Smooth, strong, spicy, and sweet: these are the perfect terms to describe Motown legend Smokey Robinson, and they also apply to his new selection of wines. Made from full-cluster grapes from vineyards located in Chile, South America, and California. Oak barrel aged for up to 24 months, these wines are as velvety as you would expect given their association with legendary crooner of such classics as “Tears of a Clown” and “I Second that Emotion”.
I sat down with the Detroit-born Robinson at the recent Miami launch of Smokey Robinson Wines. Hosted by the Miami Airport Marriott, the launch featured a tasting of Smokey’s 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. This rich red wine has traces of nuts and vanilla, and dry tannins. It’s a medium to full bodied wine. Also featured was a white wine, the 2015 Riesling, a white wine with a citrus and apple bouquet with floral and honey traces. These two offerings did not disappoint. The Cabernet Sauvignon is priced at $60 and the Riesling is priced at $30, so these upscale new offerings are affordable as well as flavorful.
After tasting, Robinson explained how he got into the wine business. “First of all, they’re my brothers,” he said of his business partners, Bob Buzzelli and Duane Rieder of Engine House 25 Wines out of Pittsburgh . “They asked me, why not do a wine? So I started to taste wine and grapes, and it took about a year and a half to come up with what we have.” The reason it took so long had to do with reasons. Robinson has exacting tastes and an abiding desire to innovate. He insisted on doing something fresh and original. “I wanted to be involved. I wanted to put my name on something new,” he said. Robinson had to have a hand in everything from designing to discovering the perfect profile for the wines.
The wines have been doing the festival circuit up until now, garnering very positive attention. No doubt, they will be in shelves across the United States very soon. But if your local liquor store hasn’t caught on yet, don’t worry. Smokey Robinson wines are available on his website.
Before leaving, I asked Robinson, who is renowned for being the perfect model of a gentleman, to impart some wisdom for aspiring gentlemen everywhere. “Be a gentleman,” he said with a smile and a twinkle in his eye. “Open the door for your woman. Respect your woman. You know what I mean?” And with that, the smooth, sweet legend was gone, leaving behind two new delicious additions to his legacy. A Cabernet Sauvignon and a Riesling.