Etcetera - 01/26/12

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Impressions expressed in other places about our wine industry just keep on keeping on.

Take the Edmonton (Alberta, Canada) Wine Guy, Gurvinder Bhatia, a freelancer whose piece, "In it for more than just the kicks," appeared at edmontonjournal.com.

His Jan. 18 column is devoted to Walla Walla's Charles Smith and mentions his Kung Fu Girl Riesling 2010 Columbia Valley.

"When I first met Charles Smith, I had not tasted any of his wines, and I had every intention of disliking him and his wines due to the seemingly gimmicky names and flamboyant marketing approach."

But keeping an open mind and letting the wines do the talking turned out to be a good move for Gurvinder. It brought him to Walla Walla, where he joined Smith's crew on the crush pad and spent a few of days getting to know Charles.

"Smith is not only a good winemaker, he is a brilliant marketer. His wines express the character of their vineyard sites and microclimates, and his approach to marketing has allowed him to capture and engage both experienced and novice wine drinkers," Gurvinder wrote.

He discovered that Charles' passions encompass food, history, music and wine. "He has restored several historic buildings in the Walla Walla area, including an Italian restaurant that he plans to reopen with his wife (who is Italian)."

On the music scene, Charles hosts blues bands on Thursdays at his tasting room, with a barbecued food truck parked in front for those gigs. "He opened a great bar in nearby Waitsburg (population 1,200) that makes no money (yet) but indulges his desire for a cool place to hang out."

Oh, about that Kung Fu Girl? Gurvinder defines it as "fresh, crisp (with) pure aromas and flavours of ripe lime, apple, peach and apricot with bright intensity, great minerality and fantastic, zippy acidity to balance the ripe juicy fruit and hint of residual sweetness."

He said it pairs well with spicy and Asian cuisines and shellfish and holds up well on its own.

Works by Walla Walla artists Joyce Anderson, Elizabeth Harris and Dianna Woolley have been included in this year's Washington State University Spring 2012 Chancellor's Exhibition, WSU Tri-Cities. The exhibit provides regional artists a unique place to show their artwork, Elizabeth said in a release.

Art will be displayed Feb. 2-May 27 in the East Building of the WSU Tri-Cities campus. From Interstate 182, take Exit 5-B onto George Washington Way in Richland. Travel north about 5 miles. Turn right on Sprout Road, just past Hanford High School. Turn left on Crimson Way (formerly University Drive) to enter the campus.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or 526-8313.

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