Crisp fall days like this make me think about hunting. I appreciate the pursuit; the romance of the struggle of man against beast at its most pure state. Hunting naturally raises an important question: what wine would go well with the fantastic quarry? What wine goes with unicorn? For such an idyllic meal, I need wine like fresh flowing blood of Gaia, rustic and pure, with my cheek nestled on Mother Earth’s chest.
Alas, I’m not a hunter. I’m going to the store to buy something far from exotic like bison or lamb and pretend I went hunting. I’m going to grab a wine that is rustic and earthy that would go with wild game.
How about something from Quivira Vineyards and Winery, like Zinfandel? This stuff has a wild boar on the label. Zin is the wild boar of the wine world and oh man it goes well with wild game too. I called Hugh Chappelle, winemaker at Quivira, to find out more about this wine just in case you go hunting or have a thirst for a wine that is as at home in a hunting cabin as it is served on a linen table cloth.
While Mr. Chappelle was driving between vineyards inspecting the grapes before this year’s harvest, he graciously took a little time to tell me about the wine and the company mascot, Ruby. Ruby the wild boar was raised as a piglet at the winery and still lives on the property. She has a strong affinity for Zin, just like her more wild cousins that roam the hills above the valley hell-bent on pillaging the vineyard.
Quivira pays a lot of attention to its wild side. I’m not just talking about the pig. The wine is certified as biodynamic. Hugh studied native yeast fermentation in the early 1990s and prefers the straightforward approach to wine making with wild yeast fermentation and wild malolactic. He is committed to bringing fruit into the winery that doesn’t need a lot of manipulation, which means he has to do a lot of work in the vineyard. The natural touch in the vineyard means that Quivira doesn’t irrigate much to bring the acid down or additives to bring it back during the wine making.
Not only are the wines biodynamic, but Quivira also embraces the locavore movement by growing the food they serve at their farm-to-table dinners. They raise eggs, pigs and produce on the estate for the restaurants in the area. Biodiversity and self-sustainability are integral to every aspect of their operations.
Quivira is a terroir driven house. The land is the signature of the wine and not the hand of the wine maker. They go to great lengths to plant the right varietals in the right places to reach the right maturity of sugar and acidity. The Dry Creek Valley is Mecca for Zinfandel. The Quivira vineyard established in the in the 1980s had existing Zin vines that were originally planted in the 1930s. The longevity is a testament to the suitability. The rugged character of the land comes through in the wine.
|Look||This wine is dark garnet at the depth and ruby red at the edges. It has the clarity of a Pinot, and none of the inkiness of some Zins.|
|Smell||Spiced rhubarb pie, served with a side of plum and raisin compote come through in this bold, rustic and fruity nose.|
|Taste||Quivira comes on with a rush of smoked raspberry, anise, bitter chocolate and black pepper with ample alcohol with sleek acidity. This is a good wine to warm you after a day tracking wild boar in the woods.|
Hugh says the ideal place to open the bottle of Quivira Zinfandel is on the back patio on a lazy weekend afternoon with family and friends. Zinfandel and grilled food are a perfect pair. Just don’t serve it with the pet boar, Ruby.