A Spirited Evening with Charles Smith & Armitage Shanks

What do you get when you mix an internationally acclaimed vaudevillian burlesque cabaret master, with an edgy, rock ‘n’ roll, Harley-biker winemaker, for an evening at swanky and nostalgic El Gaucho?  A spirited evening full of the unexpected – just what you anticipate with none other than Seattle’s ring master Armitage Shanks and the renowned, colorful winemaker Charles Smith.

Our Winemaker Dinners are always legendary, but this one will be in a class all its own.  Not only will guests dine on our classic steak dinner, paired with wines from K Vintners and Charles Smith, they will experience burlesque entertainment from charismatic and unique Armitage Shanks.

Armitage is one of the most sought-after performers on the international burlesque, cabaret, and vaudeville scenes, with performances throughout North America and Europe.  He has a starring role as Johnny Valentine in the upcoming film “Burlesque Assassins.”  The Stranger recently said, “Armitage Shanks is a sinister and louche presence, who puts some sex in the air.”

Who better to pair an artist on stage with a true artisan in the world of wine?  Charles Smith’s career managing rock bands in Copenhagen led him to enjoy good wines, and he became interested in the art of winemaking. In 2000, he made the unusual career shift and moved to Walla Walla, where he knew only one person.  A self-taught winemaker, he started making miniscule batches of Syrah, and in December 2001, he released a 1999 K Syrah.  In 2004, he launched the very recognizable House Wine label, which he sold to Precept Brands in 2006.  That same year, he started a second brand, Charles Smith Wines, which focuses more on wines that are to be enjoyed now, versus cellaring.  Since then, Charles has helped launch three other projects: Secco Italian Bubbles (in partnership with his Italian-born wife Ginevra and her sister Casa), Charles and Charles (with a focus on red blends and rosés), and ViNO (an Italian-inspired wine which just enjoyed its inaugural release of a 100% Pinot Grigio).

Edgy, black and white wine labels have become synonymous with K Vintners & Charles Smith Wines. Easily distinguishable from a distance, in a sea of other wines, the “K label” has been a packaging coup from the first day it was released, and all of Smith’s labels have stayed true to the black and white theme.

Designated Food & Wine Magazine’s 2009 Winemaker of the Year, Charles Smith loves to entertain.  Sharing great wines and a killer steak with friends is like pure poetry to him, and one of his favorite dinner party formats.  When the opportunity presented itself to share his wines with new friends at the celebrated El Gaucho Seattle, he couldn’t pass it up.

Guests to the >Ultimate Steak Dinner will enjoy five wines (possibly more, depending on what Charles has up his sleeve) from three of his labels, paired with a five-course dinner that El Gaucho head chef Matt Brandsey will prepare. Beginning with the Secco Italian Bubbles Bianco 2011, guests will also taste K Vintners Viognier 2011, and then move onto the popular Charles Smith Wines King Coal 2009, Stoneridge Vineyard (94 pts. Wine Spectator), which was just released in September.  The last two courses of the evening will feature K Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Stoneridge Vineyard, and K Vintners Milbrandt 2010.


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