HOME > Chowhound > Phoenix >

Discussion

Best selection of Arizona Wines in Phoenix

I am wondering where the best place to buy Arizona wines is in the Phoenix area. I am hosting a locavore dinner for some friends and would like to serve a couple of great az wines along with my az cuisine. Also very open to suggestions for great az wines.

Thanks,
BP

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I know AJ's often has a rack of local-interest wines. Don't think I saw something like that at Bevmo or Total Wine. The latter would be most likely to have the local rack.

    In conclusion - AJ's.

    Oh yes. Avoid Kokopelli's.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jhenner

      Since we're thinking of relocating to Arizona, I visit this board frequently. I'm beginning to worry that, once there, all I'll remember is "Kokopelli -- hey, I've heard a LOT about them" forgetting that all I ever heard was "Don't buy Kokopelli."

    2. You might try AZ Wine Co. The have a couple locations in Scottsdale, including an outlet just north of Hayden and Raintree.

      -----
      AZ Wine Outlet
      15001 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260

      Az Wine
      100 Easy St, Cave Creek, AZ 85331

      AZ Wine Company
      2515 N Scottsdale Rd # 15, Scottsdale, AZ

      1. Sportsman's has AZ wines too (at least the ones in Scottsdale and Arrowhead/Glendale). Just last week a friend and I sat at the wine bar in Arrowhead and enjoyed a nice glass of Arizona Stronghold's Tazi (blended white), which was also served at the Locavore dinner at Tapino. There is a lot of great info on Arizona wines in the blog linked in my bio, and for a list of local places to buy AZ wine:

        http://arizonavinesandwines.com/store...

        1. This is a wonderful idea. Yes, you might end up with more Dos Cabezas and Kent Callaghan wine, but there are some very good and interesting wines from AZ. One year I did an AZ wine pack for all the senior management team, knowing that most would never have experienced them.

          Now, I pick up my AZ wines at AJ's and Backstreet Bistro & Wine Bar. Each has a good selection. Backstreet has some of the more esoteric selections.

          Do not know about other retailers, but dobut that many, if any, of the national chains even bother.

          As far as "I'd not serve," I have to include anything by Kokopeli Winery, but that is based on my palate.

          There are some interesting sounding wines coming out of Oak Creek/Sedona, but I've yet to find any, even at the wine shop in Sedona. They seem to be highly allocated and sell out quickly. Still, a lot of good press and w-o-mouth, but you seem to have to know the secret handshake to even sample any.

          Please give a full report on your dinner. Actually, the wine board on CH would be a great place, although the report would be on AZ wines.

          Hunt

          6 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Thanks for the tips, Wendy I was at the dinner in June and have a reservation for 8 next month's dinner. It was a great event and an even better price. My girlfriend and I have become huge fans of Michael Pollan and that is where my interest got started in the Locavore movement. Both of us have lost some weight and are eating really well while trying to stick to local foods when we cook and of course AZ based non chain establishments when we eat out. These dinners will be a lot of fun and I will post reviews/menus for those who are interested.

            BP

            1. re: bpreston

              We have reservations for 6 of us on the 5th for Locavore III also. It will be our third one - looking forward to it!

            2. re: Bill Hunt

              I think hands down the best arizona wines are from Dos Cabezas! Backstreet has some and I believe I've seen them at Whole Foods.

              1. re: Bill Hunt

                I agree with you on Kokopelli's. Their wine, in my opinion, is the equivalent of - I want to say Boone's farm - but more like Kendall Jackson or other generic wines.

                They were selling for $20 a bottle at their winery, but AJ's sells them for the more appropriate $5 price.

                Kokopelli's is opening a branch here in the west valley over on Grand and Reems. I wish another winery were opening, but any new restaurant here is good.

                1. re: jhenner

                  May have told the story. If so, please stop me.

                  When we moved to AZ, we met a couple, who had live here for some years. At some event, they told me to try AZ wines. I was incredulous, regarding wines from AZ, but it was a social event, so I promised to do so.

                  A few weeks later, we attended an wine/art show and the wines being poured were Kokopelli wines. I was less than impressed.

                  A week later, we were at the same table, as the earlier couple. The question was asked, "well, have you tried AZ wines?"

                  How was I to handle this question? They were a nice, and obviously caring couple. "Well, er-r, yeah, and they were OK... " I stammered. The gentelman looked into my eyes, and turned to his wife. "He had Kokopelli," was all he said. I sat, unmoving.

                  "Well, that is not what we meant," his wife added. She went on to tel be of Dos Cabezas and of Kent Callaghan. I immediately went out to try these, and was wow'ed.

                  I had supported the local vitacultural aspects of Colorado, but these were serious wines.

                  I have not looked back.

