Clark Smith's Kickstarter Campaign and Futures Offer

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Clark Smith
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Clark Smith's Kickstarter Campaign and Futures Offer

#1 Post by Clark Smith » July 23rd, 2015, 12:31 pm

Thanks, Todd for the courtesy to Berserker Business members to post offers here. I respect the non-commercial nature of these Boards and hope the membership will grant me special circumstances status in the following appeal.

My Kickstarter Campaign is trying to raise $10,000. We are at $3860 from 33 backers with 5 days to go. If I miss the $10,000 goal, I get nothing.

I’ve learned that Kickstarter isn’t the ideal place to do this. I would have loved to put a futures deal in place, but alcohol sales and discounts are both forbidden on their platform.

I've got a work-around, due to a generous benefactor who says that if I fall short of my $10,000 goal, he will lend me the difference and buy out the campaign. But I still need the cash. Futures is the traditional way to raise cash for bottling.

I am offering a futures discount of 36% on cases, including mixed cases, of the wines we are bottling. These wines will ship on December 1st at no cost to the purchaser. Go to WineSmith Futures Offerand choose the wines you want. Use the coupon code FUTURES2015 and choose the shipping option “Futures Pre-Order Deal (Free Shipping)”.

These are some of the most unique I have ever produced - a Reserve Syrah ten years in twenty-year-old barrique, a Russian River Pinot Noir eight years in neutral wood, and some new and novel varieties. Also, I am finally bottling my 2007 Lake County Cab Franc, which I skipped over to allow further development.

’05 Syrah Reserve (Suisun Vly) - $50
100% varietal. 23 cases produced.

Suisun was once considered part of the Napa Valley, located south of Pope Valley, Chiles Valley and Wooden Valley, and superior to them all in that it is adjacent to San Pablo Bay, just over the Vaca Range from Jameson Canyon. Picture a fog-free Carneros: cool but sunlit. There Gary Mangels’ family has been growing grapes for over 100 years. Its sin is that it's in the wrong County and wasn't grandfathered into the largely fictitious Napa Valley AVA when it was formed in the '80s by vested interests. The good news is that Suisun has some of the best bargains in the grape world.

When I made this wine in 2005, I bottled and sold most of it in 2008 and sold it throughout the following year. But knew this wine had the cajones to really go the distance, so I kept back a single neutral barrel just to see what it would do. It just kept getting better and better. Now I’m finally bottling and releasing it. Those of you who, like me, get kind of bored with Syrah will see what happens when it develops a suite of tertiary aromas over time to rival any Hermitage: Plums, cocoa, leather, marzipan, truffle, dried flowers…
I know this seems a steep price for a little known area, even given that I held it ten years. If need be, I’m very happy to drink this one all myself. You can really get lost in this wine, and I challenge you to find a more complex and soulful offering for this price.

’07 Cab Franc Lake Cty - $40
100% varietal. 120 cases produced.

Much has been written about my Cabernet Francs, a specialty of mine. This is the first vintage I made off Diamond Ridge Vineyards in Lake County, same as the 2008 I offered last year on BerserkerDay. After twenty years making CF off many vineyards all over the State, this is the first which required no blending. Usually I have to marry a feminine wine with plums and generosity with a masculine framing constituent with firm tannins and staying power.

But in this vineyard, the full UV at altitude stimulates great color, tannin and white cherry aromatics while dispelling any vegetal tendencies (though there is a hint of varietal sage and rosemary), the cooling lake effect retains those fruit and perfume aromatics, and the interaction of CF’s vigorous rooting habit with the decom0osed granite soil imparts quite lively minerality.
The downside is the tannins and minerality combine to produce an incredibly flat aging trajectory. I was forced to skip over this vintage and bottle the 2008 first.

’07 Pinot Noir Russian River - $50
100% varietal. 300 cases produced.

