Log In / Join Now

on tour with maynard james keenan

A Spanish Affair


Posted: Dec 18, 2006 12:06pm ET

My current day job has afforded me exposure to world-class wines I would have otherwise never experienced. I'm spoiled. There is no doubt about that. And yet these opportunities, this exposure, all come in small doses. Touring with a loud rock band isn't the most convenient way to see the world, let alone specific and usually remote wine regions, especially in today's political and economic climate. So it's taken me over a decade to make it out to a handful of the areas where my favorite wines are produced.

As I started creating this blog, my touring schedule had me bouncing through Europe. Therefore I will focus on the immediate. That which is sitting on my hotel night table, re-corked and awaiting me on the bus, and/or that which is too great in number to carry in my luggage and is therefore being shipped back to the States. Our first stop was Spain.

This is a letter to my partner Eric Glomski, Page Springs Cellars owner and vigneron:

"Dear Eric,

I'm having an affair.
Her name is Tempranillo.
I love her, dude.
Please don't tell Syrah.

Sincerely,
Brother Maynard"

Our few days in Madrid were spent in a honeymoon haze. The gorgeous architecture looks even more brilliant through a glass of Pedrosa or L'Ermita or Vega Sicilia Unico. But hands-down the most memorable gem we unearthed on this visit was the Aalto PS. I'm useless when it comes to descriptions so I won't waste your time.

Suffice to say I haven't had that level of "tongasm" since my first date with a bottle of Bodegas Sastre Pesus. To quote my wine-drinking partner, Todd, "Tell me again why it is we don't live here?"

