To help me survive our snowy Sedona weather, I opened a bottle of a super Arizona blend. The 2016 Gallifant cellars Super Tucsan is a delicious blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese and 13% Merlot. This 2018 Arizona Republic Wine Competition, Gold Medal winner was aged in neutral oak, though the Cabernet had 6 months of new oak and was a Silver medal winner. The Grapes were sourced from Graham County Arizona and the wine has 13% alcohol by volume. The nose displayed delightful aromas of cherry, currant, cassis, and cedar with additional flavors of mocha and oak on the palate. It was nice and smooth, dry with a medium body and had a lovely garnet color. The finish lasted around 25 seconds. When I took the photo, I briefly buried the wine bottle in the snow and then measure the mark which came to 7 inches deep! I thoroughly enjoyed this wine on our exceptionally snowy evening and found it was easy drinking alone and paired beautifully with the spicy chicken I had for dinner.
When I attended a wine and food pairing event with the Mayor of Wines a few weeks ago, my favorite wine of the evening was a delicious white wine blend from Pine Ridge, California, so of course, I had to take home a bottle! Last night I enjoyed this lovely blend of 17% Viognier and 83% Chenin Blanc with a dinner of salmon, bok choy, and rice noodles.
The luscious nose of the 2017 Pine Ridge white blend was bold and beautiful, showcasing aromas of star fruit, apricot, minerals, and honeydew. The palate was rife with flavors of pear, apricot, cantaloupe, and freshly mown grass. The finish lingered for around 22 seconds and the wine offered 12.5 % alcohol by volume. This beautifully balanced white blend displayed a crisp acidity that wasn’t overpowering and paired extremely well with the slightly spicy Dijon salmon that I made with it. All in all, at around $13, I highly recommend enjoying the Pine Ridge Viognier/Chenin Blanc blend with dinner or even by itself!
Last week, I attended a VOCA wine and food pairing event at the Redstone Grill with the Mayor of Wine, Steve Bailey. Steve is a Certified Sommelier and is WSET 3 certified.
The lineup started with a delightful sparkling Brut CAVA from Campo Viejo, Spain. Next was the Canoe Ridge Pinot Gris from Washington State. After that came the Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier Blend from Napa Valley, California, my favorite of the evening. The reds then started off with the Provisioner Red Blend from Arizona, the Wente Southern Hill Cabernet from Livermore, California and finally the Arizona Stronghold “Mangus” Red Blend, a combination of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet. I learned that “Mangus” was the Brother in Law of Cochise, a famous leader and Chief of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. Cochise County is where many of our Arizona wines hail from. AZ Stronghold uses a variety of Native American names for their wines. Tazi, a Stronghold white favorite, is named after Cochise’s older son.
The food pairing done buffet style, started with a delicious dilled, creamed salmon, then onto assorted cheeses and crackers, a cucumber and ham canopy, shrimp with cocktail sauce and beef skewers. There were delicious eclairs and mini cheesecakes for dessert. Most of the food pairings went well as they appeared with the above wines, however the skewers being on the saltier side, did struggle with the Mangus blend and not bring out its best flavors.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these wine pairing evenings with the Mayor, I’d definitely recommend it!
The holidays may be over, but the weather outside is currently frightful!
This time of year, can be very challenging for tour companies and guests. With heavy rains and sometimes even snow, it’s important when thinking about booking a wine or beer tour, that you consider protection from the elements and be nice and toasty. In the summer, when temperatures reach 100, having air conditioning can make the difference between a wonderful experience or a miserable one. All of Sedona Wine and Beer tours are offered in a comfortable, climate-controlled vehicle, to keep you dry and warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Our vineyards can be very muddy and slippery this time of year, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to visit one of the dozens of remote tasting rooms we have along the Verde Valley Wine Trail and beyond. Remote tasting rooms are located in Jerome, Old Town Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Sedona and Cornville with a plethora of award-winning wines and beers.
As you think about booking your next private wine tour, make sure to consider the weather, and we’ll whisk you off to remote tasting rooms for a unique experience.
This year, The Southwest Wine Center won a Gold medal again at the Jefferson Cup and they recently won a Bronze and Silver medal for a Malvasia Bianca /Viognier blend and Syrah/Tempranillo blend respectively.
Their 2017 Viognier ML+, Yavapai College Vineyard, is an award winner in my book also. It has a clear pale lemon color and a delightful aroma of apricot, pear and Kiwi. On the palate you’ll find delicious flavors of honeysuckle, tangerine, almond and butterscotch. Though this viognier went through Malolactic fermentation, it still displays a nice acidity and balance. It is dry, complex with a light to medium body. The finish lingered for about 28 seconds and the wine is 12.2% alcohol by volume. I paired it with a garlic chicken, and it was an excellent combination.
This Viognier is still available for purchase at the Southwest Wine Center. Make sure to try this delightful viognier from our award-winning Wine College, which is located along the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
With this wine you’ll be tempted to Viognier all day!
The 2016 Peasant from Burning Tree Cellars is a delicious wine with lovely aromas of cherry, raspberry, cinnamon and caramel. The grapes hailed from Buhl Memorial Vineyard in Cochise County in the Southern part of Arizona. It was produced and bottled in Camp Verde. On the palate I found additional delightful flavors of tart cherry, raspberry, toasted coconut and vanilla. The wine has 13% alcohol and the finish was lingering at around 32 seconds. This Grenache paired beautifully with my stir fry chicken.
