A favorite location of my beer tour guests is the State Bar in Old Town Cottonwood. Many guests have been raving about the Coffee Kolsch from Huss Brewing. A Kolsch is somewhat of a cross between and Ale and a Lager. Originally from Germany, a Kolsch is fermented at warmer temperatures like an Ale, then lagered at cooler temperatures and should be served cold. The delicious Coffee Kolsch from Huss Brewing out of Tempe, AZ had a transparent golden color with 4.7% alcohol and 16 IBU’s. The head retention lasted 55 seconds. Though I’ve had a few Kolsches in my day, this was my first coffee Kolsch, and the aroma smelled of fresh ground coffee with vanilla notes. It also had delightful flavors of coffee, hazelnut, coconut, cocoa and caramel. It was well balanced and had a very velvety mouth feel with the finish lasting around 32 seconds. This will be my summer favorite. I kept dreaming of pairing it with a coffee cake or cheese cake.
Ashley Kahlo at the State Bar, continued offering excellent service when I sampled the Big Bunny, Stillwater Artisanal, AZ Wilderness Collab Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout, the Sun-up, Vanilla Porter and the Barrio, Mocha Java Nitro Stout.
Arizona brewing continues to surprise and delight beer enthusiasts. So, Coffee Kolsch lovers, head to the State Bar and raise a glass to AZ Craft!
While continuing to explore wine varietals, I found a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux, France. The 2017 Les Portes de Bordeaux, Appellation Bordeaux Controlee, is a dry Sauvignon Blanc with 12% alcohol. This easy drinking wine had a light straw color with lovely aromas of grass, grapefruit, and lime. On the palate there were additional notes of melon, apricot and a tad of gooseberry. It was well balanced, not too acidic and had a 19 second finish.
I paired it with a rosemary chicken, but felt it would go well with a light fish or mild goat cheese. At less than $8 at Trader Joes, this is a steal!
Last night my daughter and I attended a wonderful potluck party at The Art of Wine. There was a plethora of food and fabulous wines. One of the food highlights of the evening was my daughter’s Pao de Queijo, cheese bread, a delicious, gluten free bread, made with tapioca flour, oil, eggs, milk, water and parmesan cheese. The bread paired beautifully with the 2014 Bodegas Beronia Verdejo, from the region of Castillo y Leon, Spain, Rueda DO. This white wine had a lovely light yellow color. The nose offered tropical notes and additional aromas of stonefruit and gooseberry. The palate had refreshing acidity with additional herbaceous flavors. At less than $15 this is a good choice. Their 2016 vintage won a Gold medal at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles and a 2016 Vintage Bacchus award. The 2017 vintage is also Vegan!
Some of my other favorites for the evening were the Bodega 2105 La Flor Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina and not shown in the photo the Nederberg 2014 Pinotage from Paarl, South Africa plus the Parallele 45, Cote du Rhone Rose’ which was a lovely blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah.
As you attend all of your holiday parties, I hope you enjoy your wine and bread as much as I did.
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!
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!
I hadn’t had a Chianti in a while and discovered a 2015 Fontella Chianti DOCG from Casa Girelli in my wine cooler. I love Sangiovese! The wine had 12.5% alcohol by volume and a lovely garnet/ruby color. It had a medium body and was quite smooth and velvety. There were cherry and raspberry notes on the nose which carried onto the palate, with additional flavors of oak, cedar and vanilla. On the winemaker’s website, it states that it is a blend of Sangiovese and Cannaiolo. They also stated that it was fermented in stainless steel and aged for three months in large Slavonian (from Croatia) oak barrels. The grapes are sourced from various vineyards in the Chianti DOCG region in Tuscany where Sangiovese is King, but bottled in Trento, in the Northern part of Italy. The finish came in at around 18 second. James Suckling rated this delightful wine at 90 points and for around $10 per bottle it’s an excellent Chianti value you can do!
Last night for Thanksgiving, I decided to pair the Turkey and side dishes with a lovely Arizona Grenache. Arizona Grenache is a special treat and an excellent alternative to Pinot Noir. However, when I opened the Grenache it had cork taint! Cork taint is a mold called 2,4,6 Trichloroanisole or TCA with odors of mold and must. It sometimes smells like a moldy basement. This fault can occur in up to 8% of bottles. The mold is destructive and can also permeate any part of a winery including barrels and walls and even end up in a screw top wine!
Since the Grenache was undrinkable, I decided to open another bottle. This time I chose an Arizona Viognier, which should have paired well with the Turkey, however, this Viognier was smooth when it hit the tip of my tongue but the became quite harsh as it hit the back of my tongue. It was such a disappointment and did not pair well with the delicious dinner. At this point, after cooking all day, I was too tired and frustrated to open a 3rd bottle.
There are fabulous leftovers galore in the house, so tonight, I’ll either open a Pinot Noir, another Viognier or a French Rose’ which I have stashed away. So wish me luck! I hope you had better luck with your Thanksgiving wine and I hope that your leftovers enjoy a taint free wine.
The 3rd Thursday of November is the release of Beaujolais Nouveau in the Burgundy region of France. This year it falls on November 15th. Beaujolais Nouveau is made from the Gamay grape and frequently served on Thanksgiving. This year is purported to be an excellent year for Beaujolais in France. The grapes are fermented for only a few weeks and then bottled. The release of Beaujolais Nouveau is celebrated in France with major festivities including music and fireworks. Georges Duboeuf is a popular brand seen in American stores, however this is not a wine that you want to age, so I’d recommend drinking it within a few months.
If you’re not a Beaujolais Nouveau fan, why not try a delicious Arizona Grenache, Pinot Noir or Rose. Yes, we do grow Pinot Noir in Arizona! Bodega Piece and Page Springs have excellent ones. For Grenache, try one from Pillsbury. For Rose, most of our wineries have a rose and Merkin has a variety of them. For my table, an Arizona Grenache will be accompanying this year’s turkey.
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!
I always love trying unique wine grape varieties. This week I added Falanghina to my list. Falanghina is a white wine that hales from the DOC of Irpinia in Campania, which is in the Southwestern part of Italy. The 2016 Terredora Dipaolo, Corti di Giso, Irpinia DOC, Falanghina had an inviting nose with notes of stone fruit of peach and apricot plus citrus aromas of grapefruit. The palate offered additional notes of honeysuckle and minerals, was not too acidic and had a nice mouthfeel. This dry white wine had a medium body with a finish of around 22 seconds. The cost was around $18 a bottle. I paired it with salmon and yet felt it was not in balance. There are many better white Italian wines for the price. However, I would like to try some other Falanghina’s to compare, and I'd love to travel to Naples to do it!
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.