Phil Talamo
Bron, NY —  December 18, 2006 3:24pm ET
Maynard - I am a huge fan of your music...esp Tool. I first saw the band at Roseland in NYC on the ¿undertow¿ tour and have seen you several times since then. My friends and I once shared some Syrah before an APC show in New Jersey in your honor. I was excited to read about your love of wine - Syrah is my favorite non-Italian varietal (I'm a nebbiolo and sangiovese lover). I share your admiration for tempranillo - Spain simply makes killer wines and also provides insane value (which is what I normally seek). I look forward to reading your future blogs. Best of luck with the winery. Please keep making such amazing music.
Peter Czyryca
December 18, 2006 4:18pm ET
Maynard - love the band! Nothing was better than seeing you guys with Alice in Chains, Primus and Rage Against the Machine in 1992 (maybe 91)
Scott Stewart
solana beach, ca —  December 18, 2006 7:27pm ET
purchased your sensei in october. should i drink now or hold for a bit? recommendations on pairings? whats the timeline on releasing wines with 100% AZ fruit? when will you be submitting to WS for review?thx.
Rebecca Loewy
Chicago, IL —  December 18, 2006 9:31pm ET
This is fantastic. Last year, I met Eric's dad at The Tasting Room in Chicago. He told me all about Caduceus and encouraged me to pay a visit to Cornville. I'm looking forward to tasting the wine and reading more about your adventures. Props to your website designers - the site is incredible. http://www.caduceus.org/
Kirk R Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  December 18, 2006 9:56pm ET
Maynard, I am probably one of the few who people that have had the pleasure of experiencing your wines. A friend drove to Page Spring and bought me 2 bottles of the first two templates, and two friends drove to Page Spring Cellars for me to get me enough (6) to enjoy and give as gifts this holiday season. I opened the Primer Paso last August who is a Shiraz nut. We were both blown away by what was in the bottle. It did need about 30 minutes to breath, but I was surprised by how approachable it was. I saved the Naga for my uncle & aunt's 7th anniversary, I let it breath for about 3-4 hours before dinner. It went amazing with a filet toped with bleu cheese. I was wondering what you think that age ability of these wines are. I am going to give the Sensi about 6 months to settle before giving it a shot. However, when it comes to my single bottle of Primer Paso & Naga¿I have been holding off to gather enough friends who will enjoy them for what they are¿amazing wines. I am sure you get many fans who want them to collect. As much as I was tempted by an offer from one person I am just too stingy with the wine in the bottle to let it go. As your winery gets larger I was wondering what you might look for when hiring people to work there? So there it is¿more than you bargained for. I¿ll look forward to your response when you have the time. Thanks for putting your passion in a bottle for those of us who want to share & experience your dedication.
Maynard James Keenan
page Springs, az —  December 19, 2006 3:04pm ET
Thank you all for the interest. In answer to your inquiry, my first 100% Arizona release will most likely be in the spring of 2007. I'll be releasing the Caduceus, "Dos Ladrones." It's an Arizona Malvasia from our vineyards in the Wilcox area.
Frank Dopp
Seattle WA USA —  December 20, 2006 12:45am ET
Hi Maynard,I was very pleased to see your blog and was happy to learn that the music I listen to (Tool) was being led by a wine geek.As a Northwest wine geek I was unaware of AZ as a place where wine was being grown. I was curious about the soil in Wilcox. I know that Malvasia is grown in Spain/Italy/Portugal but is little grown in the US. How does the heat effect the grapes? Do you grow in a short season?
Kirk R Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  December 20, 2006 8:19am ET
Maynard, I may have over done it last time. What would you say is the anticipated maturity of your 2004 wines. I have one bottle of the Primer Paso and one of the Naga, and after a few xmas gifts I will have 4 of the Sensi. Wine can be so touchy it's always nice to hear from the wine maker and see when they are planning on drinking their bottles.
Amber Pagel
Dallas, TX —  December 21, 2006 7:30am ET
I've enjoyed your Naga and Sensei immensely, as have all the guests attending my wine/dinner parties. Unfortunately, I missed out on your first template, but am looking forward to trying some this next year. So it looks like the Chupacabra won't be out for a bit still? A friend and I are spending New Years in Jerome and thought we'd pick some up from Carol when I go to get my wine club shipment from her.
Thanks for blessing all of us, with both your wines and your music.
Sao Anash
Santa Barbara —  December 21, 2006 12:04pm ET
Maynard, I'm stoked that you're on the board. Tool rocks! It's so cool that a legit rocker like you is into wine. I'm tired of hearing all the stories about rockers who just do lines of coke and have Jack Daniels parties until everybody passes out. Finally, a rocker with lots of virility, great, driving music, and good taste in wines......wow!! Can't wait to try your wines. Are they available anywhere in Santa Barbara?
Maynard James Keenan
page Springs, az —  December 21, 2006 12:15pm ET
Regarding your questions on my wine's shelf life and age ability, it's hard to say. On paper the SENSEI should outlast all of them. It's a dense cab with a decent amount of tannic structure as opposed to the Primer Paso, which has a splash of Malvasia blended in with the Shiraz. Because of the white element I wouldn't hold my breath on the Primer lasting over 6 years. It¿s hard to say though. We have no history yet, so no pool of experience from which to draw. So we can't say for sure. The Naga falls right in between. If I had to guess, I would say the 04 Primer Paso should be consumed now to 2010 at the latest, and the 04 SENSEI and the NAGA from now until 2015. Maybe a bit longer on the SENSEI.
Kirk R Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  December 21, 2006 3:44pm ET
Maynard, thanks for the timelines...as alway I realize they are an educated guess. I figured you of all people whould have the best guess do to your exposure from juice, barrel, bottle, and glass.
Karen Peterson
Dallas, TX —  January 1, 2007 5:18pm ET
My son first introduced me to Tool a couple of years ago. Since then we have shared a love of the music and I am now trying to instill in him a love of wine. We both enjoyed the feature story in WS - he can't believe that wine lovers are so cool. I wanted to try the wine and, more importantly, get him a bottle for his 21st birthday. Any suggestions on where to buy it since it seems that almost everything is sold out on the website?
Kirk R Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  January 1, 2007 10:25pm ET
Karen, While this wasnt addressed to me I want to help in any way possible. Avoid places like EBAY and Craigslist...people are raping his fans for these wines on those sites. Your best bet would be to look at the mailing list of the states his winery can mail to. Then purchase and have the bottles mailed to whoever you know that lives in the states Merkin Vineyards can ship to. I have done this and it has worked out wonderfully for me. This way you can give the wine to your son at the cost it was intended to be sold at...not at some an inflated price. These wines merit the prices they are commanding from both the winery and beyond. The 2004s can sometimes reach in the hundreds of dollars. I would think if your son is interested in wine it might be better to get three bottles of the 2005 Chupacabra. At around $78 for three bottles instead of one bottle of any of the 2004s that have already sold out and are fetching a much higher price tag. This way he can experience the wine and its changes over a period of months or years. Thats whats so wonderful about wine, it will change and evolve if it is cared for properly through the years. Best of luck in your search for your sons birthday present.
Maynard James Keenan
page Springs, az —  January 2, 2007 12:49am ET
Karen, Thank you for your interest. I agree with Kirk's advice. The 2004's we sold have the fortune and misfortune of being my first wines. Couple that with low quantity and you have yourself a bidding war. However, the Chupacabra is our "everything but the kitchen sink" blend. Good wine. Just not up to the standards of the Caduceus blends. If you want it just because it's mine, then grab some Chupa. If your intersted in a well made, high quality wine, then hold off until we start to release the 05's. Much better wines and 4 times the quantity. The 05 Primer Paso should be released by the spring of 07.
Karen Peterson
Dallas, TX —  January 6, 2007 4:54pm ET
I'm now on the Caduceus mailing list, and am looking forward to the Spring release of the 2005's. I saw that you enjoyed the 1999 Penfold's Bin 707. One of my favorite wines is the 1998 Bin 707 which was from a bang up year in McLaren Vale (The Penfolds Grange is good too but I'm a cab girl). A business colleague introduced me to it...I wonder if he is also a Tool fan?!My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Spain and Italy later this year. Any wineries that you would recommend?
Shane Pavolka
TUCSON AZ —  July 10, 2007 12:11am ET
HEY MAYNARD, MY FAMILY MOVED US FROM ILLINOIS TO CORNVILLE AZ IN 1976. I LIVED THERE FROM THEN UNTIL 1984. I BELIEVE AN OLD FRIEND OF MINE ALAN RAKOV WAS ONE OF THE FIRST PEOPLE TO PLANT VINES IN PAGE SPRINGS BETWEEN THE DA RANCH AND CASEYS CORNER QUITE A FEW YEARS AGO. HAVING LIVED IN TUCSON FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS IVE BEEN A LITTLE OUT OF TOUCH BUT IM GLAD THAT PEOPLE HAVE REALIZED WHAT A GREAT PLACE IT IS AND WHAT A GREAT AREA FOR DEVELOPING AZ WINES. SAY HEY TO DANNY AND BRENDA AT PS RESTAURANT FOR ME IF YOU EVER EAT THERE. IT WAS MY FIRST JOB AS A DISHWASHER WHEN I WAS 13. GOOD LUCK MAN! LOVE YOUR MUSIC!

Would you like to comment? Want to join or start a discussion?

Become a WineSpectator.com member and you can!
To protect the quality of our conversations, only members may submit comments. Member benefits include access to more than 315,000 reviews in our Wine Ratings Search; a first look at ratings in our Insider, Advance and Tasting Highlights; Value Wines; the Personal Wine List/My Cellar tool, hundreds of wine-friendly recipes and more.

WineRatings+ app: Download now for 340,000+ ratings.