Slurps Across America with Swirl Smell Slurp

The good folks at Swirl Smell Slurp wine blog have a great challenge going. They’ll be collaboratively tasting through wine from all 50 states over the next 50 weeks. The challenge is creatively titled, “United Slurps of America.” The inaugural post featured tastings with 1WineDude from Pennsylvania. I was honored to be selected as the representative taster from Washington. With the crappy shipping laws in this country, locating the same wine in two different states can prove to be a challenge. Fortunately ‘him and her’ were able to find five wines at their local wine store that I was familiar with and hadn’t already done reviews on. We settled on a Riesling from Seven Hills and a Merlot (of course) from Charles Smith.

If you’re not familiar with – check them out. They’re fun, edgy, witty, and they have a great line up of thematic posts from Sunday Salon to Weekly Hangover. They’re definitely a candidate for Wine Blog Awards “Best New Wine Blog” (but I hope to offer a little competition). 

2008 Seven Hills Riesling

  • The Stuff: 100% Riesling from two Yakima Valley vineyards; screw cap
  • The Swirl: Bright pale honey color with a thick viscosity.
  • The Sniff: A decent bouquet of citrus, lime, plumeria, and tropical sweetness
  • The Sip: I’m not a sweet wine fan – I enjoy my whites crisp, with fruit, but on the dry side. This was a moderate sweet Riesling (6 out of 10) but not syrupy. A decent amount of acidity helped to balance out the sweetness. The finish was quite lengthy.
  • The Score: At $14, this is not my favorite wine (mostly preference). I score it a solid 3 (out of 5) for being fairly one dimensional.

I was super excited to try this next offering from Charles Smith Wines. From their web site:

Owner-winemaker Charles Smith with his big hair, kick ass attitude and bold packaging arrived in the Walla Walla Valley following eleven years in Scandinavia managing rock bands. Originally hailing from northern California, he has been involved with wine personally and professionally his entire life. “It’s just booze – drink it!”

I purchased the Velvet Devil Merlot for an upcoming “affordable Merlot” tasting to promote #WAMerlot on March 25. When SwirlSmellSlurp had the devil on their list, I succumbed to the temptation.

2008 Charles Smith Velvet Devil Merlot

  • The Stuff: 100% Washington Merlot, 10 months in oak, 13.8% ABV
  • The Swirl: Mildly translucent with ruby red undertones. A pretty wine
  • The Sniff: Smooth dark chocolate with cherry and oak. I would imagine this would be the aroma an Umpa Lumpa would smell in the chocolate river (if cherries were involved too).
  • The Sip: The sip is slightly thin on the front that opens up to a nice moderate fruit – still cherries. Definitely a chocolate covered cherry Merlot.
  • The Score: At only $12 (sometimes under $10) – At this price, a solid 3 (out of 5). A trustworthy wine for the money. Good sipper, but the thin front and single dimension leave the score lower.

Special thanks to for inviting me to participate. Make sure you follow along with their journey. I’m excited to see where it takes them.


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

4 comments on “Slurps Across America with Swirl Smell Slurp

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  2. Shannon Casey

    Great job on these reviews. The Charles Smith has a terrible label, but i know the uphill battle we face when recommending that wineries hire a professional to design their labels.

    I love the Swirl Smell Slurp challenge to taste from all 50 states. We are working with them for the Michigan wines. Stay tuned…

    1. drinknectar

      That will be fun! I can’t wait to see what wine you taste with them!

  3. Pingback: Wines of Note: wowsa Washington | Swirl Smell Slurp: A Wine Blog

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