Burning Tree has a fabulous tasting room in Old Town Cottonwood with a wide selection of single wine varietals and blends in both reds and white. They have won awards Statewide and Nationally and were awarded 90 points on a Syrah from The Wine Spectator. The co-owners or co-conspirators as they like to call themselves are Corey Turnbull and Mitch Levy. Corey also creates wines for Page Springs Cellars and Mitch is in the Southwest Wine Center degree program. So don’t let the name fool you, this Peasant is high on my list of excellent wines and you won’t pay High Society prices for it!
A favorite location of my beer tour guests is the State Bar in Old Town Cottonwood. Many guests have been raving about the Coffee Kolsch from Huss Brewing. A Kolsch is somewhat of a cross between and Ale and a Lager. Originally from Germany, a Kolsch is fermented at warmer temperatures like an Ale, then lagered at cooler temperatures and should be served cold. The delicious Coffee Kolsch from Huss Brewing out of Tempe, AZ had a transparent golden color with 4.7% alcohol and 16 IBU’s. The head retention lasted 55 seconds. Though I’ve had a few Kolsches in my day, this was my first coffee Kolsch, and the aroma smelled of fresh ground coffee with vanilla notes. It also had delightful flavors of coffee, hazelnut, coconut, cocoa and caramel. It was well balanced and had a very velvety mouth feel with the finish lasting around 32 seconds. This will be my summer favorite. I kept dreaming of pairing it with a coffee cake or cheese cake.
Ashley Kahlo at the State Bar, continued offering excellent service when I sampled the Big Bunny, Stillwater Artisanal, AZ Wilderness Collab Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout, the Sun-up, Vanilla Porter and the Barrio, Mocha Java Nitro Stout.
Arizona brewing continues to surprise and delight beer enthusiasts. So, Coffee Kolsch lovers, head to the State Bar and raise a glass to AZ Craft!
While continuing to explore wine varietals, I found a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux, France. The 2017 Les Portes de Bordeaux, Appellation Bordeaux Controlee, is a dry Sauvignon Blanc with 12% alcohol. This easy drinking wine had a light straw color with lovely aromas of grass, grapefruit, and lime. On the palate there were additional notes of melon, apricot and a tad of gooseberry. It was well balanced, not too acidic and had a 19 second finish.
I paired it with a rosemary chicken, but felt it would go well with a light fish or mild goat cheese. At less than $8 at Trader Joes, this is a steal!
Last night my daughter and I attended a wonderful potluck party at The Art of Wine. There was a plethora of food and fabulous wines. One of the food highlights of the evening was my daughter’s Pao de Queijo, cheese bread, a delicious, gluten free bread, made with tapioca flour, oil, eggs, milk, water and parmesan cheese. The bread paired beautifully with the 2014 Bodegas Beronia Verdejo, from the region of Castillo y Leon, Spain, Rueda DO. This white wine had a lovely light yellow color. The nose offered tropical notes and additional aromas of stonefruit and gooseberry. The palate had refreshing acidity with additional herbaceous flavors. At less than $15 this is a good choice. Their 2016 vintage won a Gold medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and a 2016 Vintage Bacchus award. The 2017 vintage is also Vegan!
Some of my other favorites for the evening were the Bodega 2105 La Flor Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina and not shown in the photo the Nederberg 2014 Pinotage from Paarl, South Africa plus the Parallele 45, Cote du Rhone Rose’ which was a lovely blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah.
As you attend all of your holiday parties, I hope you enjoy your wine and bread as much as I did.
Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday and as a treat, I took her wine tasting. We started off at Arizona Stonghold and were delighted by their Port style wine. We then walked over to Burning Tree and tried the 2017 Architect, a delicious blend of Viognier, Riesling, Malvasia Bianca, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Roussanne which I highly recommend. Next, we visited Merkin so that Mimi could try their Shinola Orancia, a 100% Malvasia Bianca fermented on the skins. We then strolled over to Winery 101, imbibed and bought their 2015 Malvasia Bianca and the 2016 Super Tuscan. After Old Town, we headed up the hill to Bodega Pierce in Clarkdale and Mimi bought the 2014 Gallia, a Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend.
Our final stop was the Art of Wine where we popped open a bottle of the 2014 Napa Valley, Rutherford and Dollarhide vineyards, St. Supery Elu, and enjoyed it with the owners and friends. The Elu is a luscious Left Bank, Bordeaux Style blend with 61% Cabernet, 22% Merlot, 12% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. The wine was aged for 19 months in French Oak and has 14,5% ABV. Many of us would have guessed there was a touch of Zinfandel due to it’s jammy, plum and spicy notes. The color was a lovely inky purple, and the palate was velvety showcasing additional delicious flavors of dark berries, coffee, anise and chocolate. This complex wine had a wonderful, lingering finish and is the type of wine I’d drink on its own without food. James Suckling rated it 92 points and I found it to be an excellent wine. It retails for around $65.
We ended up at the Hudson for dinner; what an amazing day! I hope your birthday wine tours are just as enjoyable!
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.