2015 Charles Smith "Kung Fu Girl" Columbia Valley Riesling

SKU #1284384 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Juicy and lively, with lots citrus blossom, lychee and a touch of lime, the 2015 Riesling Kung Fu Girl is medium-bodied, vibrant and crisp on the palate, with terrific purity, integrated acidity and a great finish. It's a steal at the price and will drink nicely for a year or more. These latest releases from Charles Smith check in at the top of the pyramid and are flat out incredible wines that I wish every reader could taste. Readers should also check out the new label, Wines of Substance, which are also included in this report. Going forward, the K Vintners label will be for the Rhone inspired blends, and all Bordeaux blends will be moved to the Wines of Substance label.(JD)  (6/2016)

90 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is an über-aromatic wine, with appealing notes of white peach, jasmine, honeysuckle and lime. It’s lean in style, drinking off dry but balanced by racy acidity that stretches out the finish.  (2/2017)

90 points Wine Spectator

 *#45 in the Top 100 Wines of 2016 and a Best Values designation* Tangy and zingy, with lively acidity that balances against gobs of ripe pear and apricot flavors, carrying through the long, lime-accented finish. (HS)  (12/2016)

Vinous

 Pale, bright yellow. Peach and apricot on the nose, plus a slight fusel complexity. Modest sweetness (actually 14 grams per liter residual sugar) is nicely countered by strong acidity (the pH here is 3.04) and a touch of minerality, giving this fruit bomb good energy and grip. Always a top value, this is marketing genius Charles Smith's most famous cash cow and it's not at all overdone. (ST)  (11/2016)

K&L Notes

Right after it was announced that Charles Smith sold off all of his inexpensive brands (Eve Chardonnay, Velvet Devil Merlot, Boom Boom Syrah, Chateau Smith Cab and the always delicious Kung Fu Girl Riesling) to the massive conglomerate Constellation in the Fall of 2016 of course he would get included in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the same year. Clocking in at #45 on the list the 2015 Kung Fu Girl Riesling is a great swan song for Charles and all the top notch affordable wines that he has made under the Charles Smith Wines moniker. However, historically, the one wine that has always stood out as being the best of this lineup, by far, is the Kung Fu Girl Riesling. Year in and year out it is the best selling Domestic Riesling by far at K&L due to it perfect blend of acid and sugar and its undeniable affordability. Obviously this year being in Wine Spectator's Top 100 list has sent this wine into a whole other stratosphere. (Bryan Brick, K&L)

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Price: $9.99
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Staff Image By: Bryan Brick | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/18/2017 | Send Email
With typical varietal aromas of subtle petrol tones layered over with mounds of fresh white peach, apricot and picked wild flowers this is about as good as Riesling gets in this price range. Never cloying and full of zesty and mouth watering acidity this is a long way away from anything like a dessert wine. Snappy and zingy with just enough residual sugar (1.4% Residual Sugar g/100mL) to put it into something like the classic Kabinett range of Germany this is more at home for the main course with thinks like Spicy Thai, Indian or even Mexican food. Dry clover honey, lemongrass, grilled peaches and honeydew melon flavors all drizzled in Meyer lemon juice, this is one guzzle-able wine whose value can’t be matched on today’s market. So if you love Riesling or you just need a tangy refreshing white around the house this is something you may want to grab in quantity.

Staff Image By: Mari Keilman | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/17/2017 | Send Email
Whether you need this Riesling to elevate your mid-week Asian take-out or be a cheap and cheerful porch pounder at your Saturday night cook-out, the Kung Fu Girl will not disappoint. First of all, it's delicious! Secondly, it's only $10!! This isn't the mineral-driven, petrol-drenched Riesling that you share with your favorite local somm that you've been dying to impress. Rather, the Kung Fu Girl is that floral, stone fruit and citrus-driven white wine with just a hint of sweetness that every no fuss no muss evening is screaming for!

Staff Image By: Diana Turk | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/17/2017 | Send Email
Lemony and bright, with some slight and very pleasing residual sugar but a dry finish, "Kung Fu Girl" is a cheerful weeknight winner – there’s enough great acid to make this well-priced Riesling a Thai takeout (or anything spicy) staple. Plus the campy label doesn’t hurt. I love Charles Smith’s easygoing wines, and this lively, layered offering might just be my favorite.

