arizona wine blog

2 great value white Bordeaux wines

Usually when I hear “great value”  I think “That’s what nice people say about crappy wine”   But I’ve found myself being pleasantly surprised more often than not these days.  Although the economy seems to have improved since the low point several years back, the wine market seems to have taken a longer time to recover.  From various articles and stories I’ve read recently it appears that people are still in a very strong value centric frame of mind.

With that in mind I present to you, dear reader.  Two white Bordeaux’s that will please your palate as well as your wallet!

white bordeaux bottleChateau Timberlay, 2012 Bordeaux

I had no idea at the time I was tasting this what the history of Chateau Timberlay was.  I posted a pic on Instagram saying that this must be Justin Timberlake’s favorite wine.  But it turns out that this is one of the oldest Chateaus in Bordeaux and dates back to 1366!  Currently the wine falls under the Robert Giraud family of wines. The Giraud family still lives in the Chateau in the middle of the 300+ acre vineyard.  The 2012 vintage is a blend of 60% Sauvignon blanc and 40% Semillon.  The wine was fermented in stainless steel and weighs in at 13% alcohol.

Yellow straw in color, with hints of white peach and lemon.  Medium acidity and a lingering finish.  If you’re a fan of New Zealand style sauv blanc, but want a toned down version this is the wine for you.  Same complexity, just less loud.  The wine retails for about $20.  Weekly Wine Journal Rating 88 points

 

Chateau-de-chantegriveChateau de Chantegrive, 2011 Graves.

Graves is a sub region of Bordeaux and is well known for red wine production.  Personally, I’ve been really impressed with the whites from this region.  The name Graves comes from “Gravelly” which is what the soil is.  Left over glacial gravel from the last ice age.  Chateau de Chantegrive was founded by the Leveque family in 1966 and today the estate has grown to about 230 acres with about 45 acres dedicated to the production of this wine.

The Blend:  50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Semillon

This wine is crisp.  Really crisp.  Sharp.  In a good way.  Think Grapefruit with loads of cool mineral notes.  There is a hint of ripeness of the peach variety that plays into it later on, but it’s barely noticeable.  This wine also retails for about $20.  If you’re like me and like your white wines to be on the bigger bolder more tart and crisp side this is the wine for you.

Weekly Wine Journal rating 91 points

* disclaimer.  I received both of these wines as review samples.

 

 

 

4 inexpensive and tasty Spanish wines

photo(163)

On a recent trip to Orlando Florida I found myself at Whole Foods buying the wine for a business dinner.  I don’t normally shop at Whole Foods where I live in Phoenix because there isn’t one nearby.  It was interesting seeing a new variety of selections to choose from.  I decided to go with an all Spanish mix.

Can Blau 2012

Can Blau 2009

2009 Can  Blau, Montsant Spain

Blend: 40% Carinena, 40% Syrah, 20% Garnacha

Aging: 1 year French oak

This is a big wine.  It would benefit from some decanting.  It has a powerful mouth feel, solid acidity. The fruit profile is predominantly cherry and plum with some toasty oak and pepper notes.

Price Point:  About $10-$15 although I have seen it at Costco for under $10

Weekly Wine Journal rating 87 points, good value.

 

 

2011 Torremoron Ribera del Duero

2011 Torremoron Ribera del Duero

Bodegas Torremoron, Ribera del Duero 2011

Blend: 100% Tempranillo

This wine is a ridiculously good bargain.  The amazing purity of really shines through and is made all the more interesting by the fact that this red wine is un oaked.

Deep and rich, ripe.  Cherries, black berries with licorice and spice.  The color is a beautiful ruby color.  The nose is perfume like, in a subtle way.  The tannins are fantastic with a dusty, earthy, chalky like texture.  If you’re not much of a wine drinker I know that last description sounds awful, but it’s really not.  It’s a mouth feel not a taste.

Price Point: $10-$15

Weekly Wine Journal rating 90 points, amazing deal

 

bodegas LAN Crianza 2008

bodegas LAN Crianza 2008

Bodegas LAN, Rioja Crianza 2008

Blend: 100% Tempranillo

Aging: 12 months American and French oak

This is the lightest wine of the group, not only in color but also in weight and taste.  Light and fruity, yet still tangy and chewy.  The nose is subdued, not apparent at first sniff.  This wine was not my favorite on the first night of it being open so I left the entire bottle out over night.  The next night there was a dramatic improvement.  The wine really came together and benefited from about 24 hours of decanting.

