Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Rustic Wine Tasting: 2007 Red Guitar and 2007 Seven Artisans Petite Sirah

Each year we travel to the hills of West Virginia for the Game Cabin, its a time to bond with college buddies in a rustic setting, enjoy a few drinks, and relive the glory days. Over the years our beverages of choice have shifted and we typically have several bottles of wine to enjoy during the get-together.

This year’s cabin was in Watoga State Park. It was quite a bit different than our normal location of Seneca State Park. The Seneca location – about 15 miles away – is truly rustic. The cabins were built in the 1930s and feature wood stoves, gas lights, no running water, and an outhouse. However, the escape from modern conveniences really is an elixir for the soul.

In Watoga, we were “forced” to endure the modern conveniences of running water, electricity, and two bathrooms. Green Dragon didn’t seem to mind this change of setting.

We tried a trio of wines with a nice spaghetti dinner. We had picked up a bottle of Red Guitar, thinking it might be a nice match for dinner. This Spanish wine is Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache) from old vines, some more than 100 years old.

These gnarled old vines from the ancient region of Navarra yield grapes with highly concentrated flavors. Garnacha is a light, fruity grape and Tempranillo is one of Spain’s signature grapes. This was a light and enjoyable drink.

The Petite Sirah is a much fuller-bodied wine, loaded with dark fruit. It is rich and pairs well with full-bodied food. This ink-dark wine seemed to be a better match for our dinner. 

The winner for this meal was a 2008 Campos Reales Tempranillo from the La Mancha region of Spain. This had the smoothness, light tannins, and touch of acidity to make a nice match with our meal. It is a youthful, medium-bodied wine with a deep violet color and flavors of blackberries and strawberries.
These wines were just the ticket after a long day of hiking the West Virginia hills. The weather was cold – we saw the first snow of the season – so these really helped us warm up.

A highlight for the trip was a Friday night party at the “party platform” an old CCC-era reservoir building with a concrete top that allowed us to have a nice campfire to enjoy some vino and play some guitar while the snowflakes were coming down from cabin10 012 A hike in Beartown, a visit to the Greenbank National Radio Observatory and lunch at the Pretty Penny in Hillsboro rounded out another great cabin.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent overview of a great weekend, DN! From the photo above, the bottle in the center was the one that, unfortunately, came home with us unopened.

Viansa Winery, located in the Sonoma Valley of California specializes in a selection of Italian varietal wines. Taking advantage of the Italian heritage of the area, they produce wines that rival the Old World vintages from Italy.

The wine from the photo is a 2008 Viansa Sempre Avanti, a Sangiovese blend. This selection travelled with us to Watoga but with a wealth of other selections from which to choose, we all missed the opportunity to sample a bit while in Pocahontas County, West Virginia.

We enjoy Italian reds, particularly Chiantis and Sangiovese varieties. The Sempre Avanti is a close rival to both and is a superb accompaniment to rich pasta dishes as well as cheese hors d’oeuvres. We were surprised to learn that the Sonoma Valley was home to such a fine vintage.

If you are interested in sampling a New World Sangiovese blend with your next dinner of lasagne, ravioli or spaghetti, you won’t go wrong with this Viansa selection.