Substance Cabernet Sauvignon is a Charles Smith creation produced and bottled by something called “Wines of Substance” in Washington’s Columbia Valley. I have reviewed some of his other [value] wines such as Kung Fu Girl and Boom Boom Syrah. I’ve been a fan of those so it stands to reason for about five bucks more, I’d be enchanted with this Savvy Wine “wallet-buster”.
You guessed it, this wine tips the scales around $16.99 so, by definition, I must label it a Savvy Lush “Snob” wine of the month. That said, between HBO Now, several ill-advised Amazon.com purchases, and ACL surgery for my dog, I’m pretty broke- yet I’ve splurged on this baby six times. (That’s half a case for you scoring at home.)
Plain and simple, this is divinely flavorsome Washington State wine. Substance Cabernet Sauvignon by Charles Smith is darkly opaque yet silky smooth. Like luscious berry, lightly oaky and toasty tobacco, it’s rich; not like old money rich, more like new money rich. It’s so yummy it just begs to be drunk unaccompanied. Don’t cloud it with succulent grilled meat stuffs before drinking it naked. Set aside 15 – 20 minutes, pour yourself a generous glass and enjoy it.
Some things are worth your time and money. Thank me later for my diligent research, as this is easily worth the investment.
Where buy now: Solo Vino Wines, Elevated Wines and Spirits, Surdyk’s, Byerly’s
Region: Columbia Valley, Washington
You may have noticed, I’d taken a 4-month hiatus from blogging. This was an odd Summer. Not only did I endure two family members’ deaths in the same week whilst my day job got crazy busy due to staff turnover, but also, I lost much confidence thanks to overriding and paralyzing perfectionism.
You know what? I’m glad it happened. Did it stop me from drinking wine? Oh, hell no. My husband can attest to the oodles of bottles strewn about the kitchen and dining room awaiting review.
Where did my mojo go and, more importantly, how would I get it back?
You know that old adage, “be careful what you wish for”? I [or, perhaps more accurately, The Savvy Lush] was receiving tons of invites to primo events, tastings and other general ballyhoo. I loved it. I was in full on sponge mode, learning as much as possible while meeting as many people as possible. Hell, I even made it as a finalist for the International Wine Blog Awards’ “Best New Wine Blog” award! I was on Cloud Nine.
Then, suddenly, I was disqualified.
On a technicality. Turns out, all finalists in the “Best New Wine Blog” category had to be new as of 2012. While I didn’t officially launch the blog until late January of 2012, I did upload a test article in December of 2011. Bam! Done. Name removed. Parade rained out. Twitter stopped blowing up; my Facebook fan count was leveling off. This led to a post-euphoric low air of desperation. I became obsessed with social media: was I gaining enough followers? Who is tweeting me? Who’s NOT tweeting me? I had 652 Facebook fans one day, the next I had… 651? Who dare unlike me?
I had only been at it for a year and change, but I felt entitled to more. The stress of success started to short-wire my brain. I lost sight of my vision and had to back away for a little while. I went into self-imposed exile, embarrassed that I hadn’t written anything in such a long time. Was The Savvy Lush dead? Done for? Finito? Kaputt?
Was I just going to give up when things got tough? I slowly realized that it was my own insecurities, pressure, stress and perfectionism that hindered any momentum. I crept back into the social media realm posting and having fun again. I began saying “no”. It killed me at first but turning down a couple gigs and events to save/regain sanity was a necessity. At last, the creativity has begun to flow back into my veins.
And this wine helped: The Boom Boom Syrah from Charles Smith. What better wine to help catapult you back than a wine called “Boom Boom”?
I’m a fan of Mr. Smith’s wines. I’ve raved about Kung Fu Girl http://bit.ly/13zf5fb/Kung Fu Girl. Boom Boom is a go-to red at my house. In the course of my hiatus, I cannot tell you how many bottles I bought.
This is some good ole Washington State dark, plummy, jammy red Syrah and I love it. It’s an explosion of blackberry and raspberry flavors, countered by mild tannins and low acidity. It’s a little bit country and a little bit rock ‘n’ roll. I wouldn’t consider this an overly complex wine. It’s fruit forward. It’s simple, it’s delicious and it has “everyday wine” written all over it. When I can find it for under $15, I will always buy a bottle (or two or eight). Drink it alone, or hell, have it with a burger and fries, maybe some ribs. It’s a real crowd pleaser.
So, if you’re experiencing overload and need to power down, do your body good. When you’re ready to kick-start again, pick up some Boom Boom Syrah.
Where buy now: Elevated Wines & Spirits ($10 at Surdyk’s Spring Wine Sale)
Region: Washington State
I can’t believe I’m writing about an American Riesling. Not because I’m a hater-I look at every wine I dislike as a missed romance- my palate is just not about syrupy, sweet wines. American Rieslings have a reputation of being sweet and thick. While “sweet” and “thick” can be very desirable adjectives for certain things in life, wine is not one of them.
I checked out the new(ish) Elevated Wines & Spirits in South Mpls off Hiawatha Ave. I was welcomed by warm employees as I walked into this great space full of craft beer and wine. The New France [local distributor] rep, Erin, was pouring delicious wines. I told her I was going to make some spicy Mandarin chicken and she asked if I’d tried Kung Fu Girl Riesling. At first I balked at it, seeing it hails from Washington State. Erin told me that she’s not a Riesling drinker by nature but loved this one. So, I took her advice and off I went.
Kung Fu Girl is bursting with zingy apricot, tart apple and peachy floral aromas and tastes. It’s smooth and silky with a layer of lime balanced by minerality. It’s truly an off-dry Riesling and I haven’t had an American one that mimics a German Riesling.
‘Tis the season for corned beef and cabbage, so, on a hunch, I bought another bottle. Constructing the perfect Reuben is quite important to me. The corned beef must be shredded, topped with Frank’s sauerkraut, thick swiss cheese & a healthy dollop of Thousand Island dressing. Oh, and it had better end up between marble rye. I must tell you the Kung Fu Girl Riesling was a pleasant surprise. The zing and tart, balanced by sweetness and minerality, cut through the thick beef/kraut/dressing veil- complimenting it rather than competing with it. This was wine/sandwich perfection. Get your corned beef on for St. Paddy’s Day and I defy you to go against the norm and pair it with this Riesling.
Corned beef aside, this will be my go-to wine for spicy food. it paired swimmingly well with Mandarin Chicken (kissed with Sriracha). I can also see this pairing well with a burrito al pastor, possibly Pad Thai. It’s also going to be a superb Summer sipper. Erin, you vino matchmaking genius, I can’t thank you enough for persuading me to take this girl home.
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