March 28, 2008
Shady Lady Turns Heads


A certain shady lady helped liven up the old Gold Rush settlement of Plymouth last evening. It was the Windwalker Vineyard & Winery 2005 Speed Vineyard Primitivo Shady Lady, the only entry to win a double-gold medal in the zinfandel and primitivo classes at the first Fiddletown Heritage Day Wine Competition. (A double-gold medal is bestowed on a wine when all judges on a panel - in this instance five persons - concur that an entry deserves gold.)

This was something of a surprise, given that the small and sparsely developed Fiddletown American Viticultural Area is known primarily for its zesty zinfandels, of which seven were entered in the judging. One did get a gold, the dense but sprightly Martella Vineyards 2005 Fiddletown Zinfandel, but as a group the zinfandels weren't as strawberry-tinged and light of foot as usually seen out of the appellation. Zinfandel and primitivo, incidentally, are two names for the same variety, according to DNA analysis, but most competitions continue to group them into separate classes.

The competition drew a total 22 wines, from sauvignon blanc to petite sirah. The Fiddletown Preservation Society sanctioned the judging to help promote both the fourth annual Heritage Day on April 5 and the area's wines. Most of the wines in the competition will be available for tasting at Heritage Day, also to include western music, cowboy poetry and talks about Fiddletown's history. Intent of the gathering is to raise funds to continue the restoration and preservation of the remaining buildings of Fiddletown's Chinatown.

I'll be writing more of the Fiddletown competition for an upcoming Dunne on Wine column in The Bee's Taste section, but in the meantime Windwalker's Shady Lady, which sells for $30, can be found only at the winery, which is along Perry Creek Road in the Fair Play district of southwestern El Dorado County.

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