Local Arizona Wine
I'm looking for some suggestions on local wines I will be giving some friends as a gift. I'm not a big wine drinker so your help is appreciated. I'm looking to get a local Arizona wine if possible. Here's a wine they enjoy so I'd like to find something similar if possible. Looking to stay under $40 or so a bottle?
14 Hands - Hot to Trot (Cabernet Sauvignon)
Blend: Predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon with Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and other select red varieties
Appellation: Washington State
I have tasted most of the highly regarded AZ wines going as far back as the early 1980s. I have formed some definite opinions.
1. The past ten years have finally seen the quality develop and the the past five years have seen a few that can be called competitive with California, Washington, Australia etc.
2. Reds have been far more successful than whites. And the most successful grape varieties are Petite Sirah, Mourvedre and Sangiovese followed by some other Rhone varietals. IMO cab, merlot and the Bordeaux varietals still have a way to go and may not be suited to AZ soils.
3. Dos Cabezas has the best track record. Their La Montana has been consistently very good since the early 2000s and the El Norte has been good and good value. In the past few vintages the Toscano has risen to the top and that even though I am not particularly fond of most Sangiovese and Sangiovese based wines.
4. IMNSHO the single best wine made in AZ to date is the the 2008 Dos Cabezas El Campo. It is the first really great wine from AZ. You may be able to find some at retail by calling around and do not forget Tucson. The winery may have a few bottles left but I doubt that.
5. AZ Stronghold/Page Springs has released some very nice wines also. The AZ Stronghold Nachise is a crowd pleaser. The Page Springs whites are showing some promise.
The 14 Hands wine you mention is a big jammy wine and I have not had anything from AZ in that style that merits a recommendation. My recommendation would be either the Toscana or the La Montana from Dos Cabezas since they represent the best AZ has had to offer so far.
I am expecting more and more exciting wines in the future from a number of producers.
actually i should have mentioned pillsbury. their diva is probably the best non-dos cabezas that i have tasted. their rose is also very good. probably as good or or even slightly better overall than az stronghold/page springs.
imo caduceus is overrated and overpriced due in large part to the celebrity of the owner.
I will second Page Springs, and add Dos Cabezas (a lot of single varietals), and also Callahagn (more blends). Pilsbury also has some nice wines, if you can find them at retail.
I am less a fan of AZ Stronghold (share some aspects with other wineries here).
Oak Creek Vineyards also has some nice wines.
I love that so many winemakers in AZ are starting to out out some spectacular wines. I also love that people are starting to take notice.
Callaghan has put out a killer Cabernet Sauvignon over the past couple of years. I wish I would have bought more when I was down at the winery in February...
I also love pretty much anything Dos Cabeza's puts out... Their Toscano is one of my favorites. You can't go wrong with their juice.
Canelo Hills, also in the Elgin area impressed me on a recent visit to their tasting room.