Weekly Wine Journal rating 87 points, a decent wine

 

Bodegas LAN Reserva 2007

Bodegas LAN Reserva 2007

Bodegas LAN, Rioja Reserva, 2007

Blend: 90% Tempranillo, 5% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo

Aging: 15 months American and French oak

Of the  four wines tasted, this was my favorite.  It’s a big wine that doesn’t act like one.  The acidity is in check, the balance of fruit to oak is very nice.  The fruit is dark, predominantly black cherry.  The acidity, oak and ripeness play together nicely like ginger and vanilla and caramel.

Price Point: $15-$20

Weekly Wine Journal rating: 94 points, a great wine.

 

 

 

Maynard James Keenan on Arizona Wine | part two

Maynard James Keenan talks about Arizona Wine

Arizona wine maker - Maynard James Keenan

Arizona wine maker – Maynard James Keenan

Maynard James Keenan was one of the wine makers who spoke at a forum on Arizona terrior at the 2013 Arizona Wine Grower’s Association “Festival on the farm”.  He spoke a little bit about what makes his vineyard site unique while guests were treated to the 2008 Caduceus Cellars “Judith” (sold out)

For more pictures visit Facebook.com/weeklywinejournal

Arizona Wine Festival | Saturday November 16, 2013

Festival at The Farm celebrates success of Arizona’s wineries

 

Photo from the Festival on the Farm at South Mountain 2011

Photo from the Festival on the Farm at South Mountain 2011

PHOENIX – The Arizona Wine Growers Association will celebrate another year of rising national acclaim by raising a glass with the public on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, at The Festival at The Farm. Set among the pecan groves of Phoenix’s intimate The Farm at South Mountain, the fifth-annual festival is a way to sample the best wine from across Arizona, all in one place. 29 local wineries
will be in attendance. The festival is from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and is limited to 1,000 guests. Advance tickets are available through midnight on November 14 at $65. Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $75.

The festival will include an exciting live auction, scheduled for 3:00 p.m., featuring 21 amazing lots from outstanding Arizona wineries including a private wine class for 20, chef-winemaker pairings, vacation packages, one-of-a-kind wine tasting experiences and even a personal wine cellar stocked with Arizona wines. Also on Saturday afternoon will be a special event featuring panelists from several renowned Arizona wineries including Maynard Keenan of Caduceus Cellars.

The seminar, AZ Terroir: Taste the Difference, will begin at 1:45pm. Winemakers and growers from each of Arizona’s three distinct regions will discuss which grapes are doing well and how the terroir is influencing the flavors of the wine.

Wine Review | Robert Craig 2009 Affinity, Napa Valley

Wine Review | Robert Craig 2009 Affinity, Napa Valley

I’ve had the ’09 vintage of Robert Craig’s “Affinity” before, but it recently caught my attention at my local Costco -priced at under $40! I couldn’t pass it up.

Great napa wine

I have an Affinity for this wine!

The blend on the 2009 Affinity is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 2 % Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc.

Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator had estimated the wines maturity to occur  between 2012-2013 and 2017-2023. While there is quite a bit of difference on the back end of that estimate, they are very close on the start. As I write this post it is about halfway through 2013 and this wine is definitely coming into its own right now.

The nose is quintessential Napa.  espresso, cocoa, with floral hints from the Cabernet Franc .  The palate is rich, dark and robust.  Plum and cherry with a solid backbone of tannins provided by the Petit Verdot.

I sampled this over a 24 hour period.  Enjoying the first half of the bottle with grilled Filet Mignon and baked potato with all the fixings.  On the second night I had it just by itself, before dinner.  The wine definitely opened up by the second night, which is not to say it wasn’t ready to drink on the first night.  On the first night I decanted for 15 minutes only.

Retail price on this wine is about $55.  You can expect to pay $80-$120 at a restaurant.

Weekly Wine Journal rating: 96 points

Arizona’s Stage Stop Vineyards 2011 release party

Northern Arizona’s Stage Stop Vineyards is set to release their 2011 vintage this week with a first ever wine tasting at the owner’s house this coming Thursday night.

Arizona Wine Blog

Stage Stop Vineyards 2011 Red Barn Red

The release party is a private-invite only event hosted by Cullum homes and limited to 100 guests who will be joining vineyard owners Melinda, Earl Petznick and their wine maker Eric Glomski.  The cuisine is being catered by Mark Tarbell.

Eric Glomski is the owner and wine maker of award winning Page Springs Cellars.  He was brought in to make this extremely limited 2011 release of Stage Stop Vineyards Estate Grown “Red Barn Red”.  Only 99 cases of this 75% Shiraz, 25% Mourvedre were produced.  Both the ’09 and ’10 vintages are already sold out.

Stage Stop Vineyards is located about 10 miles from Sedona right next to Oak Creek in Northern Arizona’s Verde Valley.  Owners Melinda and Earl Petznick purchased the historic Dancing Apache ranch back in 2002 and began planting in 2006.  The Dancing Apache ranch dates back to the 1800’s and some of the original buildings still remain including the name sake Red Barn, an old school house and a Stage Coach respite house.

