Page 38 - the Noise October 2017
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utumn has finally arrived here in
. Northern Arizona; that beloved season filled with falling leaves, cooling temperatures, and pumpkin spice infused everything. It is also a season for transition; time to bring out the bottles of red for cold winter nights. It is the season for finishing up fermentation, and racking everything in barrels to wait for the bottle and the shelf. Most importantly, however, October is time for Halloween, which means candy. Lots and lots of candy. In the spirit of the season, I thought I’d pair some of our fantastic
Arizona wines with candy you can steal from your child’s trick-or-treating haul. Or... you know, buying aforementioned candy yourself, since you’re a grownup and don’t need to rely on stealing candy from a baby to get what you want. Without further ado, let’s get started. All pairings are based on a combination of flavor of the given candy, and texture of the sweet item in question, and how well it goes with the flavor and mouth-feel of the featured wine.
Chardonnay is often touted as the premiere pairing for the often-maligned dark horse candy of Halloween: Candy Corn. This actually makes a great deal of intuitive sense, as Char- donnay often has the same sort of reputation in many circles. Sourced from Al Buhl Memorial
Vineyard in the Willcox AVA, the 2016 Trademarked (formerly called The Matriarch) is a stellar example of this often-ridiculed grape. Winemaker Corey Turnbull elected to take a Burgundian approach to his latest vin- tage, aging this wine in 10% new French oak for 10 months, and inhibit- ing malolactic fermentation. On the nose, rich aromas of vanilla inter- mingle with smoked Meyer lemon, grapefruit, green apple and apricot, with a slight hint of limestone dust. On the palate, the vibrant acidity of this vintage stands like a granite monolith against a backdrop of rich
apricots, sliced pears, limestone, cliff rose, peaches, and starfruit. The finish of this wine lasts for 1 minute and 10 seconds. The Burgundian-style flavor profile of the 2016 Trademarked will also pair rather well with a few other Halloween candies, namely Butterfingers, and Star- bursts. Grab your bottle from their tasting room in Old Town Cottonwood for $28.
For fans of the peanut buttery goodness of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, look no further than the 2015 Chupacabra. This Rhone-style Blend has been a staple of MJ Keenan’s Merkin label for many years; the 2015 vintage is a blend of 45% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre, sourced from Al Buhl Memorial Vineyard, in the Willcox AVA. Aged in both neutral and new French oak barriques, the Chupacapra is a classic take on the GSM blends we do so well here. On the nose, this wine opens with notes of cherry, rhubarb, petrichor, vanilla, violets, latakia pipe tobacco, anise, and rich earth. The palate of this medium-bodied red is a bit young and very tight at first, with cherry, leathery tannins, and tobacco notes. After the wine opens, ad- ditional notes of anise, black pepper, dust, and violets emerge on the palate. The finish of this wine lasts for 50 seconds, and is filled with notes of anise and raspberry. A bottle of this
wine will run you $24 at the Merkin Osteria in Old Town Cottonwood.
I love Shiraz, and Shiraz-based blends. This côte-rotie style co-ferment of 97% Shiraz and 3% Symphony from Pillsbury Wine Company is one of my favorites to be found in any tast- ing room of the Verde Valley. Sourced from Sam’s vineyard in the Willcox AVA, the 2014 Guns and Kisses is a stellar example of the Shriraz/Syrah wines (it’s the same grape, sort of) that we make here in Arizona. The nose of this wine is rich, with aromas of petrichor, lilac, black cherry, plum, and orange blossom. On the palate, this wine is a rich medley of medium tannins, vanilla, dark cherry, cedar, frankincense, and incense. The finish of this wine lasts for 56 seconds, filled with dank, rich earth, ex- plosive, bright fruit, and lilac. This vintage was made by James Callahan and Sam Pillsbury working in tandem. The rich flavor profile of the Guns and Kisses will work quite well with Snickers and Tootsie Rolls. A bottle of this wine will be $65.
Malbec has been gaining in popularity quite a bit lately, and it’s good to see some Ari- zona versions of this Argentinian mainstay. Considering the climate and soil geology of the Willcox region, it is perhaps no surprise that this grape seems to be here in Arizona to stay — great news if you’re trying to pair with Hershey’s Chocolate or M&Ms. (Fun Fact: Malbec is originally from Bor- deaux!) Made by John Scarbrough, the 2016 Fire is technically a blend of 87% Malbec (Sourced from Carlson Creek Vineyard), and 13% Mer- lot (sourced from Paso Robles). The nose of this wine opens with the classic Malbec notes of jammy plum, raspberry, blackberry, cassis, and black cherry, intermingling with notes of vanilla and petrichor. This full-
bodied red wine has some big, leathery tannins, and rich mulberry, blackberry, and cedar notes on the palate, intermingling with violets, plum, and black pepper. The finish lasts for 57 seconds, with nice acidity and rich tannins, intermingling with earth and petrichor. A bottle of the 2016 Fire will cost you $33.
