Yesterday I had the opportunity to sample a beer flight at our latest craft brewery, The Sedona Beer Company. Their custom flights normally include four beers for $10, however I added the 2 additional beers on the menu to my flight. The lineup included a Hefeweizen, 4.5 ABV, Golden Ale, 4.4 ABV, Session IPA, 3.6 ABV, Berliner Braunbier, 5 ABV, A Dark Mild, 4.3 ABV and an American Abbey Ale at 7 ABV. Kali, one of the owners, mentioned that they normally don’t include the ABV on the menu and never mention the IBU’s because they want their patrons to taste the beer without any preconceived notions and that true IBU’s can only be determined in a lab.
I especially enjoyed the Golden Ale and the American Abby Ale, however, I fell in love with the Berliner Braunbier (brown beer). Many of us have tasted a Berliner Weisse, but some of you might have thought the Berliner Braunbier was extinct. Not so in Sedona! This historic style Berliner Braunbier was not sour like some of the Berliner Weisse beers I’ve had. I adore their description of the beer which is perfect: “Rich layers of malt invite you deeper as they deliver warm flavors of caramel and firesides.” Put this on your to-taste list when putting together your flight!
Besides Beer, they also offer an alcoholic and non-alcoholic Wild Tonic Kombucha, plus many other non-alcoholic drinks. Their food menu includes appetizers, salads, burgers and desserts. The sweet potato Waffle fries are outstanding!
So check out the new beer and maybe the “old beer” in uptown at the Sedona Beer Co at 465 Jordan Road and open Thursday through Sunday. They’re on the web at www.sedonabeerco.com.
Today, September 21, 2018 is International Grenache Day. The Grenache grape is originally from Spain where it is called Garnacha and is frequently made into a single varietal wine. In Italy, it is known as Cannonau, and was also found early on in Sardinia. In the Southern Rhone area of France, it is called Grenache and is used as a blending grape in a Cotes du Rhone, where it is normally blended with Syrah and Mourvedre, though it can be blended with any of the approved grapes in the area. There is Grenache Noir, Grenache Blanc and Grenache Gris. It is also used in the making of a lovely Rose’ from the Tavel appellation in Southern Rhone blended with Cinsault.
You’ll find quite a bit of it in Australia and California. I recently listened to a wonderful podcast from the Guild of Sommeliers talking about Rhone Varietals in Paso Robles. They are producing Grenache as a standalone variety and having quite a bit of success.
In Arizona you’ll see a lot of Grenache. Though it is often used in a GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre), it is frequently produced as a single varietal wine and also as a Rose’.
Depending on where it’s grown, it can have amazing aromas and flavors including cherry, vanilla, jam raspberry, strawberry, pepper and other spices.
So crack open a bottle of Garnacha, a Cotes du Rhone, a GSM or an Arizona 100% Grenache and celebrate!
What is the Verde Valley Terroir?
One of my favorite descriptions of Terroir is “the Taste of the Place”. The taste of the place and more official description of terroir is determined by multiple aspects including where the grapes grown; on a hill, flat land, facing what direction, relationships to bodies of water, elevation, etc. Also included are soil type, climate, water and sunlight. Human interaction in viticulture practices has an impact as well.
In the Verde Valley we have six major vineyard areas and a variety of factors that affect our terroir in each area. For example, the Page Springs area sits on volcanic and lake bed soils and within each vineyard there are a variety of soils, geography, water and microclimates. At Page Spring Vineyards, soils include sand and clay layered over chunks of volcanic rock that is combined with chalky, alkaline, limestone-like deposits. The subsoils are alkaline, much like the limestone of the Rhône, other areas of Southern France and Burgundy. Hence, you’ll see in our area delicious Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Vermentino, Roussanne and Viognier.
In other areas along Page Springs you’ll find ash, chunks of volcanic stones, chalky clays, and limestone. Up the street by DA Ranch, we have the House Mountain vineyard, which was the home of a major volcano around 13-15 million years ago. The soils here include everything from basalt to pure limestone. Counoise, Grenache Noir, Petit Sirah grow here along with Pinot Noir, which is surprising considering our heat.
In terms of our weather, we have a very large diurnal shift, (the difference between the day time and nighttime temperatures vary considerably.)
which is excellent for growing grapes.
The other areas of the Verde Valley are also extremely diverse. In Clarkdale at our Southwest Wine Center Vineyard, there are 3 different soils that they have discovered so far and more sampling is being done. In Camp Verde, the fresh water from the Mogollon Rim offers a different taste profile.
So, if you’re in the Verde Valley, I hope you’ll sample wines from many of the different vineyards and find out about the “Taste of our place!”
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.