Last night my Granny cooked a spaghetti dinner and asked mom and I if we could pick up a couple bottles of wine for the occasion. Mom had the idea of a family tasting which I could write about in my Soccer Mom Sommelier series. I always love suggestions and this had fun written all over it, so we headed out into the rain on a mission to bring back some goodies for the evening.
At the local drug store (with a surprisingly nice wine selection), I saw a shelf dedicated to West Virginia vintners. Obviously, West Virginia is not known for wine– at all– but I thought it could be interesting to try a local blend.
There were a lot of strange offerings with descriptors like “sweet blackberry” and “spiced” that sounded more at home on a stack of pancakes than stemware. Then I spotted a bottle of Fisher Ridge Pork Barrel Red, a table wine that claimed to be a “West Virginia Tradition.” I was drawn to this one and had the feeling it was going to be just what I was hoping to find.
Bright was the word that came up most often during our tasting, whether to describe the beautiful cherry color or the bountiful fruit flavors. I was excited just at the sight of this wine when I poured my first glass– a photo doesn’t quite capture the vivid red that was almost too pretty to drink…almost. This blend was light and refreshing, yet stood up well to the bold spaghetti with meat sauce and sautéed chicken livers (ok, so no liver for me…)
I was dying to know what was in this bottle, but Fisher Ridge Winery has no website (yes, there is an address on the bottle, but it goes nowhere) and I could find very little information with an internet search. I suppose it’s kind of fun to leave it a mystery. An interesting tidbit I ran across in my research: the name “Pork Barrel Red” is a sort of salute to the late Senator Robert Byrd who was infamous for his “pork barrel” politics– winning massive amounts of government money for local projects.
Disappointingly, Fisher Ridge Winery only sells within the state of West Virginia, so there will be no more Pork Belly Red for me until the next visit– bummer! But I am so glad that I took the time to try this local wine, and it will be something for me to look forward to every time I come “home.” It also gives me more motivation to explore Texas wines, and look for more obscure gems. Next time you’re in the market for a new bottle to try, consider something you can’t find anywhere else– it’s always a plus to support local businesses, and you just might be in for a pleasant surprise!