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Jul 5, 2008 04:46 PM

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.


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  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:

        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.


          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.


            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.


                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?


                  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!