Sangiovese, the main grape in an Italian Chianti wine, is being grown in many locations in Arizona including the Wilcox AVA. The 2014 Sangiovese from Zapara Vineyard in Wilcox received a rating of 87 points from Wine Spectator and a Silver Medal at the San Francisco Chronicles Wine Competition!
This dry red wine has a beautiful garnet color and the nose offers lovely aromas of black cherry, cinnamon, currants and strawberry. The palate showcases additional flavors of mild oak, cedar, chocolate and pipe tobacco. The finish comes in at around 22 seconds. 90 cases of this Sangiovese were produced, and it has a high alcohol content of 15.6 % ABV. I recommend decanting it to bring out additional subtle flavors. It paired well with my chicken cacciatore.
Sample a little bit of Italy in Arizona with the Zapara Sangiovese for around $24.
#ZaparaVineyards, #Chianti, #Sangiovese, #ArizonaWine, #WilcoxAVA, #sanfranciscochronicleswinecompetition, #winespectator, #azredwine, #Arizonavineyards
Many people have had the opportunity to try delicious wine varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, or Viognier, but how often do you have the opportunity to sample the grapes they are made from? One of the advantages of having a local wine college which teaches enology (the study of making wine) and viticulture (the study of growing the vines), is sampling local wine grape varieties during harvest time. When I visit the Southwest Wine Center during harvest and my wine tour guests sample the wine grapes, they are amazed at the delicious fruit! It also astonishes them how different the grapes taste from the wine. Our Wine College grows a variety of unique wine grapes including Refosco, Malvasia Bianca, Tannat, Piquepoul Blanc, Viognier and Barbera. It’s a wonderful time of year to be in Arizona and have the chance to sample our local wine grapes.
#winegrapes, #verdevalleywinetrail, #enology, #viticulture, #azwwine, #arizonawinegrapes, #malvasiabianca, #viognier, #Tannat, #Piquepoul Blanc, #Refosco, #barbera, #southwestwinecenter
One of the newer vineyards in the Kansas Settlement of Wilcox, Arizona is Birds and Barrels; founded in 2015 by Chad and Monica Preston. The goal at Birds and Barrels is to “produce high-quality, hand-crafted wine.” One of their early releases was a 2016 Petit Verdot with a beautiful deep garnet color. The nose on their 2016 Petit Verde showcased lovely aromas of currant, earth black cherry and raspberry. On the palate there were additional notes of spice, blueberry, plum, chocolate and cedar. This dry red wine had a medium to full body with a 25 second finish. The wine had 13.4% alcohol by volume. Petit Verdot is used in Bordeaux, France primarily as a minor blending grape and it ripens late. It grows exceptionally well in Arizona since it has the ability to ripen fully and is fast becoming one of my Arizona favorite grape varieties. If you’re in the Wilcox Bench area, stop by and sip delicious wine on their beautiful patio.
#birdsandbarrels, #petitverdot, #bordeaux, #kansassettlement, #wilcoxarizona, #wilcoxbench, #ArizonaWine, #Arizonavineyards, #WilcoxAVA, #wilcoxwinery
I just love Mourvèdre, which is used as a blending grape in Southern Rhone and known as Monastrell in Spain. I seek out different vintages and winemakers both from Arizona and across the world. Arizona Mourvèdres typically have strong pepper notes, however the Keeling Schaefer 2014 Mourvèdre was different from many of Arizona’s Mourvèdres and others they produce. These grapes are grown in Southern Arizona at a 5000 foot elevation in their Rock Creek Vineyard by the Chiricahua Mountains, (one of my favorite hiking areas in Arizona with gorgeous blue spruce trees!) This 100% Mourvèdre had a beautiful garnet color with a touch of mahogany. The nose showcased lovely notes of plum, prune, earth and spirits. The palate offered additional notes of cassis, raisin, chocolate and baking spices, but surprisingly, not the usual pepper notes you’d expect from an Arizona Mourvèdre. This delicious dry red wine from Cochise County, was complex with a medium body and had a finish of around 18 seconds. It had 15.4% ABV, was very food friendly and thoroughly enjoyable! You don’t have to keel over to try this delightful Arizona wine; their wines are available at many locations across the state including their tasting room in downtown Wilcox!
#keelingSchaefer, #mourvedre, #monastrell, #Mataro, #Arizonawine, #ArizonaMourvedre, #ChiricahuaMountains, #RockCreekVineyard, #CochiseCounty, #WillcoxArizona, #PearceArizona, #SouthernRhone, #Spain
Sedona Wine and Beer Tours just became a Certified Sustainable Business at the Conservationist/Bronze level.
