I have that "I know what you're getting for X-Mas" Cheshire Cat grin on my face right now. However, this particular X-Mas won't arrive until we bottle and release our 100 percent Arizona wines from the 2007 vintage somewhere around the spring of 2009.
I can still remember how uncertain we were when we began this adventure six years ago. The area here looked like it could produce some decent wines. We had a gut feeling. It was one part educated guess, one part seat-of-our-pants blind faith. Sprinkle some intuition on that and off we went. Uncharted territory, as far as we knew. In the meantime, we made wines from California grapes, which have turned out quite well, if I may say so.
We were afraid to send any of the California wines out for review, the thought being: "What if the Arizona fruit doesn't stand up?" If we received a favorable rating, one could argue that although we were capable of making good wines from established vineyards, the grapes were from California, not Arizona.
Well, I've changed my mind. I'm going to send my current releases out for review. 'Cuz like I said, I now KNOW what you're getting for X-Mas in the spring of '09.
We just pressed and barreled down my Cabernet from the Merkin West vineyard in Arizona's Yavapai County, along with the Tempranillo and Syrah from our Stronghold Vineyards outside of Tucson, in Cochise County. It's all divine and had me on the brink of tears. So far, the juice all tastes far more like Old World wine than New World. The Cab has big tannins, but they're soft and don't rip your tongue apart. It's complex without being overwhelming. Fruity but not candy coated.
Look out, California. I'd love to use a Ricky Bobby/Talladega Nights analogy here, but clearly we here in Arizona are a far cry from Jean Girard. Gun-toting rednecks is what we are. We're more like Rowdy Roddy Piper in They Live: "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum." Probably wanna hold off inviting us to any fine-dining events for now.