In tough times, we continue the search for good, inexpensive wines.

The first wine is from July’s Virtual Tasting – the Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2008. Charles Smith, who also produces K Vintners and Magnificent Wine Company wines, calls the Charles Smith label his “modernist project.” See our writeup on the Boom Boom! Syrah from this label at a previous Virtual Tasting here. Charles Smith Wines is located in Walla Walla.

Barnard Griffin, located in Richland, was founded by Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard in 1983. Griffin also served as winemaker for Hogue Cellars for a number of years. Barnard Griffin produces 75,000 cases annually.

One of the more anticipated value offerings is the Ghost of 413 wines from the Giant Wine Co. Giant Wine is the work of Mark McNeilly (Mark Ryan Winery) and Chris Gorman (Gorman Winery). These two winemakers have both received an avalanche of accolades for their respective wines. This year’s Ghost of 413 Red is a Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah (CMS) blend. The white is a Riesling. Giant Wine Co. also produces Sinner’s Punch Red and Sinner’s Punch White under this label. See my take on the Red here. Gorman and McNeilly did not release a vintage of these wines last year, feeling that they were not quite up to snuff. Giant Wine Co. is located in Woodinville.

Snoqualmie Vineyard Wines is located in Prosser. The winery has three tiers of wines: the Columbia Valley wines, Naked Wines, and Reserve Wines. Here we try the Naked Cabernet Sauvignon. The Naked label focuses on grapes produced organically and wines created with minimal intervention. Snoqualmie – note. This wine is not listed on the website.

If you have favorite Washington wines under $15, send them along and I will check them out.







Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl Riesling Evergreen State Vineyard, Washington 2008

Pale in color. Lots of mineral notes along with tropical fruit on the nose. As the wine opens, traces of floral aromas start to show along with abundant tangerine notes and a hint of citrus at the tail end. On the taste, crisp and tart like a Granny Smith apple. A layered wine with a fair amount of complexity.



Barnard Griffin Cabernet Merlot NV

Lots of sweet oak notes and a touch of spice along with powdered cocoa, and cherry on a pleasing nose. The taste is right down the fairway – smooth and even with a bit of weight and lots of fruit. A good value, especially if on sale. 13.5% alcohol. Recommended.

Purchased at Safeway for $9.09



Giant Wine Co. Ghost of 413 Riesling 2008

All about cantelope on the nose and taste. A fair amount of Residual Sugar makes the wine come off as fairly sweet. Overall, an enjoyable, solidly put together wine that doesn’t show a whole lot of complexity. 100% Stainless steel fermented. 12.9% alcohol.

Purchased at Pete’s Bellevue for $10.99



Giant Wine Co. Ghost of 413 Red Wine Columbia Valley 2007

Soft blueberry and raspberry aromas give way to light oak spices and vanilla on the nose.
Lots of oak influence and a fair amount of grip on the taste at the moment. At times comes off as astringent. Still, there is lots of good stuff there. Needs time to come into its own or a big block of cheese. 55% Cabernet; 33% Merlot; 12% Syrah. 15% alcohol. 1,500 cases produced.

Purchased at Pete’s Bellevue for $12.99



Snoqualmie Vineyard Wines Naked Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2007

Lots of chocolate and sweet notes on a very fruity nose that is also marked by banana and vanilla. Nose and taste seem disconnected. Taste is dry and peppery and very thin across the palate. Reminiscent at times of rough sandpaper on the texture. 13.7% alcohol.

Purchased at Whole Foods for $12