                  Hunt

                2. re: Bill Hunt

                  Hiya Bill. I do agree with you regarding Kokopelli for all of their lineup except for a couple of their in-shop barrel aged wines (Winemakers Reserve...or something like that). You can only get them at their annual winemakers dinner. I went about 14months ago to last years event, tasted through the usual suspects (all crap..) then tried barrel samples of the 2004 cab sauvignon (aged in both American and French oak) and the sauvignon blanc (which does see some wood as well). These were good enough to order a couple of bottles each which they bottled some 8months later and came sealed under wax with the wine "label" info handwritten on the bottle. They also were pouring barrel samples of a port, merlot, and a French oaked cab that weren't all that good. Caveat: I haven't tried them after the full aging so I might be in for a rude awakening one of these days.

                  Speaking of other AZ wines, we were in Jerome this past weekend and went to the Caduceus tasting room. Tasted a flight of their wines and each one had serious flaws (band-aid, VA, secondary fermentation, hot hot hot) except for a chard/malvasia bianco blend that was decent.

                3. Along the lines of sampling AZ wines...

                  We just made reservations for the "Grape Train Escape" wine-tasting on the Verde Canyon scenic train with two other couples. Specifically, August 15th because it's focusing on the Vineyards of the Verde Valley. It will be the first time for all of us, has anyone been on one of these before?

                  http://www.verdecanyonrr.com/grapetra...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Rubee

                    Please give a review of your experiences. I've seen a bit on this, but have not been able to work a trip into my schedule. Hey, wine, my wife AND trains, and I'm a happy camper!

                    Hunt

                  2. Tapino's Locavore III menu is up -

                    http://www.tapino.com/menus/locavore3...

                    Dos Cabezas is the featured wine. I had a wonderful one from that vineyard just this weekend. Friends brought over a bottle of the Dos Cabezas 2005 La MontaƱa (Petite Syrah/Merlot). I thought it was excellent, though, unfortunately, now hard to find.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Rubee

                      Adding link:

                      -----
                      Tapino Kitchen & Wine Bar
                      7000 E Shea Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254

                      1. re: Rubee

                        Yes, the La Montana vineyard isn't being planted with that blend anymore, so there won't be any more bottlings. I am down to my last bottle. I also love the Dos Pink and the Dos Red blends.

                        I just wanted to put in a quick Chow plug for the southern AZ wine trail, which includes Dos Cabezas, Callaghan, and the first winery in AZ, Sonoita. I just polished off a bottle of Rancho Rossa Cab tonight, named after the rich red clay soil that flavors these wines. There are three really promising wineries starting off their first home-grown bottlings this fall, and the trail is really gorgeous -- much like Provence, if you can believe that -- and the tastings run $2 if you bring your own glass, $4 if they give you a glass, which can then be used at seven other wineries at the discounted rate. Contrast that with most of California, where tastings are $7-10, if you're lucky. The people are really nice and it feels good to support them. I have yet to serve a bottle at a dinner and not have it exclaimed over and highly complimented. Go see all of the AZ wineries yourself! Wine that you've acquired straight from the owner tastes better, IMO.

                        1. re: Rubee

                          Thanks Themis for that info on the Southern AZ Wine Trail - it sounds like a great idea and I'm going to look into it this fall.

                          Also, I just noticed some updates on Tapino's website for Locavore 3. I'm a big fan of Digestif and Chef Payton Curry, and it looks like he's the guest chef at Tapino those nights. I thought I would let other fellow fans know. I hope this means some charcuterie on the menu! Looking forward to another great time, and learning more about Arizona's local foods and wine.

                        2. I spent the weekend emailing various AZ wineries and nearly all of them indicated that Cave Creek Wines was the best place to buy thier bottles. I haven't been yet and since they are closed today I will drive up there tommorrow and check it out. The website lists the address as the 101 and Cave Creek. I will let you know what I find out.

                          1. Cave Creek Wines on Cave Creek just north of the 101 is definitely the winner. They had well over 40 AZ wines nice selection of Callaghan and Dos Cabezas. The owner Bob seemed to have recommendations on just about every varietal grown in AZ. Very honest too letting us know which ones were not worth trying. This is worth the trip up there to get some very affordable wines. I picked up 6 bottles from 5 different wineries and will let you know my thoughts as we slowly go through them over the next 6 months. I will say Callaghan was just about the only winery with wines over 20 dollars. AZ wines are a great way to promote local wines and buying them from a local shop like Cave Creek Wine doubles the value to the local economy. Bob has worked hard often driving to the wineries to pick up cases and should be commended for his work.

                            1. Thanks to everyone for the tips, although I'm guessing the Kokopelli folks don't agree. My husband and I are visiting Phoenix in September and I'll be on the lookout for local wines.

                              In return, here's a suggestion you nice AZ people may be able to use. When visiting Taos, we sampled New Mexico wines. We very much liked the champagne (oops, scuse me, "sparkling white wine") from Gruet. Gruet is readily available in the Denver area and maybe you can find it there, too. It's a nice budget-friendly bubbly, fruity without being sweet.

