Fleshy and full bodied with notes of white peaches, apricot and vanilla with a slightly stony but fruity finish.
Winemaker Notes: 2012 brought glorious, warm sun and very little rain at harvest. Twelve hours on its skins brings additional complexity. Select yeasts were chosen for each bin during fermentation to bring out each of AZ Chardonnay’s distinct and personal attributes. Each bin was then pressed altogether as one. Chardonnay was aged in neutral oak for 18 months.
Pairings: Salmon cakes, pumpkin ravioli or younger cheddar cheese with pears and apples
2014 AZ Wine Growers- Judges Favorite 2014 AWGA- Wine of Distinction Silver 2014 AZ Republic- 2nd Place Best Chardonnay 2015 San Francisco Chronicle_Bronze
Intoxicating aromas of sweet honeysuckle and apricot. Full bodied with A velvety mouth feel. Abundant flavors of stone fruit and apricot with hints of baking spice rounded out with crisp tartness and a clean finish.
Winemaker Notes: AZ Viognier is incredibly aromatic and wonderfully bright. 2012 had bright sunny days and a dry harvest season. This vintage spent twelve hours on its skins bringing a notable mouth feel and deeper complexity. Aged in neutral oak for 18 months, Viognier’s acidity is tamed allowing for more intense flavors.
Pairings: Pad Thai noodles, Apricot glazed chicken or a worthy slice of Brillat-Savarin.
2014 AZ Republic-2nd Place Best Viognier 2014 AZ Republic- Silver
The return of one of the originals. Pink is the beautiful fruity and clean saignee of our own Arizona grown Nebbiolo. A fresh, light, fruit forward strawberry delight! Goodbye, white-zin, Pink is here to stay!
Winemaker Notes:It’s pink… Nebbiolo as a full bodied red would be rich, dark and very tannic. This pink comes from the juice that falls from weight of the grapes against themselves, sitting in the press, waiting for go-time.
Pairings: Grilled white fish, crisp summer salads with light dressings or Antipasto,
Enjoy Circus Master with Acts, Ferris Wheel, Giant Slide, Zip Line, Neon Face Paint, Interactive Trapeze, Aerials, Ground Aerobatics, Velocity Circus Roaming Acts, Food Truck Delights, Beer and Wine Gardens, and more! Fiddlebender Wines will be featured in the wine garden, hop in for delicious AZ Wine!
In celebration of the 32th anniversary of Arizona’s original and only American Viticulture Area (AVA), Kief-Joshua Vineyards will be hosting the Fifth Annual Southeast Arizona Wine Growers Festival, featuring 20 Arizona Wineries in one location, on April 16th and 16th, 2016, from 11 am to 5 pm. Tickets are on sale now at https://www.winegrowers.eventbrite.com
The day will be filled with new wine releases, fabulous winemakers, great wine, food vendors, a professional two-day chili cook-off and live music.
May 7 & 8, 2016, Mother’s Day Weekend
30th Annual Prescott Fine Art & Wine
The Festival is held on Mother’s Day Weekend every year, which makes it a wonderful destination event for Mother’s Day! Come experience a beautiful weekend under the shade of the big trees of Prescott’s Courthouse Square.
In addition to spectacular collectors’ artwork, the Festival presents an Arizona wine garden and marketplace featuring ten of Arizona’s finest Vineyards & Wineries. Each day guests can purchase their wine tasting tickets for $12 and receive their souvenir wine glass. Over the two day festival, Mountain Artists Guild is hosting a silent auction of two distinct lots of Arizona wines, each valued at over $500. All proceeds from the silent auction will benefit the Mountain Artists Guild. There is also a variety of delicious food, packaged cottage edibles and prepared gourmet delights from surrounding restaurants. Located along Montezuma Street and Prescott’s infamous Whiskey Row, haunt of the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday, the Festival site is within easy walking distance of restaurants, parking and both modern and historic hotels. This event attracts people from all over the country who enjoy fine art and wines.
Set your GPS to 120 S. Cortez Street-Prescott for the Festival and to 135 S. Granite Street-Prescott for parking!
