Who are you calling a Shameless Hussy?

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When I was a little girl, I had no idea what the word “hussy” meant. My mom used it to describe a particular relative who wore plunging necklines, short skirts and bright red lipstick. Said woman flirted with every man in the room, be him married or single, and often in front of the man’s wife. But the clothes and the flirting escaped me at age 7 or 8. I just focused on the lipstick.

Off at a family church retreat, my parents left me and my brother in the care of one of the older teenage babysitters. She read to my brother, and taught me how to make flowers out of Kleenex and pipe cleaners. But alas, I ruined the evening with one simple word. At one point she put on some lipstick. Red Lipstick. I thought she looked very pretty. And wanting to sound all grown up, I said, “You look just like a hussy.” She made me go to bed and left the room in tears. Needless to say, I got in trouble when my parents returned.

Back when it was on, we loved to watch Deadwood. And for me it wasn’t just because Timothy Olyphant (now on Justified) is well…hot. Deadwood was full of salty language and shameless hussies. Much of the action took place inside a brothel of a remote mining town. Seems that during the Gold Rush these brothels were quite prevalent.

Perfect with smoked fish or rich braised beef, this Sangiovese Dry Rose' is awesome with some Fourth of July barbecue!
On our way to Walla Walla, our WBC-or-Bust tour stopped at Cave B Winery to taste a number of Columbia Valley and Lake Chelan wines. One particular winery has its own history anchored in a remote mining town.

Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards

At the tasting we met a delightful couple, Don and Judy Phelps, owners of “Hard Row to Hoe” Vineyards. Judy told me the story behind the name. Seems that back in the late 1930s, there was a brothel located at Point Lovely. Across Lake Chelan was the newly operational Howe Sound Mine. One enterprising man started a taxi service on Lake Chelan to ferry the miners by rowboat to said brothel. Judy and Don chose Hard Row to Hoe to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit of that man.

The Lake Chelan climate, with its cool nights, hot days and lake-moderated winter temperature is an ideal area for growing wine grapes allowing for a longer hang time without over ripening. The vineyard is located on a southwest facing slope of the property and has been planted and maintained organically using sustainable growing practices. The soils here consist of well-drained gravel interspersed with large stones and small boulders, making it truly a hard row to hoe.

My hands-down favorite of all the wines poured that morning was a 2009 Sangiovese Dry Rosé called Shameless Hussy. Attracted to the bottle by the label, I soon learned this hussy wasn’t just all talk.

Shameless Hussy 2009 Sangiovese Dry Rosé

Ladies put on your big girl panties, and guys stand at attention! Don’t let the bright pink color of the wine fool you – this is not just another “girlie girl” wine. Refreshing strawberry, without the all the sweetness, this is 100% Sangiovese, with residual sugar of just 0.3%. Judy says the plan was to make a red wine, but Lake Chelan got hit with an early frost in October of last year. Ripening stopped at the Bear Mountain Ranch vineyard, creating grapes in the perfect state to make a lower alcohol (just 12.5%) rosé!

Perfect with smoked fish or rich braised beef, it would be awesome with some Fourth of July barbecue! This wine is a great value at only $18.00. Just 250 cases produced. For a printout of the winemaker’s notes, click here.

If you don’t live in the Lake Chelan area, you can buy this and other Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards wines on-line.  Be sure to check out their multimedia website for location, tasting room hours and more fun facts about Don and Judy and their wines.

Cheers!

The WineWonkette

About Amy Corron Power

A licensed attorney, Amy is a wine-lover, foodie, photographer, political junkie and award-winning author who writes about Wine, Food, Beer & Spirits. As Managing Editor & Tasting Director for Another Wine Blog, she travels all over the world's wine regions to share her experiences with her readers and nearly 10,000 twitter fans. She holds certifications from International Sommelier Guild, regularly attends Houston Sommelier Association events and is currently studying for her California Wine Appellation Specialist certification through the San Francisco Wine School.
  • http://www.hardrow.com Judy Phelps

    Sign up for our mailing list either on the Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards Facebook page or on the website at http://www.hardrow.com and we'll send you a coupon for free shipping.

  • http://www.wawinereport.com Sean P. Sullivan

    A good wine, a good story, and – best of all – good people!

  • http://twitter.com/vinotology Ben Simons

    I really enjoyed talking with Don and Judy when we were there too. Love the story behind the name, and I really enjoyed a number of their wines as well. I'm really looking forward to visiting Lake Chelan on a future trip to Washington, as it sounds like a beautiful location.

  • Princess Alice2

    Good story , good wine and excellent writers who always add some humor!

  • http://www.oc2seattle.wordpress.com OC2Seattle

    What a great story! Love hearing about good wine from boutique wineries – thanks for the tip!

  • http://www.oc2seattle.wordpress.com OC2Seattle

    What a great story! Love hearing about good wine from boutique wineries – thanks for the tip!