The 2013 Dala is a stellar example of Cabernet Sauvignon from Arizona Stronghold that will be great with the Twix and Kit-Kats in your stash. Sourced from Bonita Springs Vineyard on the other side of Willcox from the Bench, this wine was again made by Corey Turnbull
in his stint in the cellars. This big, bold red opens on the nose with aromas of rich vanilla and cedar, intermingling with black cherry, cas- sis, anise, and Willcox dust. On the palate, this full-bodied red seems at first only lightly tannic, but this is a deception. Instead, this wine saves its big, leathery tannins for a robust finish. Additional notes on the pal- ate include anise, cherry, rhubarb, and strawberry, intermingling with woody vanilla, those aforementioned tannins, and sage. The finish of this wine lasts for 1 minute and 4 seconds. The 2013 Dala is the only
wine in this article that will be easily acquired away from the tasting room, as it is distrib- uted in many Arizona supermarkets, such as Safeway. The tasting room price for this bottle is $18. Pair this wine with the Kit-Kats and Twix bars in your stash.
The Cellar 433 Tasting room overlooks the dramatic vista of the Verde Valley, provid- ing one of the best views of any tasting room in the state, pairing well with their unique blends. If you are seeking to pair your tart candy, such as Sweet Tarts, Red-Hots, Skittles,
and Sour Patch Kids, The Moon from their Bitter Creek label will seem tailor-made for this purpose. This non-vintage blend of equal parts Gewürtztraminner, Malvasia Bianca, and Pinot Grigio is sourced from Dragoon Mountain Vineyard, and was made by John McLaughlin. On the nose, this light-bodied white wine opens with aromas of rose pet- als, tangerine, pears, and honey, with just a hint of limestone mineral- ity. On the palate, this wine contains hints of orange peel, white tea, green apples, and pears, intermingling with allspice, honey, and that
classic Willcox minerality. The finish of this wine lasts for 54 seconds and is filled with strik- ing acidity, honey, and white tea. A bottle of The Moon will cost you $18.
Nebbiolo is a grape much beloved by wine geeks the world over, as it is known for pro- ducing some of the most famous Italian wines in the world. Made by Jason Domanico, the 2014 Nebbiolo from Passion Cellars is a uniquely Arizona take on this grape that will pair
well with any Crunch bars or Krackel that you acquire on All Hallow’s Eve. These grapes were sourced from Dragoon Mountain Vineyards, near Willcox, and the vintage was aged in French oak for 24 months. While ghostly pale in color, this wine is a lot more than meets the eye. The classic aromas of “tar and roses” associated with this grape emerge on the nose, intermingling with notes of anise, petrichor, dust, straw- berries, and raspberries. This wine has a hefty load of woody tannins and bright acidity, which play well with other flavor notes: mint, rasp-
berry, cherry, anise, and earth. The finish of this wine lasts for 1 minute and 4 seconds, and is filled with dust, anise, and hints of vanilla. If you like Nebbiolo, this is a wine that should not be missed. A bottle of this wine will cost you $35 in the tasting room, located across from the House of Joy in Jerome.
At 12PM-5PM on October 14, the Verde Valley Wine Consortium will be celebrating their first Dia Del Vino Rojo event. This event celebrates local music and local red wines, and will take place on the streets of Old Town Cottonwood.
No list of October events would be complete without mentioning the Willcox Wine Country Fall Festival, taking place in Railroad Park in downtown Willcox on October 21- 22. This festival features 16 Willcox Arizona Farm Wineries, top music acts from Phoenix and Tucson, a Street Bistro featuring Dante’s Fire in Tucson, along with over 45 local artists, crafts, and locally grown pistachios and pecans.
On October 28 at 5 PM, the Southwest Wine Center will be having its annual Wine and Dine in the Vines event, which is an evening showcase of Arizona wines and fine foods. This event features over 30 Arizona wineries and restaurants. Proceeds will directly benefit scholarships for the Southwest Wine Center’s Viticulture and Oenology program, as well as various events and student activities.
The Second Annual Arizona Wine Symposium and Grand Tasting will be taking place on Saturday November 10th at The Farm on House Mountain. Hosted by the Arizona Vi- gneron’s Alliance, this event starts at 10 AM and lasts throughout the day, featuring wine tastings and lectures from Arizona winemakers and members of the industry.
Harvest has largely finished in Arizona by October — in fact, this year, due to the extreme heat of June and early July, the only vineyard I am aware of that has not been harvested is Bruzzi Vineyard along the Mogollon Rim near Pine. Most fermentation has also been com- pleted, which leaves pressing the finished wine, and racking into barrels for the long winter slumber. The use of barrels allows a wine to interact slowly with oxygen, enhancing and opening the wine and creating new flavor characteristics. In addition, new oak barrels im- part flavors into wine as well. The length of time used for barrel aging is at the discretion of the winemaker.
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