I know – what was I thinking? Everybody knows you can’t barrel age Pinot Noir for eight years. Like its predecessor, the 2005 Second Fiddle, this is done in a very delicate Côte de Beaune style, full of ethereal rose petals and the signature black cherry aromas of the Russian River. But I only gave the 2005 three years in old wood, and it is still reluctantly unfolding.
Here I discovered that given enough time, this sort of Pinot can blossom into a fully developed wine with elements of Romano, truffle and Asian spice. Beyond that, I find this wine’s dreamlike character and the romantic mental state it invokes impossible to describe.

In Pinot Noir more than any other variety, you get what you pay for. It has to be planted in a perfect location, and such grapes are plenty expensive.
Pair this with duck breast or grilled squab, or simply enjoy it with some nice ripe Délice de Bourgogne on sliced baguettes. Some Liz Story Jazz piano would not be amiss.

’13 St. Laurent Carneros - $25
100% varietal. 67 cases produced.

St. Laurent comes from an experimental planting at Dale Ricci’s vineyard in Sonoma Carneros. This variety is popular in Austria, with 800 hectares plated, and is also the primary red wine produced in the Czech Republic. It’s a medium-bodied plummy wine with mouth-filling but very soft tannins like Gamay Noir, but fleshier and denser, with a slight herbal edge that reminds me of Carmenère. I ferment with some whole berries to relieve is slightly somber Eastern European nature.
I find this wine a tremendously versatile and satisfying food wine, great for roast chicken, charcuterie, cheese boards and other lighter fare. It’s an adventure, but also a real “comfort wine.”

’14 Grenache Santa Cruz Mountains - $25
92% Grenache, 8% St. Laurent – 207 cases produced

I am very intrigued by Randall Grahm’s POPELOUCHUM VINEYARD project, which you should also support.

I had to try my own Grenache, and was connected by my Ace viticulturalist buddy Prudy Foxx with the Janaca Vineyards / Bates Ranch [http://www.batesranch.com/] in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a well-known producer of Cabernet Sauvignon in a little warm pocket in the Corralitos area noted for its distinctive terroir and utilized by several of the best SCM producers.
Good red Grenache is not easily produced. We bled off about 25% to increase the density and to make a lovely Blanc de Noir sparkler to be released down the road. I also loved the way that a little of that fat, round St. Laurent softened its steely mineral edges without detracting from its palate energy and dramatic, satisfying pomegranate aromas, so I hope you’ll forgive me for a little judicious blending.

Like any good Grenache, this is a refreshing picnic wine with bright fruit and palate cleansing acidity, ample but soft tannins and lively palate energy characteristic of the region and the grape. An extremely affable wine and a real bargain.

Here is what Michael Carpenter of The Redd Collection, http://www.ReddCollection.com a highly respected purveyor of rare collectibles, had to say about these remarkable offerings:
If you like the idea of tasting truly pure wines, these are for you. If you're looking for a summer-blockbuster-movie style of wine, this might not be the place.

A few comments:

’05 Syrah Reserve (Suisun Valley) - $50
Beautiful, clean flavors with proper acidity, along with the roasted meat and smoke we all enjoy in a good Syrah.

’07 Cab Franc Lake Cty -$40
Love this wine, CF is one of the most interesting and delicious when done well and this is the ticket. If you've never had a good one before, this is just a tweak (different) than most and it makes an exceptional value.

’07 Pinot Noir Russian River - $50
A beautiful version. Laser beam precision. With so many overblown Pinot's being brought to market, this is what we've been looking for. Screams to be paired with wild Salmon IMO.

’14 Grenache Santa Cruz Mountains - $25
Lovely. Not enough Grenache being made in the North Bay and this is reminiscent of a great value CdP. A must buy for Grenache lovers, as well as Pinot fans who may have never tried this varietal.

’13 St. Laurent Carneros - $25
If you are always on the hunt for tasty St Laurent...well then you're unique. Only Clark says he sees it everywhere. A tasty and interesting wine that will deliver a new experience to most drinkers. Worth the effort to secure some, plus a great wine to share & broaden people's minds. An enjoyable, rare find in my book.

