Rune Wines & Farmboy pair up for “Blue Zones” pop-up dinner

Grace Farms in Chandler will be the site of a “Taste of The Blue Zones” pop-up dinner on April 28th. The dinner will pair a creative worldly four-course menu from Farmboy with wines from Sonoita’s Rune Wines. Farmboy chef Dennis Bagnasco will use ingredients that are sourced locally as will be the wood used to cook over.

Blue zone’s are identified as parts of the world where certain lifestyle elements create an excellent quality of life. The blues zones have been identified by author Dan Buettner’s National Geographic articles and books. Lifestyle elements in the blue zones include diet and positive outlook on life.

Rune Wines owner and winemaker James Callahan will be pouring his wines with each course.

The menu is as follows….

Reception (Nicoya, Costa Rica) — Black Bean Dip with corn tortillas, papaya salsa and plantains paired with Rune 201 Viogner, craft beer and specialty cocktail

1st Course (Okinawa, Japan) — Purple Sweet Potato with tofu, snap peas, sesame and sweet and spicy soycomplemented by Rune 2016 Roussanne

Intermezzo (Icaria, Greece) — Ikarian Longevity Stew with black-eyed peas, veggies and heirloom tomatoes

2nd Course (Sandinia, Italy) — Whole Smoked Lamb with artichoke and garlic white wine sauce served with Rune 2016 Grenache

 3rd Course (Loma Linda, California) — Cherry Nut Bark with dried cherries, pecans and dark chocolate paired with Rune 2016 Wild Syrah

The dinner is $119 per person plus tax and starts at 5:30 p.m. You may purchase tickets to the dinner here.

“Hot Brand” awarded to Aridus Wine Co. by Wine Business Monthly

Willcox’s Aridus Wine Company received national recognition in February when Wine Business Monthly named it a “Hot Brand”. The annual list is compiled with wineries, growers, vintners and wines that are making a statement in the wine industry.

“We are enormously honored and thrilled,” said founder/proprietor Scott Dahmer, “to be recognized by this honor, which comes on a national scale and in a field of very distinguished other contenders.”

Wine Business Monthly singled out the 2015 Syrah as part of the profile which was made by winemaker Lisa Strid. The syrah comes from several local vineyards and is usually the first reds to be harvested each year. Strid likes to pioneer new varietals to the area and likes working with the challenging climate of the region.

Part of consideration for the “Hot Brand” award was the growth of the winery and its commitment to offer all “estate sourced” wines. The high elevation winery and vineyards is in Chiricahua Hills appellation of southeastern Arizona.

Hot Brand choice

Erin Kirschenmann, Wine Business Monthly editor, explains that “every year,
when Wine Business Monthly “Our goal is to always represent the American wine industry. Often, that means discovering a new winery in an established region while also paying homage to the stalwarts who continue to move the industry forward. It means we look at wineries in non-West Coast, “traditional” winemaking states, or those who might be bucking a trend or trying new techniques.”

The winery was founded in 2012 as a custom crush facility for the regions wineries in what was an old apple warehouse. Aridus is Latin for “dry or arid”  which is what the terroir offers, good for winemaking.

The Aridus Tasting room in Willcox is at 145 N. Railview Ave. the winery is nearby. The old town Scottsdale tasting room is at 7173 E. Main St. 85251. For more information visit their website.

Merkin Vineyards opens its wine bar in downtown Scottsdale

Shelves are stocked, menus have been printed and Merkin Vineyards have opened their wine bar in downtown Scottsdale. The Jerome based winery flipped the “Open” sign Thursday March 14th as the bureaucracy paperwork was complete.

Wines from Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars will be poured their 7 days week. The location has a rich history in the Scottsdale wine community as the tasting room is housed in what was the wine eccentric restaurant FnB and most recently cocktail bar Counter Intuitive.

Merkin Vineyards wines

You’ll find mostly Spanish and Italian varietals poured at the wine bar from high elevation vineyards. Grapes for Merkin and Caduceus wines are grown at the wineries estate vineyards in Verde Valley and Willcox. The vineyards encompass 110 acres and the wines are made by MJ & Jen Keenan, Tim White and Erin Center. All wines are sustainably made.

A small menu of fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses are available. The fruits and vegetables are grown at the wineries Verde Valley greenhouse, gardens and orchards. Other Arizona farmers provide for what they don’t grow.

Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale is open Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. It’ s at 7133 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251 and you can visit their website for more information.

A visit to GenuWine Arizona, a self serve wine bar.

