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King of the High Desert

Posted: Jan 22, 2007 5:35pm ET

And now for the shameless self-promotion portion of our program. As of Jan. 16, Eric Glomski (owner of Page Springs Cellars) and I (Caduceus Cellars/Merkin Vineyards) became the proud owners of the vineyard formerly known as Dos Cabezas (now to be called Arizona Vineyards) just south of Wilcox. This makes us the largest producer of wine grapes in Arizona—with 60 acres of vines, ranging from two to 17 years old. Pardon me while I take a moment to flex in front of this full-length mirror.

This crown and status are temporary, of course. Dick Erath, Oregon Pinot pioneer, is our new neighbor. He recently purchased roughly 200 acres of land and planted vineyards throughout the same area. In just under five years he will deservedly inherit our crown. He sees the same potential we see here in Arizona.

So mark your calendars. This should mean a rise in quality for our wines and for Arizona wine overall. With more fruit to choose from, we can cherry-pick the best grapes while maintaining our current level of production. And Caduceus/Merkin Vineyards will be producing 100 percent Arizona wines sooner than anticipated, weaning ourselves off most of our California fruit sources. (The drives back and forth have been brutal).

All of the winemakers who have contracts with Arizona Vineyards (www.arizonavineyards.org) should see a noticeable improvement in grape quality across the board. All this vineyard needs is some proper pruning, thinning, watering and canopy management, along with an equal dose of TLC, a bit of TCB and Abracadabra. You heard it here first. Sincerely, Scoop Keenan.

P.S. Reportedly Todd Bostock, of Dos Cabezas/Pronghorn Vineyards, has purchased the Dos Cabezas winery and label and will continue to make wine using that name. He has opened a tasting room in Sonoita, where he is moving the winery (www.doscabezaswinery.com). The 40-acre Pronghorn Vineyard his family planted in 2003 is in Elgin near Callaghan Vineyards. Todd has been the winemaker Dos Cabezas since 2003, and last year the winery's 2003 Pinot Gris was served at a state dinner at the White House honoring Sandra Day O'Connor. They have since purchased three more cases.

Molly Evans
Chicago, IL —  January 22, 2007 10:57pm ET
Maynard, I truly enjoy your blog and look forward to each post - thank you - and "Judith," "Schism," and "Passive" are cornerstones of my playlist for each and every workout -- love those vocals. I figured I needed some Caduceus wine to complete the Maynard appreciation, but sadly, you're sold out of your best labels. When will those wines be available again?All the best to you . . .
Paul Spitaleri
January 23, 2007 10:35am ET
well that explains the snow storm in Arizona! Just Kidding! Huge fan of the music and can't wait to taste the wine (only if you shipped to NJ) any other methods of purchasing?
Kirk R Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  January 23, 2007 1:26pm ET
Maynard, as the high king of the desert I was wondering if you might enlighten us? What is the significance of the 353 stamp on top of the Caduceus bottles? I was also wondering if you have had a chance to try Eric's 2004 Juan Nevarez Mourvedre or 2004 Rio San Lucas Shiraz. I am sending a friend some wine and can't decide which one I should send. If you had tried either of these I'd appreciate your opinion on them.
Andrew J Walter
Sacramento,CA —  January 23, 2007 4:09pm ET
This is a good thing. I am a big fan of AZ wines and have bought many bottles (and had them shipped surrepititiously to California ...shhhh... so i do not get arrested) from Callghan, Dos Cabezas and Echo Canyon. I am assuming that the original Dos Cabezas crew is no more? Also, I have heard rumors that John marcus from Echo Canyon is planning on selling out as well...is this true?? If so, you should pick up those vineyards as well...spectacular cab and syrah as I am sure you are aware. In any case, keep up the good work and I look forward to visiting the page Springs area when you guys are fully up and running with the AZ wines.
Amber Pagel
Dallas, TX —  January 23, 2007 5:08pm ET
Awesome news. Is this the area from which Dos Ladrones grapes will derive? or will that be Northern AZ? Best of luck.

On another note--Kirk, I know my opinion is entirely unsolicited, but, having had both wines to which you refer, beware that the Mourvedre is some heavy syrup. Good stuff, but heavy, as sometimes tends to be the case with Paso Robles. I enjoyed it immensely, but the same could not be said for all my dinner guests that night. The RSL Shiraz is great, and a typical Shiraz, so check your friend's preferences prior to ordering. Just my two cents...
Maynard James Keenan
page Springs, az —  January 23, 2007 7:07pm ET
Kirk, I of course love both wines. But if I may throw a wrench in the mixer, my favorite wine Eric does is the "La Familia," Syrah/Viognier. I prefer it over the Australian equivalents. If that is not an option, I would choose the RSL. (btw, 353 is Baccus' area code.)Andrew, we plan on keeping some of the DC crew, but have hired a new vineyard manager. I'm putting together a blog telling all about him and will get it up in a week or so once I get all my facts straight. As far as Echo Canyon's Wilcox area vineyard, I'm not sure what's going on over there. It's almost like they mixed the cake batter, put it in the pan, but never bothered turning on the oven. Hope they can pull it together. They make some good juice.Amber, Yes, the first bottle of Caduceus, Dos Ladrones will in fact be Malvasia Blanca from Dos Cabezas(Arizona Vineyards).
Kirk R Grant
Ellsworth, ME —  January 25, 2007 10:40pm ET
Amber & Maynard thanks for both of your opinions on the wines. I was leaning more towards the Mourvedre as a wine to give my friend something to care, nurture, and watch age like a first born child. I am going to have to give the La Familia a shot though. I have to say thats a great blend combo and I am seriously lacking with only one bottle of Primer Paso left. Thanks for the replies. Anything I can add to my education is always helpful. Amber...one thought. Mourvedre is a wine that usually deserves some bottle age. Could it be that you simply should have given it a little more time to settle? You may want to revisit that bottle in another 3-4 years.

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