FWIW, I also happened to love his bottling of 2005 Second Fiddle Pinot. It really is a stunning wine as the maturity has added so much complexity to it. Will be fun to throw into a blind Burg tasting.
I need to bottle these wines August 10th. I will throw in free shipping until then. Here's hoping I can pay off my friend by your patronage to futures of these fascinating wines.
Last edited by Clark Smith on August 3rd, 2015, 11:46 am, edited 3 times in total.
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David C
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Clark Smith's Kickstarter Campaign and Futures Offer

#2 Post by David C » July 23rd, 2015, 7:16 pm

Thanks Clark, I just bought a mixed case. Appreciate the discount, free shipping and heat hold! [thankyou.gif]

(PM for you)
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#3 Post by rjquillin » July 23rd, 2015, 9:10 pm

Two cases here, plus the kickstarter pledge.

All the best Clark.
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Clark Smith
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#4 Post by Clark Smith » July 24th, 2015, 7:34 am

You guys are great! Between you two and Chris Pearmund, a great Virginia winemaker, I'm $1600 into the $5K I need! Four days to go. Keep it up, guys.

By the way, Chris's 2012 Ameritage got Best of Class at the Long Beach Grand Cru last weekend. Well worth your attention.
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#5 Post by Todd F r e n c h » July 24th, 2015, 8:37 am

Good job, Clark, listening to what the people want - they wanted futures, you changed the offer to futures. Hopefully it will pan out, but this is a good start, apparently.
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#6 Post by Corey N. » July 24th, 2015, 8:48 am

If anyone in Chicago is interested, please PM me.
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#7 Post by joe d. » July 24th, 2015, 9:27 am

I have no space and no money, but i like that Clark tries to be different. Glad to help, order in for a case.
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#8 Post by Chris Seiber » July 24th, 2015, 10:42 am

I'm quite intrigued, but I've honestly never heard of Clark or his wines before now. Does anyone have any tasting notes, testimonials, or description of the style of the wines that might help me and others like me?

Thanks. I see some notes from other wines of his on CT, but it would be more useful to hear from some of you WBers.

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#9 Post by joe d. » July 24th, 2015, 11:42 am

Made some CT entries, hope i did them right.
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#10 Post by Clark Smith » July 24th, 2015, 1:35 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:I'm quite intrigued, but I've honestly never heard of Clark or his wines before now. Does anyone have any tasting notes, testimonials, or description of the style of the wines that might help me and others like me?

Thanks. I see some notes from other wines of his on CT, but it would be more useful to hear from some of you WBers.
When I was a Special Guest, there were 27 threads created on various topics. These contain a lot of comments on my wines and my winemaking. Last year's BerserkerDay contained a good list of comments on the Postmodern offerings I posted then.

Unfortunately, for a third party commentary, Michael Carpenter's tasting from barrel is all I can offer. Perhaps some of the crowd who have learned they can trust in my consistency will chime in here.
Last edited by Clark Smith on July 25th, 2015, 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#11 Post by Jim Schultze » July 24th, 2015, 2:20 pm

Clark's wines are pretty unique and I've never had one that I didn't enjoy! I'm putting in my futures order--at the price points and free shipping, hard to go wrong.

Thanks Clark--best of luck with this!
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Clark Smith
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#12 Post by Clark Smith » July 25th, 2015, 5:06 pm

Clark Smith wrote:
Chris Seiber wrote:I'm quite intrigued, but I've honestly never heard of Clark or his wines before now. Does anyone have any tasting notes, testimonials, or description of the style of the wines that might help me and others like me?

Thanks. I see some notes from other wines of his on CT, but it would be more useful to hear from some of you WBers.
When I was a Special Guest, there were 27 threads created on various topics. These contain a lot of comments on my wines and my winemaking. Last year's BerserkerDay contained a good list of comments on the Postmodern offerings I posted then.

Unfortunately, for a third party commentaryon these particular wines, Michael Carpenter's tasting from barrel is all I can offer. Perhaps some of the crowd who have learned they can trust in my consistency will chime in here.
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#13 Post by Andrew Morris » July 25th, 2015, 5:13 pm

Hey Clark!

