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.
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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.
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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’.
This is not the exciting TV series nor the 1950’s Hollywood hunt but an amazing wine from Golden Rule Vineyards. I love a juicy steak; thus I found the perfect pairing, and thankfully wasn’t blacklisted from my home. The 2014 Golden Rule Vineyards Blacklisted is a delicious blend of 60% Cabernet, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Petit Verdot and hales from our newest AVA in Wilcox, Arizona. This Bordeaux style blend had a beautiful garnet/mahogany color, 14.7% alcohol and a screw top closure. The complex nose offered aromas of blackberry, vanilla, oak, cedar and all spice. On the palate there were additional flavors of cherry, strawberry, and cocoa. It had a lovely lingering finish at around 30 seconds and was nicely full bodied. I had a little left the next day and it held up beautifully. You could hold onto this wine to age for a few more years. So, get Blacklisted and try this delightful wine!
I’m a big fan of Zinfandel, otherwise known as Primativo in Southern Italy and Tribidrag in Croatia. So, I’m always looking for a delicious Zin. One of my favorite stops on my Wilcox wine tour this month was Golden Rule Vineyards. I bought their 2015 Zinfandel, plus many other wines. The GRV Zinfandel is one of the most complex I‘ve sampled in a long time. The color was a lovely garnet with purple overtones. The nose had luscious aromas of bright cherry, raspberry, blackberry almond, and chocolate. On the palate I discovered additional flavors of dark cherry, current, mocha, oak, vanilla, earth and licorice, all of which blended together to create an extremely delicious wine. The finish was around 21 seconds, and I wished it would have gone on forever! The Alcohol by volume was 16.6 %.
I had some left over the next night (can you believe it!) and was surprised at how delicious the wine was the next day. If you’re looking for a wonderful Zinfandel, you don’t have to travel to Italy or Croatia, for we have some fabulous ones right here in Arizona.
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 year I blogged about the 2016 Picpoul Blanc from Chateau Tumbleweed. This week I had the opportunity to try the 2017 vintage which was also sourced from the Cimarron vineyard. The 2017 has 11.8 % alcohol; a little less than the 2016. The color was a very pale lemon and like the 2016 had a very soft mouth feel especially since it was fermented and aged in stainless steel. The acidity was surprisingly mellow since Picpoul, a.k.a. “the lip stinger” can frequently be highly acidic. It was fermented for 35 days in stainless steel and was aged in stainless for an additional 6 months. The residual sugar was .75%.
The nose had nice aromas of stone fruits such as apricots and peaches, minerals and limestone notes. The flavor profile had just a tad of sweetness with notes of stone fruits, eucalyptus and a hint of butterscotch. It had a medium body and around a 20 second finish.
I paired it with a delicious garlic chicken and was pleased with the combination. Just 59 cases of this delightful wine were produced so we’re all breathlessly waiting for our lips to be stung in 2018!
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.