Sue Schurgin helps wine and beer lovers get a real taste of the region. Schurgin, owner of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours, is the only Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) giving wine tours in the Verde Valley full time. She provides door-to-door transportation in the region and encourages customers who come up from Phoenix for the day to take the shuttle so no one drives home with a wine buzz.
She uses LED lighting at home and only green cleaning products, and of course wears no scents since that would interfere with the tasting experience.
Schurgin is active in the community, contributing her talents to the Sedona Village Business Association. She is also a member of the Verde Valley Wine Consortium, Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, Local First Arizona and Grand Crew at Yavapai College. She keeps her knowledge by continuing to study and has taken many classes at the Southwest Wine Center, Viticulture and Enology program at Yavapai College.
She collaborates with other tour operators to offer hybrid tours so clients can cruise on a Segway or go off-roading before visiting wineries or breweries.
“I absolutely love and have a passion for what I’m doing!” says Schurgin. And the passion seems to run in the family: Her daughter just graduated from Yavapai College with her Enology degree and will receive her Viticulture degree in December.
I had been wanting to try DeLille Cellars wine from Washington State for some time, so when I found a bottle of the 2017 Chaleur Blanc at Costco for $14.99, I couldn’t resist! This white Bordeaux style blend is 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon. The grapes were hand harvested and whole-cluster pressed. Next, the free-run juice was chilled in stainless steel to clarify and then fermented sur lie in French Oak.
The color was a lovely pale lemon yellow. The nose offered gorgeous aromas of stone fruit, apricots, lime and grapefruit. The palate offered additional notes of lightly toasted oak, kiwi and honeysuckle. In addition, it had a creamy softened mouth feel. It had a delicious finish at 37 seconds.
I could easily enjoy this wine on its own, but it also paired very well with my creamy baked salmon. It’s definitely on my list of favorite summer whites, so as the days get hotter, do a little DeLille!
#ChaleurBlanc, #DeLille, #Bordeauxwhitewine, #Washingtonwine, #sauvignonblanc, #Semillon, #summerwine
I’m a big Rose’ fan! I’m always searching for my next favorite Rose’. I found a 2018 Reserve de Chastelles Tavel from the Rhone Valley of France and was very excited to try it. The blend was 58% Grenache Noir, 25% Cinsault, 7% Grenache Blanc, 5% Syrah and 5% Carignan. The Tavel appellation is renowned for only producing Rose’ wines.
The color of the wine was a rich salmon shade with a tad of tangerine. This dry Rose’ had aromas of grapefruit and lime and on the palate, there were additional flavors of minerals and raspberry. It had a medium body and the finish was around 19 seconds. You could pair this with chicken, fish or light soft cheeses. The price was very reasonable at under $10 and though this wine had some fabulous grapes in the blend and is an Appellation Tavel Controlee, I was extremely disappointed. It was not as complex as I thought it would be and when held up against many Arizona Rose’s this Tavel was lacking. So, I continue the search for this summer’s next refreshing Rose’.
Gewurztraminer is an extremely aromatic white grape and is renowned in Alsace, France and Germany. We’re starting to see more dry Gewurztraminers in our state and in other parts of the world.
This week, I had the opportunity to try the 2013 Estate grown, Balletto Gewurztraminer from Russian River Valley. The Balletto’s like many Arizona farmers utilize sustainable farming practices. The color was a beautiful pale lemon and the wine had 13.7% alcohol by volume. The wine offered lovely aromas of gardenia flowers, lychee, green apple and apricots. The palate also showcased tropical flowers, coconut and salted caramel. The finish was around 28 seconds. This delightful wine was very enjoyable on it’s on however, it needs to be paired with something mild due to its powerful floral flavors. While there are many bottles of perfume out there, this is the only one I would choose to drink!
Chardonnay is one of the most widely grown International white grape varieties. It originally hales from Burgundy, France and is made into many diverse styles from sparkling wines to stainless steel fermented wines and heavily oaked.
I celebrated National Chardonnay Day, with a 2016 Danza Del Sol, Reserve Chardonnay from Temecula Valley. This delicious medium bodied, dry white wine had a nice lemon color and a highly aromatic nose. It offered lovely aromas of peaches, apricots, freshly mowed lawn and honeycomb. The palate showcased additional flavors of pineapple, almonds, and mandarin orange and had a pleasing creamy mouth feel. The finish was around 25 seconds and the wine had 14.8% alcohol by volume. It is one of the more enjoyable Chardonnays I’ve had in a long time.
So if you can pick up a bottle of this delightful chardonnay to celebrate National Chardonnay Day, your day will shine!
Last week we had a blind wine tasting with wines from Temecula. Four whites and four reds were showcased. The favorite of the evening was the 2017 Arneis from Hart Winery. For those who have never tasted Arneis, it is an important white grape from Piedmont, Italy and one of my favorites.