Nice to see you here.

That Pinot that has been sitting around all these years in oak has my piqued interest. What can you tell us about the grapes on the way in, (pH, brix, TA, etc.) tannic structure and winemaking techniques that lead you to a wine that can handle this much time in BBL.

From your POV, where is it in terms of fruit fading? Is there any left? Bring a bottle or sample of that next time you come north, OK?
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#14 Post by David C » July 25th, 2015, 11:02 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:I'm quite intrigued, but I've honestly never heard of Clark or his wines before now. Does anyone have any tasting notes, testimonials, or description of the style of the wines that might help me and others like me?

Thanks. I see some notes from other wines of his on CT, but it would be more useful to hear from some of you WBers.
Hi Chris,
The first thing that usually comes to my mind when describing Clark's wines is that they are built to age. Not that they aren't approachable in their youth but red/white/pink/doesn't matter, Clark's wines just seem to get better and better with time. That 2005 Syrah he is about to bottle will probably need a good three hour decant for it to fully open up over the next few years!

We had his 2004 "Faux Chablis" Chardonnay with Meyer lemon chicken at a family dinner this evening and it was a wonderful pairing. This vintage is just coming into its own believe it or not. When I first tried it a couple years ago it was still tightly wound although the 2003 was (and still is) drinking beautifully. The 2004 we had tonight was a deep golden color, indicative of its age in appearance but it was crisp and fresh tasting on the palate. More minerality than the 2003 I think, the "Faux Chablis" tag is very apropos for this wine. Some waxy lemon with stone fruits, the aforementioned minerality and just the right amount of acidity to tie it all together on the finish.

But enough about that wine.... Clark makes some killer Cabs, Pinots, Barberas and Cab Francs! I would say generally in-between old world/new world in style. What really makes Clark's wines unique is that he has often used somewhat controversial methods during production including some methods that may even seem counter-intuitive on the surface such as micro-oxygenation and de-alcing. Clark advocates for winemakers to use all the tools in their toolbox to make really great wines instead of just settling for traditional methods that consistently produce "good" results. I don't know which methods he has used on which wines specifically but the other thing I always say about Clark's wines is that the results speak for themselves. It may be more of a gamble to make wine Clark's way but he seems to have a magic formula because everything I have tasted of his has been damn good. Maybe he keeps the mutant wines locked away in a closet somewhere. [shock.gif]

If you're interested in knowing more about Clark's methodology, check out his book Postmodern Winemaking. Like his wines, it has received high praise including a "Book Of The Year" ranking for 2013 by Wine & Spirits magazine.

Full disclosure, I met Clark in person two years ago when he visited Ohio and had the pleasure of hanging out with him for a couple days but otherwise have no affiliation other than being a huge fan of his wines (and the man himself).
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#15 Post by Clark Smith » July 26th, 2015, 10:28 pm

Andrew Morris wrote: That Pinot that has been sitting around all these years in oak has my piqued interest. What can you tell us about the grapes on the way in, (pH, brix, TA, etc.) tannic structure and winemaking techniques that lead you to a wine that can handle this much time in BBL.

From your POV, where is it in terms of fruit fading? Is there any left? Bring a bottle or sample of that next time you come north, OK?
In 2005, I made a delicate, Cotes de Beaune-style Pinot Noir from Kathy Joseph’s Fiddlestix Vineyard, and nicknamed it “Second Fiddle.” Light as it was, I thought three years in old wood would be sufficient. I was wrong. Those of you who have tried this wine know that it is only now beginning to emerge into its majority, and is still in no way fully expressed.

So when I made the 2007 Russian River Valley Pinot in the same style, I thought, let’s give it one more year to open up. When four years rolled around, it still wasn’t drinking well, so we continued to wait. Five years, six, seven. Now finally at eight years in barrel, it’s finally showing itself. Far from fading, the fruit is finally emerging. When Michael Carpenter of the Redd Collection and Austin, TX ace sommelier Rae Wilson tasted it against the Second Fiddle, both found it superior and in terrific shape.