With all of the development in downtown Phoenix in recent years it’s hard to recognize it let alone keep track of the new business’s that have opened up. One of those business’s is GenuWine Arizona, a wine and beer bar on Roosevelt Row.  I recently found myself at GenuWine as owners Emily Rieve and Lindsey Schoenemann were finalizing plans to celebrate their first anniversary.

Emily and Lindsey are two mid-westerners who found themselves teaching together in Gilbert. They enjoyed working together on school lessons and wanted to share their passion to collaborate on something unique. The wine enthusiasts decided on a self-serve wine bar and GenuWine Arizona was born.

What’s going on at GenuWine Arizona

Focusing on mostly Arizona wines, beers and foods guests can make their way up to the wine wall for a taste, 1/2 glass or full glass of over 24 wines. I opted for 4 tastes of Arizona wines on my visit. Local craft beers are on tap and by the bottle if you’re in the mood for the suds.

The laid back atmosphere offers board games to play, couches and chairs to talk with friends and people watch along Roosevelt. A few seats at the bar allow for you to enjoy your drink while chatting with Emily and Lindsey when their not with their guests. If hungry you can build your own cheese board.

Weekly events include beer and tastings, unique classes(cheese making), live music and a comedy night. On First Friday’s you can usually count on a beer or wine tasting and food truck outside. Happy hour is Mon.-Fri. from 3-6 p.m. with $2 off full glasses of wine, draft beer and small plates.

GenuWine Arizona
Owners Emily and Lindsey

There’s plenty of room for private parties and a wine club is in the works.

For a calendar of events and lists of wine and beer they’re pouring visit their website.

GenuWine Arizona is at 888 N. 1st Ave. Suite 101 Phoenix 85003. 602-682-7494. Hours Mon. – Thurs. 3 – 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 1 -11 p.m and Sun. 1 -9 p.m.

 

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch launches Five C’s Supper Series

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of The Grand Canyon becoming part of The National Park Service. February is the month in which Arizona became a state and The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch is celebrating both with a new Five C’s Dinner Series.

Brick chicken with Oyster Mushrooms. All photos by Debby Wolvos

On Feb. 21, March 28, April 25, May 30 and June 20 the resorts signature restaurant, Kitchen West will prepare unique 3-course menu. Each dinner will celebrate each of the five C’s that Arizona is known for Copper, Cattle, Citrus, Cotton and Climate. The family style dinners are inspired by Arizona’s roots and southwestern cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Rick Dupere.

Western style cooking techniques including searing in cast iron skillet over a wood fire will give meats bold and hearty flavors. Guests will dine on citrus salads, butcher boards followed by entrees that include rib-eyes, sea bass, roasts and more. Seasonal and locally sourced ingredients will be used if available. Here are the  complete menu’s for all five dinners.

The Blueberry Maude Mule

Each dinner is $85 per person plus a 20% gratuity and taxes. Each dinner will start with a cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m. with appetizers and Arizona wines. Dinner will follow at 6:30 and will be paired wine or a cocktail.

With limited seating reservations are required and can be made by calling Angelica at 480-596-7525.

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch
Braised Short Ribs

The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch is at 7700 E. McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale 85258.

Tickets available for Tuscon’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival

If you’re not familiar with the Tuscon food and wine scene now is a great opportunity to get to know it. This Saturday’s SAVOR Food and Wine Festival showcases southern Arizona’s restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries at the Tucson Botanical Garden. Over 60 participants will be offering tastes and sips of their food and drinks.

The 6th annual event promotes the region as a serious player on the national food scene. The festival is co-sponsored by the Southern Arizona Arts & Cultural Alliance, Local First Arizona and Tuscon Botanical Garden. The three non-profits promote the cultural uniqueness that southern Arizona has to offer.

“The Savor Food and Wine Festival not only showcases the rich and delicious culture of the region, but highlights the importance of supporting these local food businesses in our daily lives,” said Kimber Lanning, Founder and Executive Director of Local First Arizona. “Much of Southern Arizona’s local economy is driven by those in the dining, culinary, and local foods industries. Without them, we wouldn’t have the diverse culture and economy that we see today in Tucson and beyond.”

Tastes and sips at SAVOR Food & Wine Festival

Festival goers can expect to taste delicious foods from new restaurants along with long time Tucson favorites. A few of the restaurants participating include…..

Pastiche Modern Eatery, Tohono Chul Garden Bistro, Omni Tuscon National, Merkin Vineyards Pizza Wagon, Casino Del Sol, El Cisne Cocina de Mexico and Brushfire BBQ.

Wineries, distilleries and breweries include….. Barrio Brewing, Caduceus Cellars, Pillsbury Wine Co. Whiskey Del Bac, Mother Road Brewing Co. and Adventurous Stills.

Guests will also enjoy educational food demonstrations, live music, unique art displays and a raffle. Admission includes Butterfly Magic and the “Out of the Woods” exhibit on tour from the New York Botanical Garden.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. with tickets costing $79. Tickets are available at https://www.saaca.org/

The Tuscon Botanical Garden is at 2150 N. Alveron Way.

 

Enjoy Arizona only beers, wines and spirits at 1st annual AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews festival

Arizona is on the worldwide map with its craft beers, wines and spirits with the trophies and awards given over the last few years. To showcase all things Arizona there will be the first ever AZ Barrels, Bottles & Brews festival at Salt River Fields on November 3rd.

Arizona
Photo courtesy of Salt River Fields

The beers, wines and spirits will be made exclusively for the festival and use Arizona yeast, hops, grapes and water.

With a great view of the McDowell Mountains from the concourse of Salt River Fields festival goers will be able to sample from 2-5 p.m.

Over 30 brewers, wineries and distillers are scheduled to participate and the list keeps growing. SanTan Brewing Co., Helton Brewing, Elgin Distillery, Cellar 433 and McFate Brewing are a few of those announced.

Tickets are limited and are $50 for 12 drink samples and access to food trucks to purchase food. V.I.P tickets are available at $65 and allow entry an hour early at 1 p.m. Designated drivers pay only $19 and get a free swag bag. For more information and to purchase tickets visit the festival website.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick is at 7555 N. Pima Rd. Scottsdale, AZ

LDV Winery celebrates 10th anniversary re-locating Wine Gallery to SouthBridge

Reaching a 10 year anniversary for a small business is a big accomplishment. Business’s that make it that long celebrate in several different ways some big, some small. Kurt & Peggy co-owners of LDV Winery is celebrating in a big way as the-re-locate their popular Scottsdale Wine Gallery to SouthBridge on Stetson Dr.

Moving to nearby Southbridge on the canal, LDV will be able to attract new customers from the large amount of foot traffic from nearby restaurants and shopping.

“We are thrilled to bring even better wine experiences, tastings and purchase offerings to our members and guests through our new location,” says co-owner Peggy Fiandaca. “It’s our pleasure and distinct honor to share our love and knowledge of Arizona wines with other local wine enthusiasts and visitors to the area that are unaware of our region’s amazing wine growing abilities.”

Events at SouthBridge

With the E. 1st St. location closing on July 27th all August and September events are cancelled until they open in October. Its business as usual until the 27th with daily happy hour and WineDown Wednesday.  Once they Kurt and Peggy re-open at their new location they will continue their exciting events focused around their wines made at their winery in southern Arizona.

Purchases of wine are 30% off when you buy 6 until they close at 8 p.m. on July 27th. To purchase wines or get more information reach out to 602-320-1485, info@ldvwinegallery.com or https://ldvwinery.com/

Here is the schedule of events for October, November and December.

OCTOBER

LDV Winery Sky Islander Wine Club Pick-up Party

Sunday, October 14th -1:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m.

Sky Islander Wine Club members can pick up their wine club packages and taste through the new wines. Guests are welcome; regular tasting fees apply. Wine club packages will be charged to credit card on file the beginning of October. Call Peggy 602-320-1485 to update any club member information.

Wine Glass Painting with Alexandria Reilly

Saturday, October 20th -10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Guest can enjoy this Wine glass painting class with assistance from the artist. All art supplies and nibbles by Chef Jennifer of Witnessing Nature in Food will be provided. LDV wines available for purchase to enjoy during the class. Cost: $35.00; registration: https://www.paintandcreateaz.com/book-online

 LDV Harvest Festival

Saturday, October 27th 2018 -11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.

All are welcome to join in the celebration of the 2018 Harvest Completion with LDV Winery, enjoying great wine, a Le Nez du Vin (Nose of the Wine) competition, grape stomping photo opportunities, and music on the patio. Free to attend and enjoy wine by the glass discounts and nibbles such as artisan cheese, sausage and other noshes.

NOVEMBER

LDV 10th Year Celebration – Special Wine Release

Saturday, November 10th -During regular hours

Guests are invited to celebrate the LDV winemaker’s 60th birthday and the release of the LDV 10th Year Celebration limited edition wine. Celebration includes a tasting of the special 10th Year Celebration Wine and birthday cake. Admission is free.

