To celebrate National Wine Day (there is also a National Wine Drinking Day), I decided to list many of the wine grape varieties we are now growing in Arizona. The list is extensive and by no means complete. So here we go:
Aglianico, Albarino, Aleatico, Alicante Bouschet, Arinarnoa, Arneis, Assyrtiko, Barbera, Blaufrankisch, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonel, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Counoise, Dolcetto, Graciano, Grenache, Gros Verdot, Lulienga, Malbec Bianca, Malvasia, Marsanne, Marselan, Merlot, Mission, Montepulciano, Mourvedre, Muscat Canelli, Muscat of Alexandria, Nebbiolo, Negroamaro, Petit Manseng, Petit Sirah, Petit Verdot, Picpoul, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Pinotage, Refosco, Riesling, Roussane, Sagrantino, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Souzao, Symphony, Syrah, Tannat, Tempranillo, Verdelho, Vermentino, Vidal Blanc, Viognier, Vranac, and Zinfandel.
Enjoy National Wine Day and I hope you get to try many Arizona wines and our unique wine varietals.
Viognier originates from the Northern Rhone Valley in France and has been gaining popularity worldwide in the last few decades. It is also the state signature grape of Virginia. However, an Arizona Viognier from Chateau Tumbleweed just won the top award in the Country for Viognier at the San Francisco Chronicles Wine Competition!
Arizona has a wonderful variety of Viognier and today I’m reviewing the 2017 Viognier from Clear Creek Vineyards in Camp Verde. Clear Creek recently won the Yavapai County SBDC 2018 Success Award.
All grapes used in Clear Creek wines are grown on their property. They utilize organic practices and do not filter or fine their wines. Many winemakers feel that by filtering or fining the wines, you strip various flavors out of the wine.
The wine color is a lemony apricot and being unfiltered, reminds me of many Old-World Wines. There is also a minuscule amount of effervescence. This Viognier has a subtle honeydew nose with lovely flavors of apricot, white peach, hazelnut and cantaloupe on the palate. It offers very smooth drinking and was lower in acidity than I expected. The alcohol content is 13.2% and the finish is around 22 seconds. It will pair nicely with chicken salad, a bold salmon or Mahi Mahi. I thoroughly enjoyed it with my grilled salmon.
You don’t need to travel to the Northern Rhone Valley to experience Viognier, since we have excellent ones in Arizona!
Our tours offer you the finest experience in wine and beer tasting in Sedona and the Verde Valley. So remember, when choosing a quality, private, customized wine and or microbrewery tour:
Sauvignon Blanc, is sometimes referred to as the “savage” white (derived from the French translation). Hailing originally from Bordeaux, France, it is also renowned in the Loire Valley in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume and is one of the Noble varieties. Now it’s grown around the world from South Africa to Chile and the USA to New Zealand, though New Zealand is where you’ll taste the very distinctive gooseberry notes. Sauvignon Blanc is also one of the parent varieties of Cabernet Sauvignon.
This week, I had the good fortune to try the 2017 Sauvignon Blanc from Javelina Leap. The wine has a lovely clear, pale straw color and an alcohol content of 14%. The nose opened with aromas of Kiwi and offered hints of mandarin and lychee. The palate had mouthwatering, refreshing acidity with notes of white peach, kiwi and dried pineapple. The finish was around 24 seconds and paired beautifully with my chicken and asparagus dish. This wine will be ideal for the hot summer months to come. It’s sure to tame the Savage Blanc within.
A cork made from sugar cane? Yes! These are plant-based synthetic corks made from non-GMO sugar cane and are manufactured by the Nomacorc company in Brazil. The manufacture has developed these as a natural cork alternative and states they offer a zero-carbon footprint. They also reference them to be 100% recyclable and have consistent oxygen control. They have a look and feel similar to synthetic cork.
These new innovative corks are now in use at the Southwest Wine Center in the 2017 Viognier and their 100% Malvasia. The college is also using them in the new Passport, a Viognier and Malvasia blend and expects to use them in and all of the 2017 whites to be bottled.
These corks as a choice of bottle closure are another addition to the mission of ecology and sustainability that is a major goal at Yavapai College.
The Southwest Wine Center is an adaptive reuse project, which is a process that adapts buildings for new uses while retaining their original features. The building where the tasting room, fermentation, aging and bottling are done was formerly a racquet ball court! One goal of their project is to use 50% less power than an average Arizona home. Their roof also collects rain water for irrigation and other uses. When I take my private wine tours to the facility, I love pointing out the rock walls, which were created utilizing rocks cleared out from the vineyard land.
The corks are currently being used on just the white wines. It will be interesting to see how this newer material will maintain the wines while supporting our environment.
Sue Schurgin, CSW, (Certified Specialist of Wine). WSET II, is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She loves wine and beer education and is also a Level 1 Sommelier.