On the nose we found delightful aromas of grass, tropical fruit, flowers and almonds. On the palate there were additional flavors of honeysuckle, hazelnut, and dried apricot.
This dry white wine had a beautiful pale straw color, a 23 second finish and 11.5% alcohol by volume. There were 326 cases produced. Arizona is also growing Arneis, so if you can’t make it to Northern Italy or the lovely Hart Winery in Temecula, I hope you have the opportunity to try some local Arneis.
Today I celebrated World Moscato Day with the 2017 Sweet Adeline Muscat from Carlson Creek Vineyards. This sweet Muscat has 6.5% residual sugar, 12.9 % alcohol by volume and was made using the Muscat of Alexandria grape.
On the nose there were delightful notes of orange blossoms, peach, honeysuckle, diesel, and rose. The palate continued with honey, mandarin oranges, jolly roger cherry and pipi de chat. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and had a nice finish at around 33 second. This is the first vintage of Muscat that the Carlson’s made, and they produced 218 cases of this delicious wine. For those looking for a sweeter Arizona wine, this is an excellent choice. It doesn’t have to be World Moscato Day to enjoy this lovely wine. Stop by one of their many tastings rooms to try it!
#worldmoscatoday, #muscat, #muscatofalexandria, #sweetwines, #arizonawine,
It’s International Sauvignon Blanc day and to celebrate, I opened a North Canterbury New Zealand, 2017 Mt. Beautiful, Sauvignon Blanc. Canterbury is South of Marlborough on the South Island of New Zealand.
The color was a lovely pale straw and the ABV was 13%. When I first opened it the aromas of “pipi de chat” were so strong, I though my old cat had returned. As the wine opened up, the nose softened and offered additional aromas of Peach, Melon and Honey. On the palate there were flavors of lime, grapefruit, kiwi and grass with nice acidity. It was extremely refreshing. This light/medium bodied wine had a nice finish at around 26 seconds and paired well with my garlic chicken. At under $20 it’s a good buy. If you miss your cat and like Sauvignon Blanc, why not try the Mt. Beautiful and enjoy the gooseberry?
#SauvBlancDay, #Pipidechat, #SauvignonBlanc, #NewZealandwines, #Canterbury, #Internationalsauvignonblancday,
Many guests ask me about vegan wines. There are some wines that will have the “V” or “VG” symbol on them to designate vegan. However, if you can’t find one, why not try a Kosher wine? A Kosher wine by Jewish law may not contain any animal products. Regular wine makers may use eggs whites, gelatin, milk products and fish bladders for fining (making the wine clear), however, it is not allowed in a Kosher wine!
A nice inexpensive Kosher option is the 2016 Givon 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is produced in the upper Galilee in Israel, by Barkan Wine Cellars and is more of a new world style wine. It is also Kosher for Passover which means it has not come into contact with any wheat products, so it’s a good choice for those that are gluten sensitive. This dry red wine has 13% avb and a lovely garnet color. On the nose you’ll find aromas of cherry and strawberry and on the palate additional notes of raspberry, plum, oak, cedar, vanilla and earth. The finish came in at around 23 seconds.
So, if you’re looking for a wine under $8 which is vegan, kosher or gluten free, this is a nice option.
When I’m in an Urban city, I always enjoy bar hopping and mixing with the locals. Pub crawls are famous in many of the major cities, and though Sedona doesn’t offer that urban environment, we have some fabulous pubs with excellent grub! So, this month I started our pub crawl in the Sedona area and the Verde Valley. One of my favorite pubs is PJ’s Pub in the Sedona Village (Village of Oak Creek) which has great food and Mooney’s in Hillside in Sedona. We’ll be offering more than Five locations across our towns plus tours to any of our microbreweries in the area. This will be a driving pub crawl in our Honda HRV for up to four people. So call today at 928-963-1866 to book your “Not so Urban Pub Crawl” and rub elbows with the locals.
It’s time to smell the roses, and the 2017 Rune Rose’ is an excellent Arizona Rose’. The color is a beautiful rose gold salmon. The nose is very inviting with aromas of rose, apricot, strawberry, minerals and lychee. The palate showcases additional layers of strawberry, apricot, vanilla, almond and a freshly mown lawn. It was crisp and refreshing but also had a soft mouth feel. This dry rose had a nice finish at around 30 seconds. It is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Petit Sirah and has 13.8% ABV. The fruit was sourced from the Pillsbury Vineyard in Wilcox. I paired it with a delicious arugula and avocado salad that created an umami experience. If you’re up in the Verde Valley, you can now purchase the Rune Rose’ at Carlson Creeks tasting room in Old Town Cottonwood. So stop to smell the Roses and drink this delicious Rose’.
Sue Schurgin, CSW, (Certified Specialist of Wine) is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She loves education and will also pursue her Certified Sommelier.