For questions please call Cellar 433 at 928.634.7033
It is hard to fathom agricultural impact in Arizona as most of us are accustomed to living and working in the larger cities. Drive 15 minutes in any direction outside of any major metropolitan area and you will see a side of Arizona that many of us simply don’t think about. There is “snatch and grab” water regulation being proposed in Willcox will destroy the stability and continued growth of agriculture taking one of Arizona’s top five truly sustainable industries with it. Over the last century an edacious monster has steadily grown and voraciously consumed California’s water resources. It has grown so large and consumed all that it can there and it has now set its sights on Arizona.
The monster is masquerading as the champion for water conservation in Willcox. Farmers and homeowners are being duped into believing that unconditional regulation of water resources will ensure its future availability. You may find this hard to believe, but legislation is being proposed that literally prohibits future vineyard development in the Willcox AVA. A glaringly obvious detail that is being glazed over is the proposal that newly purchased land may not be planted if it hasn’t been farmed in the last five years. It would become an illegal act to plant a vineyard of any size in Arizona’s largest grape-growing region. There is the tale being told of exemption, but legislation created decades ago makes this nearly impossible. Typically in Arizona, agricultural land is purchased and farmed in sections, (three hundred or more acres.) Arizona Farm Winery vineyards are the exception. Historically they are an extension of a Vigneron’s home or family winery and typically span fifteen or twenty acres. Under current state law, an Arizona Farm Winery may only produce a maximum of 8,000 cases of wine annually to retain self-distribution privileges. Therefore more than 25 acres of planted grapes is impractical. Traditionally, Arizona Vignerons will purchase smaller parcels of undeveloped land and this is where the problem lies. The monster’s proposed legislation will make it impossible to develop future vineyards and will bring an awakening industry to its knees. We just need to look west of the San Joaquin Valley between Bakersfield and Sacremento to see the devastating effects of this type of regulation. Hundreds of thousands of acres once flourishing with agriculture and commerce are now littered with dead trees, tumbleweeds and jobs are nowhere to be had. Ironic that one of the world’s largest aqueducts, the California Aqueduct carries water from northern California right through this once viable region to Los Angeles, so residents can wash their cars. Willcox will suffer this same fate and an industry that impacts Arizona’s economy to the tune of over $43 million and thousands of related jobs. In the argument of water conservation it needs to be noted that an average home and its single family’s use of associated amenities and services in a developed area, (grocery stores, car washes, restaurants, etc.) can consume about an acre foot of water annually. That is close to 326,000 gallons per household. Developers can squeeze up to five houses on a single acre of land. This amount of water usage exceeds even the most water demanding crops. Grapes average 24 inches of water per acre annually. Willcox has a rainfall that suits grape-growing lessening the crop’s demand to even less than one household. Water conservation starts with the individual. This is another case of the government stepping in where it shouldn’t and the people that it is claiming to protect will end up being the victims.
Just a few moths ago, we had some of our residential neighbors with water problems. There were reports of dry wells and declining water levels. The ADWR has been conducting an online survey here, follow the links: http://www.azwater.gov/azdwr/
For our customers, friends and industry partners, there is a story about the 2013 state award winning
Montepulciano named “Death” that needs to be told. It is a story of the sad fate of a truly amazing wine that the world would never get to enjoy.
It was time for yet another bottling at Dragoon Mountain Vineyard. Barrels, some that had been aging for years, were being pulled down, pallets of bottles were being rolled back and forth, corks were being loaded and the fickle capsule machine was acting up as usual. The line was
pumping full speed with wine from the totes and on this
fateful night, the many seventeen hour days had simply taken their toll. John McLoughlin, and his two assistant winemakers were tasked with bottling thousands of
gallons of wine in a very short amount of time. It was also time to submit the wines for the state wine competition. It had been long ago decided that the Monte was showing so beautifully, that even though he didn’t believe he had a chance of placing, the Monte should be entered with a few others because they deserved a stage. Death was a Tarot card that John felt personally connected to for is meaning. Death is not the end, it really is a new beginning and when one door closes many more will open. From the beginning, John wanted this gorgeous Montepluciano from Arizona soil to be represented by this very special card and as of the day of
bottling the new labels had not arrived.
The barrels were pulled earlier in the day and John believed they each had been tasted, so they moved in line to be filtered. At about 12:30 am the assistant winemakers were tired and wanted to go home to sleep before the next inevitable sixteen hour shift. Filtering would take at least another six hours and he had to get the Montepluciano in the bottle and delivered to meet the contest submission deadline. Rather than make the assistants endure a more than twenty hour day, which he himself is accustomed to doing, he chose to bottle the Monte straight from the lowest barrel, hand label it with labels leftover from the previous bottling and get it on the road the next morning for its 4 hour journey from Willcox to Phoenix in time for the contest submission.
The next morning, the multiple barrels of Montepulciano were blended into a tank, filtered and then bottled. The
barrels had been tasted regularly over their cooperage, but wine is a living, breathing organism that can change in a very short period of time, and this is exactly what happened to one of barrels that was blended. The wine in one single barrel had diverged in flavor and characteristics from the others and this was not caught before being combined with the other barrels, filtered and bottled.
Months later, after the bottles had a chance to rest, the wine was tasted and it was apparent to John that the profile of the
Montepulciano bottled on the line was different. Though still a great wine, it was not the same profile as the
Montepulciano sent to the competition. John did not want to label the wine that was different than original.
Dragoon Mountain Vineyard is a functioning vineyard of over 150 acres of vines in the ground. It relies on a well for its water supply and fate dealt a painful blow by taking our well’s pump at the end of harvest. It would cost over $60, 0000.00 to repair and we did not have the money.
As fate was cruel, she wasn’t heartless. We were approached at that time by a buyer looking specifically for a stand out red wine to add to her private label line. John had no other wine ready and offered her the Montepulciano that he was resting. Because the wine was ready to go, but never regained its
original splendor he could offer it to her now. While it was
heartbreaking that the award winning Montepulciano would never carry the label of “Death”, it was still a good wine given a happy home under a private label that paid for the
continued viability of the vineyard that produced such
wonderful fruit in the first place.
This story is no secret around the winery and the reality stings when we think of it, but there have been some
irrational rumors we have become aware of that talk of foul play and deception. The reality is far less dramatic and
newsworthy as rumors, but while personally saddening at the time, “Death” truly lived up to her name by paying for the pump and opening a new door in the continued future of Dragoon Mountain Vineyards.
The Grower’s Cup award has since been relinquished to the AWGA, and we hope to possess that award again very soon.
We are happy to receive any questions or comments from our loyal patrons and you may contact us via e-mail through email@example.com
Not too many years ago, vineyard labor was available during harvest, pruning, training, and cleanup in the fields. New laws for Arizona border control of illegal immigrants drove most of the experienced workers north to States that had more liberal attitudes toward temporary agricultural workers. Large and small growers were forced to hire field hands through a contract employer, often ending up with in-experienced workers. To solve the problem, growers turned to firms that bring degree wine makers and cellar workers from outside the US. Many novice wine makers, fresh out of school, relished the opportunity to learn about Arizona grape growing.
Our first crew, Simona Lemmetti, (Italian), Julie Jalais, (France) and Leica Maurommati (Greece) arrived with high enthusiasm and varying degrees of knowledge of English and the process of growing grapes and making wine. When they departed America, they went with knowledge to carry with them into other vineyards around the world. Grapes grown in Arizona are world class and they learned it firsthand. This year, rather than through an agency, the internet brought us Christelle Peruzzetto and Virginie Moran from France via New Zealand.
Nini remarked in a recent interview, “European’s are very surprised and excited about grapes in Arizona” . Arizona vineyards are not in their radar or understandable, according to the known wine world. It is a curiosity the two girls felt they must experience. Wanting to be a part of cutting edge wine making, they felt like trail blazers of something special. There is a lot going on in Arizona and a hidden secret they wanted to be a part of. Christelle and Nini are experienced wine makers with degrees and knowledge. Rather than being a full time instructor, the two girls taught our wine maker a few new tricks. No baby sitting with these two; they knew what to do and were invaluable to our harvest and production of wine. Sadly, due to our restrictive work permits imparted by the US Government, they have to leave America soon; Chris back to family in France and Nini to a new adventure in New Zealand. All is not lost however, as word of mouth, the fastest verbal transit in the world and the internet, is now bringing us interested workers from around the US and the world. Yes, grapes grow in Arizona and we make world class wines. It has been a long journey from raw, unplowed and weed-laden dirt, to row after row as far as the eye can see. Almost every grape variety will grow in our 4500 ft altitude vineyard, fed by an ancient underground glacial aquifer. Hot days and cool nights provide exactly what Arizona grown grapes love and thrive on. My final words; EXPOSE YOURSELF TO ARIZONA WINES – taste what it is all about!
Bitter Creek Wines reflect our ability to take the unique
flavors of Willcox, Arizona varietals and evolve them into one wine that unites them for a more expressive taste!
John McLoughlin revels in asserting what each new vintage brings and he is renowned for his renegade style of
winemaking. Creating a wine for the distinguished palate can be likened to accessorizing the “little black dress”. On its own it is an icon, but the perfect accessories can make a breathtaking statement.
As resolutely as we believe in Arizona terroir, we equally
believe in supporting our local artists. Bitter Creek’s Tarot Card labels by Rick Wyckoff were selected to express the unique meaning and emotion evoked by the wine, the artist, and Tarot. Every wine in this collection is done in limited production. When a Tarot wine is gone, it will never again be produced. The card is retired and a new Tarot wine is created.
Wait. That label is not a Tarot card…
Through the Bitter Creek Winery collection our winemaker has gained notoriety with his renegade wine making style and of course, the Tarot labels. Over the last decade, the Rhone heritage has become more prevalent through Willcox, Arizona’s distinctive terroir as the vineyard matures. Both wine-making and the Tarot are spiritual in nature, and the Theme cards endure this expression. Through the Theme cards the Rhone-style wines from Willcox continue to forge ahead on their destined path.
Available only through the Cellar 433 tasting room
Spring has come; the grass has ris’; I wonder where the grapes is! Really bad English, but a great time of the year to experience the fruit of the vine. This is when a glass of wine outside on the patio is just downright enjoyable. Wine festivals abound all around Arizona; getting on the Cellar 433 website will let you know where they are, both in Northern and Southern Arizona.
The vineyard is now budding and beginning to stretch its leaves and tendrils along the wires that will soon be laden with vines and heavy with fruit in anticipation of harvest. Great time now to enjoy the fruits of last year harvest. Chilled white wines compliment almost anything from the grill or salads, fruits and cheese and crackers or bread. Seek out the unusual whites and white blends at the festivals you attend, or the wine stores. Refreshing is the word!
Back to the basics, which are the vines. Most vines will produce grapes at about three years, (remember that is three years in the ground – and about 1-3 years spent as clones on grafted root stock when planted), and continue to produce each year reaching a peak at about 15-20 years. There are old vines over 100 years in age, but that is rare. Good vineyard maintenance will extend the life of the vine and the quality of the grapes. There is a special joy in making wine from old vines as the grapes add depth and complexity of flavor to blends that is not always found in young fruit. Wines made from old vines are not always available and when found are very unique and special. Serious wine makers seek out these old vines and appreciate the opportunity to play with the blends they can produce. Years ago there were many vineyards in Arizona, mostly table grapes. Arizona, at one time, was the second largest table grape producer in the US. Today all those vineyards where my children and I picked grapes, and dried them on window screens into raisins, are gone. Who would have thought 45 years ago, that one of my children who helped me harvest grapes, would be growing grapes in the largest vineyard in the State of Arizona, making wine, and helping reunite people and wine.
Today, in the US, we are just beginning to go back to our wine roots. Europeans brought their traditions of wine with them to the US as immigrants. Wine was meant to be enjoyed with food and friends around the table. Prohibition literally killed the legal wine business in America. Age limitations on alcohol consumption further hurt the industry and invited control and corruption. The controls are still there, but the customs from Europe are returning. People are re-discovering the marriage of food and wine and the way people come together around the dinner table. The Arizona Wine Industry is the proof of the pudding, as my dad used to say, and is evident with the growth of vineyards and the abundance of wineries and tasting rooms around the state. Arizona wines are holding their own against California, Washington and Oregon, known as some of the best growing areas in the Western US. Look for more weekend wine experiences from our Arizona Vineyards. Sonoita has been a great destination for many years in Southern Arizona with many wineries and tasting rooms and B & B’s and accommodations. There are many experiences available along the Verde Valley Wine Trail which winds from the I-17 along the 260 up to Jerome. Yavapai College now offers a 2 year degree program in wine and vineyard management, and has a vineyard as part of the curriculum. UC Davis they are not, but what an auspicious start toward the future of the Arizona Wine Industry.
QUINFO: Many wineries have tasting rooms that also offer small snacks to full dinners available. There are wine trail maps available at most of the tasting rooms.