Zinfandel is one of my favorite grape varieties! It is known by many names including Primativo in Italy and Crljenak Kaštelanski and Tribidrag in Croatia. I recently tried the 2015 Legacy Zinfandel from Javelina Leap Vineyard and Winery. This 100% Estate Zinfandel won Silver Medals at both the San Francisco Chronicles 2017 Wine Competition and the 2017 Arizona Republic Wine Competition. In 2013 and 2014 they won Gold Medals at the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition. The vines were planted in 2005 on the slope of an extinct volcano on their property. Their Estate Zin is always one I recommend to my guests to try on a visit to their winery or remote tasting room in Sedona.
This dry, medium bodied wine has a lovely nose with Black Cherry and prune notes. The palate offers delicious flavors of blackberry, cassis, vanilla and current. The finish is delightfully smooth and consistent and runs around 30 seconds. The alcohol content is 15%. So, if you’re looking for an Arizona Zinfandel, this is definitely an excellent choice!
This week I had the opportunity to try an Arizona, award winning Malbec. Malbec, is one of the original blending grapes for a classic Bordeaux blend. Currently, it is a signature red grape of Argentina where it thrives. The Passion Cellars, 2015 Malbec, by Salvatore Vineyards, won Bronze medals at both the 2018 Arizona Republic Wine Competition and the 2018 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. It is produced and bottled at Passion Cellars, Cochise, County in Wilcox and has 13.9% alcohol.
The nose had aromas of Blueberries, dates and prunes, while the palate showcased additional notes of mocha, strawberries, blueberries and plum. The color was a lovely Purple and Garnet combination. It was not too tannic with some light, crisp acidity and was lighter in body than most Argentinian Malbec’s I’ve had. The finish came in at around 22 seconds. It paired beautifully with the cilantro Chimichurri chicken I had for dinner. At under $30, it’s definitely on my cellar list.
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Wednesday night was a fabulous Local First Arizona Event in Old Town Cottonwood at the State Bar. The State Bar was pouring some excellent Arizona wines including the Southwest Wine Center Monsoon, Sand Reckoner R and Page Springs, Mules Mistake. They have a fabulous outdoor patio and serve Arizona Wine, Beers and Mead. Small Batch winery which is right next door, is a unique company that has a excellent wine inventory and creates special wine events. They were pouring a bourbon barrel aged Chardonnay and a Red Blend from Beringer. In addition to these two wonderful businesses, one of the largest Vineyards in Arizona, Carlson Creek, had their winemaker pouring their Rule of three, GSM blend, of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. We are all very excited because Carlson Creek is moving into the space where Firemountain Winery was. They will be remodeling the interior and will be a new addition to the tasting rooms in Old Town, hopefully by sometime in July. Food was supplied by Little Moos which has a nice selection of gluten free options also.
The Verde Valley is home to a winery that utilizes all organic practices. One of the fun experiences about visiting this winery is hearing the geese cackle and seeing all of the critters that roam through the vineyard. Clear Creek Vineyards has a multitude of cats that chase after and eat gophers. Gophers can be very destructive to the vines root systems. My daughter has had to set many a gopher trap at the Yavapai College vineyard and finds it depressing to clean out the traps of the dead animals. That’s why utilizing the cats is a wonderful solution. They are well fed and solve the gopher problem!
The geese and chickens love eating insects which may be harmful to the vines and their droppings add natural fertilizer to the soil. The snakes love rodents and insects also. Therefore, it’s wonderful to see an alternative solution to utilizing chemicals and experience the sounds and sights of the animals.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.