                              Does anyone know of an Arizona counterpart to Gruet?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mandycat

                                Mandy - IMO there's no sparkling equivalent of Gruet outside of CA (especially for the $$$), but I will say to try one --

                                Before I recommend, I have to say and then reiterate -- I Hate Cava!! Spanish sparklers make me gag. However, I did try some inexpensive recs from garagiste and will say that one blew me away. In fact, I liked it better than any of the MV/NV Champagne blends at 5-8x the price. For me to search out a decent stash of a sparkler is rare. It wont hold its own against most premium vintage Champagnes, but the last one I found like this (which was 3x the price) was the Roederer (CA) 1994 L'Hermitage Sparkling Wine - served it at my wedding, in fact. Anyways, you wont find it locally, but you can source it online - Juve & Camps 2004 Reserva - about $10. Like I said, I usually detest Cava, but this one made me stock up - plus most of the out of state stores gave a volume discount that offset the shipping cost. If you are OK with the Gruet, I think you'll flip for this - truly way above its provenance.

                                Just my .02

                              2. On the topic of AZ wines:

                                FYI, just announced this week - In November, the AWGA (Arizona Wine Grower's Association) is holding their first Wine Festival at The Farm at South Mountain. Info here:

                                http://ow.ly/lrQZ

                                1. I noticed last night at BevMo that they now have a "Local Wines" rack that has a dozen or more labels on it, most from AZ, but also from the near ends of NM and CA.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: blair_houghton

                                    Go to Total Wine instead. BevMo is dead to me. TW is 4 times as big, lower in price on everything I checked, and has things BevMo has never even tried to get in stock for me.

                                    1. re: blair_houghton

                                      I prefer Total Wine too (fantastic selection, knowledgeable staff), but re:prices, Bevmo will price match to Total Wine.

                                      1. re: Rubee

                                        Total Wine is doing tastings this weekend with about 10 vendors each presenting 2-4 items. Cost is a penny a person. There were at least two Arizona wineries that I saw represented. Bevmo is in trouble. Total Wine is much bigger, much nicer store, greater selection including far more high end stuff and difficult to find wines, and they are cheaper. On some items I saw as much as a 20% difference in price. They actually have a price comparison board showing, Whole Foods, Albertsons and BEVMO alongside TW prices. Pretty interesting.

                                        1. re: Poerz

                                          From this I'm guessing that Arizona allows grocery chains to sell beer and wine. Here in Colorado we have an archaic set of liquor laws allowing each grocery chain to sell alcohol but in only one store in that chain within a metropolitan area with "metropolitan area" stretching pretty far in every direction. The other stores in that same chain can sell 3.2 beer and wine coolers, adding insult to injury.

                                          We only got Sunday alcohol sales in the past year. Slooooowly we creep into the 21st century.

                                          1. re: mandycat

                                            Grocery stores in Arizona can sell all spirtis as long as they have the correct license. You could be worse off, though. In Washington State for example you'd have to buy from a state store.

                                      2. re: blair_houghton

                                        I agree. Bevmo isn't even close on liquor and beer prices. I do so much better at safeway and costco. Even on wine, they aren't that competitive. No reason to bother.

                                    2. Has anyone seen that Kokopelli Winery has completely re-designed their labels? not sure if the wine has changed, but their look has just improved dramatically.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ma_bell_deve

                                        I just want to know why they are Headquartered in Deming, New Mexico (about 80 miles over the border on the 8). You can't tell from the bottle that they're really Arizona wine. Or does that make them New Mexico wine made from Arizona grapes?

                                        1. re: blair_houghton

                                          I believe that the grapes are grown in AZ, and then the wine intself is fermented and bottled in NM, so technically the appellation is still AZ.

                                      2. For more information on Northern Arizona wines, check out

                                        http://www.verdevalleywineconsortium....

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: donald

                                          Did I mention I got a bottle of Page Springs ECIPS 2007 on my first trip to Total Wine and wow is that nice and deep for a young red? It wasn't what you'd call cheap at $30 or 32 a bottle, but if all that depth turns into levels of complexity in the rack it'll be a bargain as it gets some years on it. I honestly liked it more than the Opus One I had a few weeks ago (but I'd been tasting champagnes just before the OO so my palate wasn't exactly fresh; color your interpretation of my review accordingly).

                                        2. This is an older thread but I have to agree with the other posters here - Total Wine has a whole section dedicated to nothing but AZ wine.

                                          Also, if you're looking for a restaurant carrying AZ wines I hear FnB has only AZ wines on the menu:

                                          http://www.fnbrestaurant.com/
                                          FnB
                                          480-425-9463
                                          7133 E Stetson Dr.
                                          Scottsdale, AZ 85252