We all think of pairing food and wine, but have you ever thought of pairing music with wine?
Charles Smith, a self-taught winemaker, has brought a new element to the world of wine – soul.
Smith is undoubtedly a full-bodied personality with a genuine passion for both music and wine. The only way to truly describe the experience of Charles Smith and his wines is to crank rock music and pour yourself a big glass of red or white… or both and just enjoy.
During a 1999 road trip, when Smith was managing rock bands and concerts, he passed through Washinton state’s Walla Walla Valley and met a young French winemaker with whom he developed a fascinating friendship. The connection grew over a mutual passion for Syrah.
Charles Smith produces wine under his brand, K Vintners, and has been internationally recognized as not only an innovator, but an immensely skilled winemaker and appreciator of good value and great wine.
Charles Smith and Milestones Restaurants have entered into a partnership that can only be described as an eccentric food and wine endeavour.
The newest addition to the Milestones wine list is the Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling, which will be available on the Milestones menu on April 6, but the Signature Cellar Menu also features the famed Velvet Devil Merlot and the Charles & Charles Cabernet Syrah.
At an exclusive winemaker’s dinner, Charles Smith, Milestones’ Executive Chef, Jason Rosso and COO Mark Findlay joined an intimate group of wine industry professionals as we tasted just how well-suited this partnership really is.
Jason Rosso crafted an incredible family-style menu that included Mozzarella Chorizo Fritters, Crab-Mango Salad, Spicy Thai Basil Stir Fry, Beef Tenderloin and Brussel Sprout Salad with Double-Smoked Bacon, among several other dishes.
The first course was paired with the newest menu addition— The Kung Fu Girl Riesling. After tasting a vertical of the Riesling, and even though all had evident vintage variance, it was clear that Smith is dedicated to the quality of the wine in the glass, while Rosso is dedicated to the quality of the dish in front of you.
For this reason, the pairings were immediately amicable on several levels.
The Kung Fu Girl Riesling is a vibrant, expressive wine, with layers of stone fruit, citrus and ginger spice. The acidity helps cleanse the palate, while the minerality leaves you salivating.
This wine was excellent with spicy foods and Thai-inspired dishes.
Before moving on to the next course and the vertical of The Velvet Devil Merlot, Smith shares his belief that “wine is meant to be drunk” because that is the fundamental purpose for its creation and existence.
This evening was so much more than a trade event; it was a dinner with people who truly appreciate wine and food.
The Merlot, across vintages, featured this enticing velvety tannin and dark plum characteristic with added notes of red cherry and tobacco spice.
The older vintages were more mellow and soft, while the younger vintages exemplified their potential for aging.
Smith’s Merlot with the beef tenderloin and the double-smoked bacon was a satisfying and memorable pairing.
“I’m not trying to connect with anybody specifically,” He commented, “I just speak to the wine because I make wine for people to drink.”
As a treat, Charles brought his 2007 Skull Syrah, not currently available for purchase, but just to allow the dinner guests to further appreciate the result of a genuine passion for quality in wine.
The aroma of this wine was luxurious in itself with a jammy nose of ripe dark cherry, cocoa and delicate white pepper.
The white pepper, dark cherry and rich chocolate notes followed through to the palate with a big, robust body of silky tannins, harmonious acid and ripe flavours.
This wine has been raved about from acclaimed critics and professional tasters, but even more so, it can also be appreciated by all dedicated wine enthusiasts.
This partnership between Milestones and Charles Smith truly “rocks” as guests will always be guaranteed access to really good wine and really great food. These equal values make for a harmonious food and wine pairing worth raving about.
Melissa Pulvermacher is an inspired wine enthusiast educated through The Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
Melissa is an active feature columnist with Natalie MacLean and writer for her own website – Recipes and Red Wine.
In addition to her writing, Melissa acts as a Sommelier in Guelph, Ontario, a freelance wine consultant and founder of The Vino Enthusiasts Wine Club in Southern Ontario.
Melissa intends to fully commit to a life-long journey in the education and appreciation of wine.