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.
On a recent visit to the newly opened Bodega Pierce, I was thrilled to have both a light flight and bold flight. So what is a Bodega? It could be a cellar, grocery store, wine shop, bar, a place to store coffee or even a vineyard. Many of the vineyards I visited in Medoza, Argentina had Bodega in their names.
It was exciting to see the 2017 Malvasia Bianca on the light flight menu. The 2017 is quite different than the 16 for it has lovely notes of gooseberry. Also, on the light flight was a delightful Chardonnay ML, Grenache Rose’, the Athena, a delicious blend of Grenache, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Tempranillo (one that I purchased) and the Emotiva, a super Tuscan style blend.
The bold flight included a GSM, Merlot, Graciano and Gallia, a Cabernet forward and Merlot, Bordeaux style blend. The other wine I sampled that was not on the bold flight was the 100% Cabernet Franc, which I also ended up purchasing. Each wine I tasted was excellent and I wish I had it in my budget to purchase all of them! Bodega Pierce is now open Thursday thru Sunday, so I hope you have the opportunity to stop by the new Bodega!
Zinfandel is one of my favorite grape varieties! It is known by many names including Primativo in Italy and Crljenak Kaštelanski and Tribidrag in Croatia. I recently tried the 2015 Legacy Zinfandel from Javelina Leap Vineyard and Winery. This 100% Estate Zinfandel won Silver Medals at both the San Francisco Chronicles 2017 Wine Competition and the 2017 Arizona Republic Wine Competition. In 2013 and 2014 they won Gold Medals at the San Francisco Chronicle wine competition. The vines were planted in 2005 on the slope of an extinct volcano on their property. Their Estate Zin is always one I recommend to my guests to try on a visit to their winery or remote tasting room in Sedona.
This dry, medium bodied wine has a lovely nose with Black Cherry and prune notes. The palate offers delicious flavors of blackberry, cassis, vanilla and current. The finish is delightfully smooth and consistent and runs around 30 seconds. The alcohol content is 15%. So, if you’re looking for an Arizona Zinfandel, this is definitely an excellent choice!
Over 75% of wine grapes grown in Arizona come from the Wilcox and Sonoita area. When traveling through Sedona and the Verde Valley, you’ll find grapes growing in Page Springs, Cottonwood, Camp Verde, Clarkdale the Village of Oak Creek and Jerome, yet no commercial wineries exist in Sedona. It’s interesting to note, that the first commercial vineyard in Arizona was just outside of Sedona. The owner of Red Rock Winery, Henry Schuerman, a baker from Germany and his wife Dorette had 76 acres under vine close to Sedona. They planted Zinfandel and supplied miners and other locals with their single varietal wine. Unfortunately, Schuerman was arrested during Prohibition and lost his vines as Oak creek changed it’s course and ruined the vineyard, with few vines surviving.
It took until the 1970’s for the Arizona wine industry to reboot again and it’s growing almost exponentially in both the Northern and Southern parts of the State. Winning the “Best in Show” at the San Francisco Chronicles wine competition in both Viognier and Montepulciano, along with multiple Gold and Double Gold Medals, Arizona can be very proud of our growth. achievements and delicious wine.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.