The Willcox vineyards are in veraison—grapes are ripening–and others throughout the state of Arizona are at the same stage. Indeed, an exciting time, with harvest just around the corner.
Grown in similar soil and under nearly the same growing conditions, it is intriguing that the quality and distinction of each Arizona wine released become more astounding than the last. Author Terry Theise puts my thoughts best in Reading between the Vines:
I want to live in a world of thousands of different wines, wines whose differences are deeper than zip code, each of them revealing fragments of the unending variety and fascination of this lovely green world on which we walk.
I’ve arrived in that place and time. It’s been my pleasure to enjoy many of the recent releases by Willcox winemakers this past month—there is such an unending variety; I am continuously fascinated.
Sand-Reckoner Vineyards released three new wines this summer—2012 Rosé, 2012 Mavasia Bianca, and the 2011 “2”. I can’t pick a favorite from the pack, but this summer I have become a big fan of the Arizona Rosés being produced. The Sand-Reckoner Rosé blend of Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel is dry and bright with an aroma of berries and limestone with grapefruit on the palate. A nice summer sipper, but wonderful with grilled seafood or a salad as well.
Zarpara Vineyards has released its 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, and it’s crisp, bright, and bursting with citrus and pear on the nose and palate. This wine is a celebration of the first grapes from the Zarpara vineyard, harvested in August 2012. This light Sauv Blanc made a delightful pairing with our fresh green beans with pork and potatoes.
From Coronado Vineyards, I’ve tried two of their new releases, the 2012 Riesling and the 2012 Sangiovese. Love them both! The Riesling is dry, with notes of apricot and honeydew melon, and was perfect with the Caprese salad and cheeses we enjoyed. Coronado has several others new releases coming in August.
Respect from Wine Spectator
It’s not every day that Arizona wines gain respectful recognition beyond the state’s borders. Two wines grown in the Colibri Vineyards near Portal, on the eastern foothills of the Chiricahua National Monument, earned that elusive Wine Spectator rating of 90. Eric Glomski’s 2010 Colibri Syrah Clone 174 and Burning Tree 2010 Colibri Syrah both claim those honors. Congratulations go to Glomski and company (Page Springs Cellars) as well as Mitch Levy and Cory Turnbull (Burning Tree Cellars).
In its Aug. 31 print edition, Wine Spectator included an Arizona listing, something that’s been missing for a long while. Listed were 10 other Arizona wines. Congratulations to winemakers Kent Callaghan, Sam Pillsbury, and Todd Bostock, whose wines were also listed with high scores.
Previous Arizona wines to earn Wine Spectator ratings in the very good category hail from Keeling Schaefer, Arizona Stronghold, and Sand-Reckoner.
While such ratings are mostly subjective, it’s a good sign that those who create these “standards” are taking a fresher look at Arizona wines. If you haven’t tried Arizona wines lately, your palate deserves the adventure. Cheers!