Staff Image By: Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/12/2017 | Send Email
For anyone looking for a great wine to go with asian food this should be at the top of your list. It is bright, floral and fruity with a kiss of sweetness. Well made, it is also a joy to drink alone.

Staff Image By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/11/2017 | Send Email
Charles Smith's evocative labels always draw on one unifying characteristic: what's in the bottle is always joyous and delicious. These are never meant to be serious wines but are wines that capture your daily drinking at an affordable price that reflects the varietal and region upon which they are based. The "Kung Fu Girl" has always been one of my favorites in his line-up: 1) because I love yummy Riesling and 2) it's like an homage to old Chinese kung fu movies with a hint of "Kill Bill" thrown in for good measure. These are fun things and should never be taken too seriously. Pop and enjoy its bright lemony and melon fruit with its zingy acidity and slight sweetness. Don't be serious with it, this is your Thai or Chinese take out kind of wine for any night of the week. Now doesn't that sound both joyous and delicious?!

Staff Image By: Stephanie Vidales | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
The popular Kung Fu Girl is back with it's 2015 vintage and it is just as delicious as ever. Delicious notes of peach, orange blossom and white floral with a touch of sweetness make this wine the optimal Thai, sushi or Chinese cuisine accompaniment. You won't regret keeping a few of these around as the price is super affordable and the wine is incredibly drinkable.

Staff Image By: Kirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
Dependable and reasonably priced, or I can also say cheap and good. Yellow fruit, stone fruit and a hint of citrus, an earthy element for intrigue, a kiss of sweetness to make it fun and a crisp finish. Buy a case and the only regret you will have is that you didn't buy enough.

Staff Image By: Andrew Stevens | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
There are very few domestic Riesling's that I recommend because of the value you can get in Germany, Kung Fu Girl by Charles Smith is one exception. A lovely little off -dry style this bottle showcases classic honey and floral notes. There is plenty of acid here to balance and helps bring it to a medium length finish. Excellent value Riesling that continues to be a good buy,

Staff Image By: Gary Norton | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 1/10/2017 | Send Email
Tuesday night takeout has never met a better dinner companion. Whether it be Thai, Chinese or Sushi, this wine delivers the goods. Fresh acidity, notes of green apple, citrus flesh and a gentle minerality on the finish. For ten bucks I'm not looking for a life-changer, I'm looking for something to crack open and enjoy without any fuss. There's a reason we sell this stuff by the case!

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Riesling

- While the rest of the world has often misappropriated the name--Welchriesling, Riesling Italico, Gray Riesling and Emerald Riesling are all names applied to varieties that are NOT Riesling--this exceptional German varietal has managed to maintain its identity. Perhaps its biggest claims to fame are its intoxicating perfume, often described as having honeyed stone fruit, herb, apple and citrus notes, and its incredible longevity - the wines lasting for decades. Aged Rieslings often take on a distinctive and alluring Petrol-like aroma. Within Germany, the grape seems to do best in the warming slate soils of the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. Other German regions that turn out great Rieslings include Pfalz, Rheingau and Nahe. German Rieslings are made in a range of ripeness levels. The top wines are assigned Prädikat levels to describe their ripeness at harvest. These are: Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Eiswein and Trockenbeerenauslese. Riesling has also achieved acclaim in France's Alsace, the only region in that country where the grape is officially permitted. Alsatian Rieslings are typically dry and wonderfully aromatic. Austrian Riesling is also steadily gaining praise and fine Riesling is also produced in Italy's Alto-Adige and Friuli, in Slovenia and much of Central and Eastern Europe. In the New World its stronghold is Australia, where it does best in the Eden and Clare Valleys. It is also planted in smaller amounts in New Zealand. In the US, winemakers are eschewing the syrupy sweet versions of the 1970s and 1980s, instead making elegant and balanced wines in both California and Washington State.
Country:

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

Washington

- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.
Alcohol Content (%): 12