Upon trying the 2017 Red Storm, I was transported back to the semester that several students and I worked at the Southwest Wine Center on this wine. I remember on the day this wine was blended. I thought it was the best red wine we produced that day. Three years later the quality of this beautiful Storm hasn’t lessened at all. The Red storm exhibits a beautiful garnet color while the nose showcases notes of strawberry and current, (not surprising as the predominate variety in the Red Storm is Grenache). There was a slight green note to the nose as well as hints of dill. The palate was beautifully balanced with flavors of strawberry, rhubarb, and tomato leaf. This wine was balanced but zingy with bright acidity harmonizing with the fruit and herb flavors, a 13.7 ABV, and a lovely 22-second finish.
The Red Storm is over 40% Grenache, but the Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Mourvèdre also shine through on the palate. Though we paired this blend with a beef stew, I could easily see the Red Storm pairing well with lamb or veal dishes as well as some less-spicy Asian dim sum dishes like beef Bao and pot stickers.
The fact that the wines of the Southwest Wine Center are made by the students of Yavapai College makes some individuals a little wary, however, the wines are incredible! Their award-winning wines have included Gold and Double Gold medal winners at the Jefferson Cup and San Francisco Chronicles Wine competition, and the Best in Show white wine at the AZ Central Grand Wine Competition. The 2017 Red Storm blend is hardly a storm you would want to shelter from. It is the one meteorological event I would welcome into my home anytime!
Guest Blogger, Mimi Mahl
This past week, Arizona winery Deep Sky Vineyard wowed me once more with their 2015 Eclipse. This Malbec and Granache blend was an absolutely incredible wine drinking experience. Its dark purple color invited you to inhale a pleasant aroma of cranberry, raspberry, mocha, and plumb. The palate was rife with exquisite notes of espresso, black cherry, and prune as well. The alcohol percentage though 14.1% was well integrated into the wine and balanced well with the other flavors on the palate. The finish lasted about 23 seconds but it showcased a lovely tannic note that made you want more.
Deep Sky Vineyard usually names their wines for astrological phenomenon such as the Aurora Viognier or the Big Bang Malbec. This inclination to name their wines for such phenomenon, always makes me curious as to why they chose that name and how it will be reflected in the glass. I usually find, after reading the back label that the name does indeed perfectly describe the wine I am enjoying. They claim that at first sip, the Malbec in the Eclipse will cover the Grenache, but like its namesake eventually the Grenache will shine after the initial sip. A better description of this wine could never be found! As someone who works in the wine industry, I have the privilege of trying many unique and wonderful wines. This beautiful blend by Deep Sky thrilled me, as it managed to eclipse most wines in recent memory!
Mimi Mahl-Guest Blogger
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I recently had the pleasure of trying Golden Rule Vineyard’s 2013 Cobra Loma. This beautiful blend of Syrah, Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Mourvedre checked all the boxes I’m looking for when searching for a complex wine. Its garnet hue had traces of mahogany and the nose was extremely aromatic. Cobra Loma had lovely notes of black cherry, cedar smoke, and anise on the nose, while the palate displayed flavors of raisins, earth, cassis, cocoa, red bell pepper and a 27 second finish. There was so much going on in my glass that catching all the flavors took quite a few sips… well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
When enjoying beef many individuals’ go-to is Cabernet Sauvignon, however I often enjoy Syrah with my steak. I find the meaty quality that many Syrah-dominant wines showcase pairs as well with beef as peanut butter pairs with chocolate. This wine, being predominantly Syrah, paired very well with the beef stew I enjoyed for dinner that night. In the end, I found Golden Rule Vineyard’s Cobra to be quite striking!
Mimi Mahl, Guest Blogger
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’.
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!
Last night for Thanksgiving, I decided to pair the Turkey and side dishes with a lovely Arizona Grenache. Arizona Grenache is a special treat and an excellent alternative to Pinot Noir. However, when I opened the Grenache it had cork taint! Cork taint is a mold called 2,4,6 Trichloroanisole or TCA with odors of mold and must. It sometimes smells like a moldy basement. This fault can occur in up to 8% of bottles. The mold is destructive and can also permeate any part of a winery including barrels and walls and even end up in a screw top wine!
Since the Grenache was undrinkable, I decided to open another bottle. This time I chose an Arizona Viognier, which should have paired well with the Turkey, however, this Viognier was smooth when it hit the tip of my tongue but the became quite harsh as it hit the back of my tongue. It was such a disappointment and did not pair well with the delicious dinner. At this point, after cooking all day, I was too tired and frustrated to open a 3rd bottle.
There are fabulous leftovers galore in the house, so tonight, I’ll either open a Pinot Noir, another Viognier or a French Rose’ which I have stashed away. So wish me luck! I hope you had better luck with your Thanksgiving wine and I hope that your leftovers enjoy a taint free wine.
Sue Schurgin, CSW, (Certified Specialist of Wine) is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She loves education and is also a Level 1 Sommelier.