This past week I had the pleasure of tasting the 2015 Keeling Schaefer FarmersMouvedre. Mouvedre is perhaps a grape that many new to wine have only tasted in a GSM blend, but Arizona is proud of our Mouvedre and we produce many single varietal Mourvedres wines as well as GSMs. The color of this wine was a very dark garnet and had a tantalizing aroma of wood smoke. Other notes in the nose were mesquite, pipe tobacco, sage and plumb. On the palate were delicious flavors of dried cranberries, plumb, cassis, and more wood smoke. The ABV of the 2015 Mourvedre was 14.2% and the finish lasted for about 23 seconds. This Mourvedre was quite bold and once it opened up, showcased extreme complexity.
My mother and I had the good fortune of having opened up a 2015 Spanish Monastrell, (the name for Mouvedre in Spain) the night before and decided to try the two side by side. The Soul Monastrell from Jumilla had won 91 points from James Suckling and was a well-received wine. However, upon tasting the 2015 Soul Monastrell next to the 2015 Keeling Schaefer Mouvedre, the Monastrell seemed a little one-note. The Monastrell was pleasurable drinking, but the one flavor that over powered everything in the wine was, baking vanilla. When compared to the complexity and multitude of flavors the Keeling Schaefer Mouvedre showcased, the Monastrell just seemed like easy drinking. Arizona wine is still a small-production scene. We are walking behind the footsteps of giants when it comes to how MUCH we produce, but we are never dwarfed when it comes to WHAT we are producing!
Mimi Mahl, guest blogger
#mourvedre, #monastrell, #keelingschaefer, #arizonawine, #spanishwine, #GSM, #rhonevarietals, #mimimahl, #farmersmourvedre, #cochisecounty
The 2016 Deep Sky Vineyards Quasar is as unique as its astronomical namesake. The Quasar had a lovely ruby hue and decently defined legs. This 100% Counoise had a bold nose of black cherry, dust, and hints of meatiness. The palate increased the hints of meaty aroma along with notes of green bell pepper, earth, and sour cherry. The finish was smooth and lasted around 21 seconds. The ABV wasn’t too high coming in at 13.9%. This Counoise was vibrant as it opened up in the glass and paired extremely well with the dark chicken, bok choy, and pasta we enjoyed for dinner.
Arizona has a fondness for Rhone varietals both red and white. So it shouldn’t be surprising that AZ has taken to growing Counoise as well as several other reds that originated in the Rhone Valley of France. Counoise is even one of the 18 approved varieties that can be used to make Chateuneuf du Pape. One of my favorite things about Deep Sky Vineyard is its inclination to name their wines after astrological phenomenon, like the Big Bang Mouvedre or the Aurora Viognier. This tendency shows a passion for both great wines and wondrous events in our universe that are far bigger than us! This beautiful Deep Sky Quasar Counoise is as bright and exciting as the flash of light it is named for.
#deepskyvineyard, #Quasar, #Counoise, #azwine, #Chateuneufdupape, #rhonevarietal, #ElginArizona, #CochiseCounty, #uniquewinevarietals
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
Grenache is a grape variety that does extremely well in Arizona. I frequently direct Pinot Noir lovers to try our Arizona Grenache. Grenache or Garnacha as it is called in Spain, is renowned in Rioja, Spain and the Rhone Valley of France. It also grows extensively in the United State and Australia. It is frequently used as a blending grape with Syrah and Mourvedre. However, you’ll frequently find it is a wonderful single varietal wine in Arizona.
I bought a bottle of the Keeling Schaefer 2016 Two Reds Grenache on my Wilcox trip, a blend of 92% Grenache and 8 % Syrah. The color was a beautiful Ruby Rose. It showcased luscious aromas of dark cherry, oak, smoke and melon. The palate had a delightful velvety feel with additional flavors of strawberry, raspberry and pepper. The finish was around 16 seconds. The winemakers also note additional flavors of sage, prickly pear and incense. The wine has 14.2% alcohol and is one of my favorite Grenaches in the state and 319 cases were produced. At under $20 a bottle, it’s a real steal! If you’re a Pinot Noir lover, it’s time to give this Grenache a try.
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!
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.