Smith makes lots of wines. Before he sold off some, I was a big fan of his Cougar Hills Syrah and his very value priced Boom Boom Syrah. The former was an age worthy monster, that when I finally got around to open a 2001 Cougar Hills Syrah, it was like drinking a 20 year old Cote Rotie. His 2002 Boom Boom's lasted well until this year too, a reward to a deep cellar and patience.
The wine my friend brought up from San Diego, was the 2013 Motor City Kitty. It follows the usual big, bold, brash and bodacious style of wine that Smith is known for. To me the wine is cigar box, tar, leather, black fruit and black pepper. It's a wine that needs time, and I suspect in about ten years will be more like a Cornas ala Clape or Voge. The wine has the kind of bones that scream for time in the bottle.
The second Washington red we enjoyed was at the other end of the spectrum but in many ways, ever bit as good. I pulled a 2014 Rotie Cellars VDP. This is their entry level red, made from 34% Grenache, 33% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre. If the MCK is Northern Rhone, then the VDP is clearly Southern. It is so much like the Cotes du Rhones I grew up tasting from Guigal when young. This is a fruit forward, rich and drinkable wine that just keeps you going and going. It has all the right components of bright fruit, soft gentle tannins and ranks very high on the drinkability scale. This is not one of those red wines you sit and take apart. It's a wine for enjoying with food, friends and frankly, it's got the ability to age 5-7 years, as the structure is there, but why wait so long. Like the Guigal CdR's of old, this is a perfect all around wine that goes with everything from spicy Asian fare to burgers and pizza.
Washington State is making lots of great wine, and these two are proof positive that when it comes to Rhone clones, that the Pacific Northwest is a killer region for those.