An odd thing happened a few weeks ago. We invited our good friend and colleague Rebecca Poling over for wining, dining and a viewing of the documentary “Blood into Wine,” a film that tells the story of how Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan and winemaker Eric Glomski pioneered “the long road to bringing credibility and notoriety to the northern Arizona winemaking region (Cochise County).” While Kim and I were largely unfamiliar with Tool (an oversight we have since corrected), Rebecca is a big fan, having seen them in concert, so she was especially geeked to see this. We thoroughly enjoyed the movie (I want to watch it a few more times), and highly recommend it to any and all.
When the video had finished, I had chance to check my Facebook page, and to my great surprise, found a message in my Inbox from Monica Seide, who works for Keenan and Glomski’s Arizona Stronghold and Keenan’s Caduceus Cellars, asking if Gang of Pour would care to sample one or two of their wines.
Coincidence, or something deeper, darker and more mysterious?
I responded to Monica immediately, telling her that we’d be happy to sample three or four of their selections! A few weeks later, we received a bottle of the 2009 Arizona Stronghold Nachise, a blend of four red Rhone varieties. OK, so we’ll start with one!
Ms. Poling had expressed interest in trying any wines that we might receive for review from Arizona Stronghold and/or Caduceus, so we invited her back over to join us in discovering just what was in the bottle. Of course, whenever we get together, there has to be food involved, and we’re not about to limit ourselves to just one wine, so we had a glass or two from three others leading up to the Nachise, starting with a rosé.
Domaine Daulny is much better known for its Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, but when I saw this one, I had to pick one up, and none of us were the least bit disappointed.
2008 Domaine Daulny Sancerre Rosé, 12.5% alc., $17.99: Peachy pink in color, and sporting a stoney, mineral driven flavor profile, with a solid core of earthy watermelon and strawberry; medium bodied, with good acids and length. As it opens with air, it just keeps getting better and better as long as there’s some left in the glass. Yumm!!! Find this wine
Imported by AHD Vintners, Warren, MI
It’s been a while since we’ve had one of Laurent Grégoire’s Muscadets, and after tasting this one, I have to wonder why in the hell did we wait so long!?
2009 Laurent Grégoire “Domaine de Beauregard” Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie, 12% alc., $11.99: Clean, pale color; rainwater and river stones on the nose, fleshing out to include a hint of anise that comes and goes, along with lots of mineral over grapefruit and green apple. Medium bodied, with zippy acids and good length. Textbook Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine, and a pleasure to drink. Find this wine
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler, Unionville, PA
The following selection, which we’ve already reviewed some months back, was enjoyed with dinner and is just singing right now!
2004 Bonny Doon California Le Cigare Blanc, 73% Roussanne, 27% Grenache Blanc, 14.3% alc., $11.99: Very much as we remember it from several months ago, and if anything, even better! The chalky minerality really sets the tone here, and it’s a great match for grilled, smoked chicken. It was out last bottle; wonder if I can find more? Find this wine
Finally, we turned our attention to the main event, not quite knowing what to expect. As it turned out, we were all pleasantly surprised.
2009 Arizona Stronghold Vineyard Nachise Arizona Red Wine, 34% Syrah, 24% Grenache, 21% Petite Sirah, 24% Mourverdre, 14.5% alc., $17.99: Clean, dark color, with a pretty kiss of creamy oak over berry and cherry on the nose; for me, it takes on a white house ice cream character on the palate, all cherry and vanilla ice cream. Structure is more about acids than tannins and the fruit is nice, as is the creamy texture. Rebecca sums things up for us, calling it “a campfire wine; not serious, just very friendly and drinkable.” Find this wine
It would seem that Glomski and Keenan are doing good things there in northern Arizona, if this Nachise in any indication, and why should that be a total surprise, considering the wines and bubblies that the Gruet family are turning out in neighboring New Mexico. Lest we let our enthusiasm run away with us, however, we’d prefer to take a more cautious approach and suggest that perhaps Ms. Seide might consider sending another sample or three so that we might confirm and reinforce our conclusions. I’m just sayin’…
Reporting from Day-twah,