Sunday, April 28, 2013

Terracotta and Kung Fu

Boo and I are heading off on our West Coast road trip in the morning and neither one of us felt like cooking or cleaning - especially when we still had to pack our bags. The obvious solution was to head out for a bite to eat. We decided to hit Terracotta, the new "Modern Chinese" restaurant that's opened up in Gastown.

Terracotta is on the small side and, not too surprisingly, they have a limited wine list - maybe four whites and four reds. We were hoping for a bit of spice with our crispy squid and ginger beef. So, we went full bore and hoped to pair everything with the Riesling.

1296. 2011 Charles Smith Wines - Kung Fu Girl Riesling (Columbia Valley - Washington)

The Kung Fu Girl seemed appropriate seeing as how we were hoping to hit the Washington border in less than 12 hours. Charles Smith is one of those bigger than life Washington winemakers that I see in all sorts of articles and news stories. I don't know his wines however and, having made a quick search of the blog, I think this is the first to be added to The List.

Charles Smith Wines is a second brand, started in 2006 and was "themed as 'The Modernist Project'" as it focused on immediate drinkability - since that's how most modern drinkers consume the wine they buy. Immediacy doesn't mean that craftsmanship needs to be tossed out with the grape skins though. Kung Fu Girl might be an entry level bottle but it is still a single vineyard production that isn't afraid of letting the minerality and acidity of the grape shine through. Indeed, this 2011 vintage was named a Best Value Wine by Wine Spectator for the third year in a row.

No doubt, Smith gets asked "What's the story behind the name" in every interview he gives. His stock answer is that "both Riesling and Girls kick ass."

This might be the easiest of Smith's wines to find. He produces a good number of wines (perhaps up to thirty) but he often doesn't make more than a hundred or two cases of many of those wines. Kung Fu Girl sees a bigger production though and it's become a bit of a signature wine for him.

I don't know that the Kung Fu knocked me out - considering all the wonderful Rieslings we see in our market - but it was certainly good enough that we'd finished off the bottle long before we ran out of food. That's got to be a good sign.

With the wine gone, however, it was time to head home and get down to packing. I might've preferred sticking around to order a second bottle though.

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