Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Big Brother Is Watching Me

It is very rare when I divert from Walla Walla and its wines, let alone from the state of Washington, but forgive me as today I must. You see, Big Brother is watching me. No, seriously, he is. Big brother is watching me. Well, he isn't exactly big -- how about if I say, "My older brother is watching me." He may be the older sibling, but I bet his three younger sisters could take him down if we could unite on the effort. Which we could.

Anyway, Big Bro sent me this comment about my blog:

"I truly cannot believe that you have not mentioned at least the scenic historical label of that fine exquisite bottle of West By God Stand Up and Salute Virginia Raspberry Wine. 8-)"

Allow me to explain. He sent me a bottle of wine for my birthday in June. It's a bottle of "Black Gold West Virginia" wine made from black raspberries. Our father was born and raised in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia and about once a year brother Terry makes a trip there in homage, and during his last trip he picked up this bottle of Black Gold. Now, I believe those ridges and hills in West Virginia hold old family secrets. We do know that a great uncle had a few problems with the feds for making his own "mountain dew." I am proud to say that I come from a long line of "fermentation genes." Dad made beer and wine, and at the age of 19 I experimented with making my own version of "brandied" fruit, various flavored liquors out of vodka, and, later, with making wine. My first wine was called "Freaked Out Hippie" wine, with a peace symbol on the label. (There will be more to say about that another freaky time.)

The West Virginia black raspberry wine is contained in really a good-looking bottle, with a beautiful label showing Harper's Ferry. That city is very rich in history, of course, especially from the Civil Way period; it's located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. President George Washington selected Harpers Ferry as one of the sites of the new national armories. The town also witnessed the arrival of the first successful American railroad, then there was John Brown's attack on slavery. The largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War occurred in Harper's Ferry, and following the way the education of former slaves was instituted in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States. Besides all this history, Harper's Ferry is very scenic. In fact, I have an artist's drawing of the area framed and hanging in my dining room.

But how was the Black Gold? I have yet to try it, to be honest. I did notice that it is 12.5% in alcohol, so that is a reasonable amount of alcohol for a country red wine. I haven't decided if I am going to hang on to the wine for a keepsake or open it during a special family event. It will be one of the two choices. In the meantime, this bottle of wine has a special place of honor on my wine rack.

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