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26 January 2006

I'm The Magnificent

I'm the magnificent with the sensational style
And I can go on and on for like a mile, a minute
I get in it like a car and drive
And if the record is smash, I can still survive
'Cause I'm the man of steel on the wheel that you're steerin'
Or rather playin' on the record that you're hearin'
You might not understand what I'm saying at first
So Action Love, put it in reverse

--“I’m the Magnificent” (1989) by 17-year old rap phenom Special Ed

CharlessmithK Vintners’ winemaker Charles Smith (dude, at right) appears to be North America’s wine phenom du jour.  Much ink has been spilled singing the praises of his wines:

“His 2002’s tasted from barrel appear to be exceptional…K Vintners rocks with Washington Syrah.”
“Top ten Syrah in America.”
“Pinot Noir and Merlot are first-rate wines.”
“His Syrahs are focused, pure and abounding with character.”
“I recently tasted Smith’s Syrah and it sent my taste buds into orbit!”

Yawwwwn.  As with most items so hyped in the wine world, I ended up sleeping on Mr. Smith’s vino.  It must be my inner brat that resists tasting the wines of any winemaker who garners so many ‘TOP’ and ‘!!” proclamations from the wine press.  Perhaps, it’s post-consumerism exhaustion.  I’m not sure.  In any event, until recently, I had yet to sample any of Rockstar Smith’s wines - either from K Vintners or the Magnificent Wine Co (the requisite second label).  Then a couple months ago, I noticed an open bottle of ‘House Wine’ by the M.W.C. sitting on the counter of someone who used to post here every once in a while.  I respect her taste in wine, and thus filed House Wine under ‘to-try’ in my brain.

The wines of K Vintners and the Magnificent Wine Co. are now available in my neck of the woods.  With some trepidation I took M.W.C’s House Wine home as a companion for Pizza + Movie night.  Three words sum up my experience with this wine: “Truth in Packaging.”

The Skinny
HousewineThe Magnificent Wine Company ‘House Wine’ 2004 ($~10)

  • 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% Syrah from Washington’s Columbia Valley

My in-house bold-n-fruity wine lover remarked upon tasting this wine, “It’s a little too fruity.  There isn’t much going on.”  At that, I recoiled just a bit.  I thought, “If she thinks this wine is too fruity then perhaps I just purchased grape Hi-C.”  Then I noticed her glass was empty, and I heard the subtle *clink* of my as yet untouched glass being absconded from its place of aeration (don't go absconding my wine from its place of aeration).  After wrasslin the glass away from my wife, the wine thief, I tried House Wine for myself.

Yup.  It’s incredibly simple and easy to drink.  But it isn’t off putting in the least.  It’s not too fruity, too oaky, too tannic nor too full-bodied.  As I said, “Truth in Packaging.”  House Wine is indeed (good) house wine.  Give it a try.

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Nena and I drank a bottle of this a couple weeks ago (no notes taken). It was, as you said, very drinkable and while not complex or really all that interesting...I'd drink it again and would definitely serve it any time.

I think I paid $12 for it though...


LT - the price seems to vary from 8-15 bucks. Personally I think it's worth $8-10. In that price range it's a good value.


The House Wine is better than all of the K Vintners wines. His $50 Syrahs and blends all taste the same; they have no varietal characteristics. Typical of these cult Washinton wineries: maximum extraction, tons of new oak, and late-picked grapes for maximum booziness.

Charles is a marketing genius; he has cultivated his rock star image and Sideshow Bob hair to great success. I applaud him for this! No sour grapes. But the House Wine is a real crowd-pleaser and there's nothing wrong with that.

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