I cannot explain why Pinot ages this way. It cannot be attributed to any of the measures you mention. The pH is a norm 3.78. TA is 5.9 g/L, nothing to get excited about, and anyway, TA has nothing to do with aging. Total phenols are very low – 350 GAE. , and the anthocyanins are low. The alcohol is a little high – 14.5%, which should harm aging, but it hasn’t. Bottom line: There is something weird in Pinot that makes it age unexpectedly. I have no idea what it is, but it seems to show up in wines from grapes from special sites which are not overripe.

If this wine were an actual Burgundy, none of this would be remarkable. Talk about terroir all you want, but I’m telling you, and my Faux Chablis is a case in point, that the poor longevity of California wines is primarily an artifact of human decisions about the economics of early release. I make wines to last. This is just another example in a line of 23 vintages of WineSmith wines.

The futures deal expires August 10th, the day we bottle. Let’s get together before that so you can taste all five wines and testify.
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#16 Post by Adam G » July 26th, 2015, 11:58 pm

Opened a 2008 Lake County Cab Franc tonight - delicious. It's one of those savoury wines that you just want to keep drinking. There were four of us, so it didn't last long enough to really get some air. But I want to get a couple more of them so I can follow this one for another 5-10 years (I still have two bottles).

So Clark...how come your website wants to charge tax on the pre-discount price? Seems rather unusual...
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#17 Post by Clark Smith » July 27th, 2015, 4:00 pm

Adam G wrote: So Clark...how come your website wants to charge tax on the pre-discount price? Seems rather unusual...
Yes, we have only just noticed this glitch in the FUTURES2015 discount structure. We will need to refund this bogus charge to everyone. I hope this doesn't dissuade folks from purchases while we fix it.
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#18 Post by Adam G » July 27th, 2015, 10:39 pm

Clark Smith wrote:
Adam G wrote: So Clark...how come your website wants to charge tax on the pre-discount price? Seems rather unusual...
Yes, we have only just noticed this glitch in the FUTURES2015 discount structure. We will need to refund this bogus charge to everyone. I hope this doesn't dissuade folks from purchases while we fix it.
Good enough for me!
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#19 Post by Clark Smith » August 1st, 2015, 4:10 pm

Many thanks to everyone who helped me out with the Kickstarter Campaign, which squeaked over the top with $10,250.

The futures offer will continue until August 10th, the day we bottle. Five of my most interesting wines ever. Mix a case as you like for free delivery December 1st, with 36% off. Use the Promocode FUTURES2015 at WineSmith Futures Offer. Thanks! [cheers.gif]
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#20 Post by Clark Smith » August 4th, 2015, 11:44 pm

Okay, we've exited from our old webstore which was doing those peculiar calculations. We've refunded everybody the extra sales tax. Thanks everybody for your patience.

It is really moving to me that we were able to complete the Kickstarter campaign based solely on 20 wineberserkers who have faith in my crazy offerings.

The futures offer will continue until August 10th, the day we bottle. Five of my most interesting wines ever. Mix a case as you like for free delivery December 1st, with 36% off. Use the Promocode FUTURES2015 at WineSmith Futures Offer. Thanks! [cheers.gif]
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#21 Post by Andrew Morris » August 10th, 2015, 10:51 am

If you were thinking about getting in on this, I think today is the day.

I am looking forward to tasting some of these.

Research?
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#22 Post by Clark Smith » August 10th, 2015, 4:30 pm

Andrew Morris wrote:If you were thinking about getting in on this, I think today is the day.

I am looking forward to tasting some of these.
The bottling is now complete, despite some improbable and apparently insurmountable difficulties. Like Friday at 4:55PM, we had no glass yet delivered, for example. But then they showed up at 5:00 on the nose, so it's all good. We had a lot of fun bottling and I'll post some videos of our adventures.

I want to thank all of you who bought futures and made this possible. We got 26 responses for a total of $7800.

The offer has been taken down, but if you PM me today with what you want, we'll work something out.

Thanks again,

Clark
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