Stage Stop Vineyards website

Page Springs Cellars Website

Arizona Winery Burning Tree Cellars | Interview

Another interview in a series of interviews I did with Arizona wine makers at the Festival on the Farm. Corey and Mitch, co-owners of Burning Tree Cellars, spoke with me for a few minutes about their wines

Southeast Arizona Wine Festival 2012

Photo from the Festival on the Farm at South Mountain 2011

Kief-Joshua Vineyards will be hosting the Southeast Arizona wine festival this coming weekend, April 14th and 15th, 2012

Kief-Joshua Vineyard is located in Elgin, Arizona which is about an hour drive Southeast of Tucson.

The first ever Southeast Arizona Wine Festival will feature wine tastings by 17 Arizona wineries and wine makers from all regions of Arizona will be represented.  The festival will also feature two wine education seminars: a wine sensory seminar and a wine pairing seminar.  Sonoita’s Steak Out restaurant will be on hand serving up chicken wings, pulled pork and sirloin sandwiches!

Buzz and the Soulsenders will be entertaining the crowd with their blues styled music too!

Tickets are $15, gates open at 10am.  Tickets can be purchased on site.

Restaurant Review | An Evening at Scottsdale’s Cask 63

Fine wine and dining experiences come in many forms, from cozy home-like settings to fresh and fancy urban settings.  Cask 63, located in Scottsdale’s Gainey Ranch district, is the later.  The owners of Cask 63 American Eatery and Wine Bar purchased an existing restaurant from Fox Restaurants Concepts in late 2011, quickly reworked the menu and restaurant and had it up and running by January 2012.
The mood of the restaurant is modern and hip, and minimalist, which helps keep your attention on the amazing food created by Brian Feirstein, co owner and executive chef.  During my dining experience I was visited by General Manager and Owner Jerry Tingle and we chatted for a while about how Cask 63 came to be and about what they are attempting to achieve.  One of the interesting things to note, is that although the restaurant has it’s own vision and concept of what it wants to be, Jerry and Brian are very much in tune with what their customers want.  Jerry can be found mingling with customers most nights, searching for suggestions on ways to improve the experience.  I find it a nice touch when the owner visits your table and asks for your opinion on things.

For an appetizer I had oysters of the day  paired with Perrier Jouet Champagne.  For a main course I had Australian lamb chops.  These were double bone-in, which gives you a much bigger juicier portion than single bone.  As a fan of lamb, and all grilled meats, I have to say this was one of the best incarnations of this dish I have ever had.  Although I do like ‘gamey” tasting lamb dishes, this dish was not gamey and I could have easily mistook it for beef.  It was delicious.  I paired this with a rather unusual wine…Vall Llach Embruix – Priorat from Spain.  This was a very interesting wine.  It was described to me as the perfect wine for people who like Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot.  Full bodied, smooth, with dark ripe fruit and hints of spice.

As far as the wine goes at Cask 63, you will find many of the standard high end favorites that seem to be prerequisites at wine bars seeking to endear themselves to wine aficionados.  You will find all the well known Napa greats like Silver Oak, Caymus, Far Niente, and Joseph Phelps Insignia. I was happy to see some of my favorite and less well known wines including Ladera Howell Mountain and Justin Isosceles.  Including bubbles the wine list boasts almost 100 names varying in price from $7.50 a glass all the way up to Hundred Acre’s Kayle Morgan Vineyard for $490 a bottle.

Weekly Wine Journal Restaurant Rating: 90 points

Cask63.com

Arizona Wine Festival on the Farm | Nov 19 2011

wine tasting farm at south mountain

Arizona Wine Festival on the Farm, held amongst the pecan groves on The Farm at South Mountain, Phoenix Arizona

The 3rd annual Arizona Wine Grower’s Association Festival on the Farm will be held at The Farm at South Mountain this Saturday, November 29th, 2011

The annual wine festival is THE Arizona Wine event of the year – YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS IT! ;)

The Arizona Wine Festival will feature 20 wineries pouring wines from Arizona’s wine producing regions of Verde Valley, Wilcox, Sonoita and Elgin.  In addition  there will be a People’s Choice wine competition and educational seminars such as Wine Pairings 101.

wine peoples choice award

Wine education seminars and people's choice awards

The Festival will culminate with an amazing auction.  Last year some of the amazing items on the block included dinner for 4 prepared in your home by FnB’s Pavle Milic and Charlene Badman, and the top auction block which fetched $8000 was dinner with Maynard Keenan prepared by Mark Tarbel.

Tickets for the event are still available here: