Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Wine tasting in Arizona…yes I said Arizona!

Yes, wine is not just for California anymore.  Actually, there is wine produced in almost every one of the United States.  Not sayin’ it’s all good, but that’s another story.  That said, we’ve had some pretty fantastic Arizona wines. 

About 2 years ago, we made our way down south to some of the vineyards in Sonoita Arizona. 

The first vineyard in Sonoita started in 1973. There are now 14 vineyards and wineries. According to the Arizona Wine Grower's Association, climate and soil studies show that this region is similar to Ribera Del Duero, Spain; Southeastern Australia, Southern France and is almost identical to that of Paso Robles California.  Neat huh? 

Well, until recently, all the talk has been about Arizona’s southern wine country.  But, the new buzz is in Northern Arizona.  So, this past weekend, we packed up the baby, packed up a few friends and their baby, and headed ‘up north.’  Our destination:  Alcantara Vineyard

We have been to this beautiful winery before, nestled deep in the Verde Valley, and loved every breath taking moment.  Not to mention, so delicious wines. 


(sorry, I took this picture a year and a half ago, in the winter.)

This past weekend:


This past Sunday it was sunny, green, and about 80 degrees.  Perfect grape growing weather, and perfect for a picnic!   Alcantara has a beautiful yard and welcomes guests to bring family, food, and friends and enjoy their beautiful land. 


Ava, my friend Sarah, in the background with her baby, Sophie.  

I enjoyed a tasting flight many times in previous visits, so today I went with a glass of the Confluence.  (70% Merlot, 15% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon)  This medium bodied red has a bit of spice, but nothing that the full berry and plum flavors couldn’t handle.  I had a bite of chocolate with it as well, and it really brought out some chocolate notes in the wine.  One of their most popular bottles, and I can see why. 

I also had a non-pictured glass of the Pinot Grigio.   Oh my…off the hook!  I don’t know if it was the beautiful sunny weather outside, the picnic food, or what, but this wine just tasted like liquid sunshine.  It was dry, but not bone dry…it somehow had the aromas of a viognier, but the light body of a pinot grigio. 


Ava enjoyed her picnic on the blanket and happily stuffed her face with blueberries, butternut squash and applesauce.  Gourmet huh?

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See the grapes behind us?  Beyond that is the Verde River and then Sedona.  I wished I had a hammock and could just spend the night right there. DSC00528


This picture is quite different than the one when we came here last summer…


Have you ever been to vineyards outside of the well known areas like California?

Besides California and Arizona, we’ve been to wineries in Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, and New Mexico. 


  1. What a beautiful place! I love Ava's dress...she looks so pretty :)

  2. What pretty scenary! I have been to wine tastings in MN, WI, CA, France, Italy, and Peru.

  3. I haven't really been to a vineyard ever....I'm hoping (and hinting) to my BF that I really want to go to Napa (and get engaged) :)

  4. I've been to one in Minnesota and one in Vermont as well. Now that I am living in Illinois I saw signs on the drive here for vineyards in Indiana, so I may take a road trip.

  5. I've only been to vineyards in California. Sounds like a fabulous time!

  6. AH! I was waiting for this post! Looks like you had such a nice time! I've only ever been to 3 lakes worth of wineries in the Finger Lakes (upstate new york). They have AMAZING Rieslings :). Confluence sounds right up my alley...what a great blend!