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!
One of the worlds most famous wines Cabernet Sauvignon, is a cross between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. So what is Cab Franc? It is one of the varietals in a Bordeaux blend and is frequently used in blends. It's also a parent of Merlot, tends to ripen early as well, and is softer than Cabernet Sauvignon. However, it is the main red grape in Chinon and Bourguell; wines from Touraine’s in the Loire Valley region of Northern France.
In honor of Cab Franc Day, I chose a 100% Arizona estate wine called Primos de Bordeaux from Rio Claro wines at Clear creek Vineyards. This 2012 wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Merlot and has 13.9% alcohol. It is a medium bodied dry wine and showcases aromas of cherries, berries and brandy notes. The palate also offers flavors of vanilla and earth. The finish comes in at around 37 seconds.
You’ll want to decant the wine for about 45 minutes to bring out the full flavors. It paired beautifully with my grilled steak and garlic green beans. So I'm happy today to honor Cab Franc and its many relatives!
This week’s wine of the week is a Meritage pronounced like “Heritage”. I chose the Kirkland, Napa Valley 2013 Meritage, which was cellared and bottle by DC Flynt MW Selections, Hopland, California (Mendocino) AVA. It is a classic style Bordeaux blend with 61% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 7% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot. The wine has 14.5% alcohol and a beautiful garnet color. The nose showcased notes of earth and dark fruit. The palate was powerful and fruit forward with flavors of oak, dark cherry, plum, earth and berries. The tannins were smooth and velvety and the finish ran around 38 seconds.
I found it extremely difficult to pair this wine. It should have gone well with my steak, but the flavor was way too overpowering, competing with the meat and not in the least bit complementary. It would probably work better with a strong cheese. I’ve had some great Bordeaux blends that are predominately Merlot and this did not do the blend justice.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.