Happy New Year! January is the perfect time to revisit old favorites we may have forgotten. I visit and try so many wonderful new wines throughout the year but occasionally it’s entertaining to go back to an old favorite wine. With many new wines hitting the market each day we can easily forget the old classics. One of those classics worth revisiting is Wines of Substance, the portfolio name for the wines made by Charles Smith. Charles makes it his mission to not become stale and keeps adding and inventing new labels to his brand.
Knowing the two brands House Wines and Charles Smith Wines are now part of large corporations since the mid-2000 I wanted to learn what the current brand entailed. I visited Charles Smith Wines Jet City in Georgetown to find out. I have enjoyed the wines that Charles Smith has created for years now and my recent visit rekindled that love. If you have not taken the time to check out Jet City, you should check it out. Housed in the old Dr. Pepper bottling plant at the north end of Boeing field. The enormous windows make it simple to watch the various jets that fly in and out. I can’t fail to mention the entrance; the door to the tasting room is 2 stories tall!
Over the years Charles Smith has created many excellent brands and has sold a few of the wine labels. The current lines offered at Jet City are Sixto, Vino Casa Smith, Substance, B. Leighton Wines, and K Vintners. Each of these brands offers a true expression of the grape they are showcasing. When I visited I learned what makes each of these a great label. I sampled a few of the wines from each of these labels and remembered what a star in Washington wines Charles Smith is.
Charles Smith produces; Sixto, a Chardonnay only lineup. There is a Chardonnay for everyone’s taste buds here, from oaky to un-oaked. Next, Vino Casa Smith focuses on Italian varietals grown here in Washington. Offerings from Barbera, Sangiovese, and Super Tuscans are affordable at a top price of $25. The label Substance is single vineyard and a single expression wine. This means each wine is from a single vineyard and is 100% one varietal except for one Boudreaux blend. These are great wines to obtain when you want to learn how different locations change wine. You can sample the same grape from various soils all within Washington. B. Leighton Wines are Yakima Valley based wines and they offer great varieties such as Petit Verdot.
The last brand offered at Jet City is the one that has continued me coming back for Charles Smith wines over the years, his original brand K Vintners. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Viognier are under this label and these are high-end delicious wines. When I visited last, it blew me away at how great these wines are and how they rival wines being produced in Napa or other great regions of the world. The 2015 King Coal 75% Cabernet Sauvignon; 25% Syrah and it’s perfection. Charles described this wine as “Oozing with personality. Tobacco, black raspberry, suede. Showing elegance, depth & power all in one sip. Blackberry, stone, gravel. Regal in all that matters.”
This January take a break and go spend an afternoon at Jet City. The amazing wines will shock you; the modern rustic architecture will impress you and the loud jets flying in will give you a jolt. If you’re lucky as I was on my last visit you may meet a cute puppy or two as well. Even the dogs are fans of these great Washington wines.