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.