Wine Glass Painting with Alexandria Reilly

Saturday, November 17th- 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Guest can enjoy this Wine glass painting class with assistance from the artist. All art supplies and nibbles by Chef Jennifer of Witnessing Nature in Food will be provided. LDV wines available for purchase to enjoy during the class. Cost: $35.00; registration: https://www.paintandcreateaz.com/book-online

Paint Your Pet with Tawny

Wednesday, November 28-6:00 p.m. -8:00 p.m.

During this pet-centric Wine Down Wednesday, artist Tawny will assist guests in painting pictures of their pets on a 9×12” pre-sketched canvas. Cost is $35.00, including all supplies, and LDV wines by the glass are available at happy hour prices. Registration: www.artedelamor.com

DECEMBER

During this holiday month, guests that bring in a toy for Toys for Tots will receive a 10 percent discount.

Corks, Crafts and Wine

Saturday, December 1st -10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Guests can bring in their glue guns and sticks to create wine-cork crafts such as wreaths, cork trees and ornaments in this fun and social environment while sipping wine and nibbling on snacks. Cost: $15, including a glass of wine. Registration: 602-320-1485

Wine Glass Painting with Alexandria Reilly

Saturday, December 8th- 10:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.

Guest can enjoy this Wine glass painting class with assistance from the artist. All art supplies and nibbles by Chef Jennifer of Witnessing Nature in Food will be provided. LDV wines available for purchase to enjoy during the class. Cost: $35.00; registration: https://www.paintandcreateaz.com/book-online

Paint Your Pet with Tawny

Wednesday, December 12th -6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

During this pet-centric Wine Down Wednesday, artist Tawny will assist guests in painting pictures of their pets on a 9×12” pre-sketched canvas. Cost is $35.00, including all supplies, and LDV wines by the glass are available at happy hour prices. Registration: www.artedelamor.com

Scottsdazzle – Scottsdale Wine Trail Santa Wine Around

Saturday, December 15th -6:00 p.m. -9:00 p.m.

Guests can get into the spirit of the season by decking themselves in their Santa or Mrs. Claus attire for a fun “Santa Wine Around” throughout downtown Scottsdale. With stops at four local wineries, each with wine specials and activities to celebrate the holidays, the entire downtown Scottsdale area will also be alive with holiday merriment and activities! Registration not required; all Scottsdazzle events can be viewed at www.scottsdazzle.com.

 

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Aridus Wine Company winemaker Lisa Strid is ready for 2018 harvest.

The summer months are a busy time of year for wineries and their winemakers and Arizona’s Aridus Wine Company is no different. With the growing season in full bloom winemakers and employees will be getting ready in the next few months to pick the grapes to make wine. At Aridus there is great anticipation for this years harvest as winemaker Lisa Strid spent the “off-season” in Australia working harvest in the Clare Valley.

Lisa has always been interested in Australian wine making so when the opportunity presented itself she jumped at the opportunity to spend 3 months learning techniques down under.

Lisa’s time in Australia

With Australia being in the southern hemisphere they have the opposite growing season and harvest than we do in Arizona. It’s not un-common for winemakers from up north to travel below the equator to work harvest and learn something new and build new relationships. Upon her return from Australia, Lisa answered questions about her trip and what she learned.

Why were you intrigued to go do a harvest in Australia?

I mostly wanted to learn.  The more you expose yourself to different ways of doing things, at different wineries in different regions, the more you learn.  Since I jumped right into full-time, year-round winemaking right out of school, I never had the experience of a harvest-hopping endless summer.  I’d definitely been itching to make it to the southern hemisphere for a harvest, but the timing hadn’t been right until this year.

What are Kirrihill’s specialties?

Kirrihill is the second largest winery in the Clare Valley, so they produce a whole range of wines, but they’re mostly focused on Riesling (which the region is known for), Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.  They do make a few small batch wines – my favorite amongst them being a Nero D’Avola made from fruit sourced from McLaren Vale.  Their Peacemaker Shiraz is very nice as well.

What practices were different?

Simply being at a larger scale in a region that’s well established meant that there were a lot of differences to how things are done in Arizona.  Nearly all of the grapes brought in were machine harvested.  So that means no whole cluster pressing of whites, and no stem inclusion on red fermentation.

They had a number of different cap management strategies for the reds – both open and closed top fermenters with automatic pumpovers that could be very easily adjusted and customized on the fly, fermenters with pulsed air systems and rotary fermenters.  Because of the sheer volume moving through the winery, it was necessary to get things through fermentation and stabilized as soon as possible, so there weren’t many cold soaks or extended macerations.

