Callaghan Vineyards

2 Quick Video Interviews | Cellar Dwellers | Callaghan Vineyards

Flip cam interviews from the 3rd annual Arizona Wine Growers Association Festival on the Farm

Cellar Dwellers:

Callaghan Vineyards:


For more pictures visit

An evening at Quiessence restaurant | Phoenix Arizona

The entrance to Quiessence


The garden at the entrance

I recently had reason to celebrate and was looking for somewhere really special to take my business partners.  In the year and a half I have been wine blogging I have been introduced to many of the valley’s top dining establishments and so I found it to be a rather difficult choice.  Well the decision came down to several factors.  First, could the restaurant accommodate a table of 7 at 6:30 P.M. on a Saturday night.  Secondly, and more importantly, could they accommodate guests with gluten allergies.  And last but not least, would this place have the special kind of ambience fitting of kind of feel I was going for.  I decided to pose the question to my Twitter followers and quite quickly the consensus was Quiessence.

The front dining room over looks the garden

I was first introduced to Quiessence restaurant on The Farm at South Mountain last November when the Arizona Wine Grower’s Association Awards Dinner was held there.  The setting is truly remarkable, nestled in the back of the Farm at South Mountain, just a few minutes south of downtown Phoenix.

We arrived and were seated and I quickly perused the wine list.  Actually I had been online earlier in the day looking at the wine list but for some reason the reds were not showing up and I emailed the restaurant about it.  Amazingly I received an email from the chef’s wife with a pdf attachment which included the complete wine list.

wine bottle with candle

2008 Callghan Cabernet

For wine I chose one of Arizona’s best producers: Kent Callaghan’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoita a.v.a.  Quiessence actually has one of the most if not the most comprehensive Arizona wine lists.  On it you will find many of the top producers that Arizona has to offer.

For starter I had a salad: Shaved asparagus, Pancetta, and Poulet egg with Maya’s greens, shaved red onions, parmesan croutons and creamy rosemary buttermilk dressing.  Maya’s farm is a 2 acre farm located right on the property.  The pancetta really added a wonderful zest to the creation.

For my main meal I had beef shank pizzaiola.  The beef was so tender and was seasoned with a spicy olive oil.  The beef was sourced locally from Power Ranch.  The 07 Callaghan Cab was really a great compliment to the meat.  The wine is a bold and powerful spicy cab with a hint of Arizona terroir.  Callaghan’s 25 acre vineyard is located in South Eastern Arizona at an elevation of 4,800 feet Restaurant price was $54 a bottle and well worth it.

One thing to note about dinning at Quiessence is that you should expect to make an evening out of it.  Creating dishes that focus as much on presentation as taste is not something you whip together on a production line.  Our dinner lasted a little over 3 hours.  Just as we began to wonder if the next course was coming, it magically appeared.  There is a lot to be said for riding that fine line of anticipation!  and doing it well.

I took a little walk about to take some video footage and I ran into Todd Bostock sitting at the wine bar.  Todd is owner and wine maker at Dos Cabezas Wineworks right next door to Callaghan’s.  Todd is also the former president of the Arizona Wine Grower’s Association.  He was relaxing, enjoying a glass of wine after attending the Scottsdale Culinary Festival.  When you dine at these kinds of places you never know who you will run into!

For dessert we enjoyed a confectionary tray which included among other delights chocolate truffles, chocolate and caramel covered pecans. I also enjoyed Justin Vineyard’s “Obtuse” which is an American style Port.  It paired very well with the decadent chocolate ice cream I was gobbling down.

Quiessence Website

Arizona Wine Grower’s Award Banquet reception review

Video of the scenery at Quiessence:

Arizona Judgment: Arizona Wines Vs. the World wine competition RESULTS

June 2nd 2010, Arizona wines faced off against wines from around the world in a blind competition.  The results were stunning.  Let’s take a look…

1st place white: Callaghan Vineyards, 2008 Lisa’s.  Unfortunately this wine seems to be sold out.

1st place red:  Caduceus Cellars, 2008 Judith

These wines were pitted against the likes of Santa Margherita,

Assessing the juice

Conundrum, Doyenne Metier, Turley and Cakebread.  The red matchups included Ruffino Chianti Classico, Mollydooker the boxer, Condado de Haza, Cotes du Rhone E. Guigal and Chateau Lynch Bages.

Here is the top 5 for white wines and red wines:

1. Callaghan 2008 ‘Lisa’s Arizona
2. Santa Margherita 2008 Pinot Grigio Italy
3. Cakebread Cellars 2008 Chardonnay California
4. Caduceus 2008 ‘Dos Ladrones’ Arizona
5. Carlson Creek 2008 Chardonnay Arizona

1. Caduceus 2008 ‘Nagual del Judith’ Arizona
2. Condado de Haza 2006 Ribiera del Duero Spain
3. Keeling Schaefer 2007 ‘Three Sisters’ Syrah Arizona
4. Arizona Stronghold 2008 ‘Nachise’ Arizona
5. Mollydooker 2008 ‘The Boxer’ Shiraz Australia

The judges were:

Gary Vaynerchuck- Winelibrary, and Vayner Media

Laura Williamson- Master Sommelier

The panelists

Chris Bianco-  Pizzeria Bianco

Payton Curry – Cafe Boa

Mark Tarbell-  Tarbell’s restaurant

Tadeo Borchardt – wine maker at California’s Neyers Vineyards

Anne Rosenzweig – New York City award winning chef

The judges tasted all the wines in a blind setting.  First they were brought 10 glasses of white wine and when they were done analyzing those, they were brought 10 glasses of red wine. They analyzed elements of each wine according to Sommelier Journal’s guidelines and rated on the Journal’s 20 point system.  1 point would represent a wine that has absolutely no redeeming qualities, and 20 points would represent a wine that has every redeeming quality. They analyzed the color, aroma, acidity, structure and balance., as well as mouthfeel and finish.  The room was very quiet during the judging as the panelists were not allowed to talk to each other and the press was not allowed to talk to the panelists.  There were 15 traditional media outlets and 4 non traditional -aka bloggers on hand.  When the judges were finished, their scores were collected and emailed to the Denver offices of Sommelier Journal for tabulation and analysis.  While everyone was waiting Journalists and Bloggers interacted with the judges.  During this time judges began speculating on where some of the wines were from.  One one in particular apparently had very distinct Bordeaux like qualities which must have been the 2005 Chateau Lynch Bages from Bordeaux.  Later on the scores came back via email and the results were revealed.  At this time the room was a buzz with activity.  Rhonni Moffit, executive director of The Arizona Wine Growers Association was on the phone ecstatically phoning her members to tell the good news.  Bloggers were texting furiously the results to twitter.  Cameras flashed and filmed.

In all in all the event was a super success for Arizona wines.  The positive attention will go a long way to educating the local public as well as the general public on the fact that best of Arizona wines can compete with the best of the world.