AZ wine company

Learning about wine | Christine Slomski

Christine Slomski

I recently became acquainted with Christine Slomski through the wonders of the Twitter machine and she expressed an interest in writing and learning about wine.  I decided to invite her and a friend down to my favorite little wine hangout on a Thursday night as they were having an interesting tasting featuring an all star list of Organic Wines.  First a little bit about Christine: She is a branding and marketing professional based in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a self-described “wine novice”, but is  eager to expand her knowledgebase—and her palate.  Here is her impression of the evening:

Arizona Wine Company holds wine tasting events each Thursday, and on March 10, I got my first taste of this tucked away strip mall treasure in Scottsdale. This particular event featured some fantastic California wines, soulful acoustic music, five-star food, and an overall delightful setting for intimate conversation and Wine Country exploration.

My favorite selection of the night was a smooth Dos Fincas Malbec, which tantalized my palate with subtle flavors of plum, raspberry and red spice—the magic elixir I had been waiting for all evening! To add to the experience, I ordered from Atlas Bistro, the small five-star (and Zagat-rated) restaurant hidden in the Wilshire Plaza next to Arizona Wine Company. Chefs Brandon Crouser and Joshua Riesner run the bistro and put me over the moon with a roasted quail entrée (at times I had to block out the images of the little quails I see scurrying across residential streets, but I managed), served alongside spicy mizuna greens and smoky lentils, laced with a sherry reduction sauce. To my surprise, a robust cheese board put together by Chef Joshua was brought out, displaying a variety of goat, cow, sheep and water buffalo cheeses (they say you can milk anything with nipples, right?). Being lactose intolerant my whole life, I was surprised to learn that most aged cheeses are lactose free. With this news, I of course tried every single one. True to Chef Joshua’s knowledge, I awoke the next morning with no symptoms of my allergy. I could get used this!

With wine in one hand and cheese in the other, my companions and I finished the evening listening to the acoustic guitarists gathered in the corner lounge, jamming to improvisation cover songs and original sounds. “It doesn’t get any more intimate than this,” said one of my friends. My eyes spanned the room; I took a sip of my wine; I felt the moment. And true to his point, it really didn’t get any more intimate or any more authentic than the people, the sounds, and the tastes in that room.

Christine Slomski on Twitter

Featured Personality: Robert Lindquist, Qupe Wine Cellars

I recently met Robert (Bob) Lindquist at a wine tasting event at AZ Wine Company in Scottsdale Arizona.  I found out that he was one of the first people in the United States to concentrate on the Rhone varietals.  Earning him a place in wikipedia as one of the “Rhone Rangers”

And there’s big news about a Qupe Tasting Room…

Qupe Wine Cellars Website Here

Wine Review: Carlisle Zinfandel, 2007 Russian River Valley Sonoma, Papera Ranch

Where from? Russian River Valley – Sonoma, CA
How much? $40
Alcohol: 15.2%
Production: 650 Cases

This next wine I’m reviewing is rather special. Wine Spectator recently put out a segment reviewing a few of these Carlisle wines – rating this particular Zinfandel 96 points, and a Syrah of theirs 98 points. Yeah…wow. Put it this way, this is the highest rating Wine Spectator has ever given a Zinfandel. Back in early February on numerous online forums, people were already speculating this bottle’s potential to be the next wine of the year on the annual top 100 list. Now I consider that more than jumping the gun a bit being just over a month into 2010 at that point – though I can certainly see how one could make the argument considering this wine’s rating, price, and desirability. It has absolutely everything going for it, except for one factor…its production (only 650 cases made).

Now I never expected to find this bottle at any retailer. I figured I’d have to track it down through an online distributor, or pick it up through an auction site. I hear Carlisle distributes very little, and with a rating like that, and only 650 cases made – I was convinced that what little bit could have been shipped out to any retailer in Arizona would be long gone by now. Fortunately, I was wrong. I made a trip into AZ Wine Company in Scottsdale for my very first time this week. I have to say, I was impressed. I saw several wines that I couldn’t find anywhere else. After walking through several aisles, and eyeing numerous bottles, I spotted the Carlisle Zin. At first I thought there was no way, this had to be another one of their Zinfandels, and not the recent 96 pointer. But after a moment on my iPhone, I quickly realized this was in fact it. Some how there were 3 bottles sitting right in front of me…and of course I purchased every last one of them.

I know I know, I keep going on and on about being fortunate enough to actually find a few bottles of this wine. Let’s get on to the review already right? Well here we go. In the glass this wine is a very deep magenta color with a ruby rim. The nose displays a beautiful floral bouquet with black raspberries, cherries, and a complex mineral element. Simply sensational nose, it really draws you into the glass. I took my first taste after just 30 minutes in the decanter and was shocked. For how apparently young this wine is right now, it was extremely accessible in such a short period of time. This wine will benefit from another 2 to 5 years in the bottle minimum.

This wine is a stunner. It’s powerful, but completely well-balanced. Like a well made, finely-tuned sports car – it’s running at 150 mph, yet incredibly smooth and controlled. Amazing concentrated dark semi-jammy fruit with ample acidity. White pepper sings across your palate in perfect balance with the ripe cherries and raspberries. The finish is long with beautiful fleshy tannins. It leaves your mouth coated with flavor.

After an hour or two, the soft jammy berries are in perfect harmony. Simply put, this Zinfandel may very well be amongst the pinnacle of its varietal. Certainly the best that I have ever tasted, and it’s only going to get better with time. 97-98 points is where I score this wine. This is what a Zin is all about, you’d be hard pressed to improve on this.

Ryan O’Connor


Visit to AZ Wine Company, Scottsdale Arizona

I recently dropped by AZ Wine Company and visited with Kelly, the manager.  He took me on a tour of the store, as well as pointed out a few of the exclusive wines.  These are wines that are not sold anywhere else outside of the vineyard.  The great thing about AZ Wine company on Scottsdale road in sunny Scottsdale Arizona, is there is the Atlas restaurant right next door.  There is a doorway between the two places.  You can buy your wine and go next door to the restaurant, or if you attending a wine tasting you can have the food brought into the wine store.  What a great combination!