By the time I left, the regional Riesling we’d made early in the harvest season was ready for bottling. Also, everything’s measured in a different scale there – not just metric, but also sugars were measured in Baume rather than Brix. So I was doing a lot of mental conversion, especially at first.

What was the most fun while you were there?

I liked getting to know everyone.  It was a crew from all corners of the globe, and everyone had such great attitudes.

Do they have harvest customs food-wise?

Not really, but The Sevenhill Pub did a harvest worker special every Wednesday evening – burger and a pint for $20.  That’s about $14 USD.

What would Americans be surprised to learn from your ‘immersion’ there?

I didn’t even realize how great the rodeos are here in the US until I went to one there.  The Aussies have us beat hands down in things like education, public safety, health care, and quality of life, but our rodeos are way better.

There are also a ton of vehicles with massive bullbars on them, and at first I thought it was because Aussies are all just really into looking like bad asses, but it’s actually functional. It’s so common for kangaroos to jump out into the road, seemingly from nowhere, that it helps to have a bullbar so as not to destroy your car if you can’t avoid hitting one.

Did you have a favorite food?

Fresh passionfruit.

Were there kangaroos on the crush pad?!

Not on the crush pad, but pretty much everywhere else!  I’m an insect collector, and there were tons of giant rain moths – Trictena atripalpis – in the cellar starting in about mid-February.

What are you eager to try as a new technique at Aridus Wine Company?

I’ll be judiciously incorporating pulsed air into our protocols.

What did the Aussies ask you about life & winemaking in Arizona?

They were curious about the soils and the weather in the region, and wanted to know what varieties did well.  I think I forced them to be curious about Mexican food because I talked about it so much.

Did you develop an accent?!

No, but I did ask a co-worker here, “How are you going?” when I got back without even thinking about it.

2018 harvest at  Aridus Wine Company

When harvest begins in mid-July this will be the second year Aridus will be making wine from grapes grown on their own vineyards. Sauvignon Blanc and other white varietals will be the first to be picked. The winery in the Wilcox appellation of southeastern Arizona owns 40 acres of estate vineyard. The vineyard is split in to the “North Side” and the “South Side” with Turkey Creek as the dividing line.

“This estate vineyard defines a unique mix of mountain and desert fine wine grape growing,” explains winery owner Scott Dahmer. The winery also purchases grapes from other vineyards in Arizona and New Mexico.

The Aridus Wine Company winery is at 1126 North Haskell Avenue in Willcox. The winery’s tasting room is nearby, at 145 North Railview Avenue and is open Friday – Saturday from noon until 5:00 p.m.; appointments are not necessary. More info: 520/766-9463

Aridus Wine Company also has a  tasting room in the old town neighborhood of Scottsdale, at 7173 East Main Street. This tasting room is open Monday – Saturday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. The tasting room stays open until 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays. More info at 520/954-2676 or at their website.

 

 

Quiesscence at the Farm offers “Locals Only” dining experiences

Those of us that stick it out through the long hot summer deserve an award and  Quiessence at the Farm is doing that, kind of. The award-winning farm to table restaurant is bringing back two popular dining experiences for locals before they take time off.

Locals dining experiences

Before chef Dustin Christofolo and staff shut down the restaurant from July 1st – August 9th they will be offering a limited seat dinner “Taste of Quiessence”. Tuesday-Thursday’s June 12th, 13th, 14th, 19th, 20th, 21st, 26th, 27th and 28th will offer 12 guests per night the opportunity to taste seasonal vegetables and more on a nightly changing Tasting menu. QuiessenceThe first come, first serve dinners will offer guests seasonal ingredients from the farm and from other Arizona vendor as part of the 3-course dinner.

The Taste of Quiessence dinners are $45++ per person with a wine pairing option for an additional $20 per person.

Thursday Wine Flight

When the restaurant re-opens in August after a research and development hiatus guests can join them for Thursday Wine Flights with a trio of tapas. Level 2 sommelier Alison Sponberg will select wines to pair with chef Christolofo’s special menu for the evening.

The three-week themes will be…

August 16 – “Southwest is Best”                                                                                  August 23 – “Farmers, Friends, and Friuli”                                                             August 30 – “Summer in the South of France”

Cost for the wine and food pairing experience is $40 per person++.

Guests can make reservations for both experiences by calling 602-276-0601 and can make reservations for August’s Thursday Wine Flights during the July hiatus. Be sure to mention the wine flights to receive the special menu and price.

Quiessence at The Farm is at 6106 S. 32nd Street Phoenix, AZ 85042. Visit their website for more information.