's, "Diary of a Wine Writer".
Malt Advocate magazine is America's leading whisky magazine. It's the number one source for whisky information, education and entertainment for whisky enthusiasts.
The Rhone Report
Dedicated to the wines and grapes of the Rhone Valley
Wine Review Online
Wine Review Online was originally conceived by Publisher Robert Whitley as an all-encompassing platform for the many talented wine journalists he came across in his travels as wine columnist for the Creators Syndicate.
Jim Murray's Whisky Bible
Whisky Advocate magazine is America's leading whisky magazine. The #1 source for whisky information, education & entertainment for whisky enthusiasts.