Retired heavy metal band roadie Charles Smith has reinvented himself as one of the rockstars of the Pacific Northwest wine scene. Since 2000 he has been crushing it in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington, and collecting accolades under his K Vintners label as well as his nationally-distributed “House Wine” label which includes the “Boom-Boom Syrah” – one of the most recognizable and popular domestic Syrahs in the country.
Charles Smith is the only person to have received Winemaker of the Year distinctions by both Wine Enthusiast (2014) and Food & Wine (2009). In 2008, K Vintners was recognized by Wine & Spirits magazine as one of the “Best New Wineries of the Last Ten Years,” and as “Winery of the Year” in their annual buying guide. His wines continue to receive broad recognition from leading wine publications such as Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine & Spirits with 98 scores of 95 points and above, and 386 scores of 90 points and above.
The “Royal City” Syrah is perhaps his most legendary offering. It made a splash in 2006 when Robert Parker awarded it a “perfect” 100 point score. Since then, it consistently achieves around 98 points each vintage. The 2013 vintage was particularly friendly to Washington vineyards.
From Robert Parker:
A candidate for the wine of the vintage, the 2013 Syrah Royal City is as expansive, sexy and voluptuous as they get in the vintage, hands down. It’s deep ruby/purple color is followed by incredible notes of wild herbs, lavender, gamey meats, olive paste and sweet dark berry fruits. Full-bodied, relatively forward and charming, it still packs a wealth of material and has building tannin, all suggesting it will drink nicely for 10-15 years. 98 pts.
From Wine Enthusiast:
The aromas pop, with notes of stargazer lilies, brown stems, green olive and smoked meat, revealing more on each swirl. The fruit and savory flavors are rich and layered, earthshaking in their intensity, with a lengthy finish that only heightens the interest. It’s a complete showstopper. 96 pts.
From Wine Spectator:
Rich and opulent, this towering wine offers layers of blueberry, plum and clotted cream flavors, with just enough mineral character to stay honest. Comes together into a vivid and expressive finish. Has plenty of power, but remains graceful. Best from 2018 through 2023. 652 cases made. 95 pts.
98 pts – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate