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.

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.

 

A Taste of Mount Veeder coming to Scottsdale in March

We all remember our first love, first car and first winery we visited right. I remember the first two but the wine geek in me remembers visiting Hess Collection Winery on Mount Veeder in 1997. It was the first winery I had ever visited early in my wine career. Hess Collection will be one of 11 wineries pouring their wines at “A Taste of Mount Veeder” on Saturday March 2nd. The tasting will be at Troon Country Club from 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.

About Mount Veeder

The Mount Veeder appellation is part of the Mayacamas range on the western side of Napa Valley. It borders Sonoma County to the west and the Carneros appellation to the south. From vineyards a top the mountain on a clear day you can see San Francisco to the south as I did from Rubisow-Sargent’s vineyards on another visit to Napa Valley.

Grapes at Paratus Vineyards. All photos courtesy of Mount Veeder Appellation

In 1993 it was designated an American Viticultural Area(AVA) and covers 16,000 acres with only 1,000 acres under vine. Cabernet Sauvignon makes up 64% of grapes grown. Mount Veeder represents 1.3% of wine production in Napa Valley.

It was the first AVA to grow Petit Verdot, have all 5 Bordeaux varietals planted at one vineyard and produce a wine with all 5 Bordeaux varietals.

Wineries participating

This will be a unique opportunity to taste these wines in one place as some of the wineries are not open to the public. Participating wineries will be…..

Boich Family Cellar
Brandlin
The Hess Collection Winery
Lagier Meredith
Marketta Winery
O’Shaughnessy Estate Winery
Progeny
Random Ridge
Robert Craig Winery
Rudd Estate Winery
Sky Vineyards
Yates Family Vineyards

Find wines that you like and you’ll be able to order them for your collection. Tickets are $75 in advance and include gourmet hor d’oeuvres. Tickets will be $100 at the door. To purchase tickets visit their website or call 707-266-1296 before they sell out.

Troon Country Club is at 25000 N. Windy Walk Dr. Scottsdale 85255.

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.

Watch out for Dead Zed Red, a Paso Robles red wine blend

Halfway between Los Angles and San Francisco sits Paso Robles with over 40,000 acres of vineyards and 200 wineries. One of those wineries is Tackitt Family Vineyards where Dead Zed Red is made. Dead Zed Red is a blend of 36% Grenache, 30% Zinfandel, 27% Syrah, 6% Mourvedre and 1% Viognier made by winemaker Leon Tackitt.

The red blend is the brainchild of wine industry veteran John Burke who released who started Vineyard Squadron Wines. Dead Zed Red is the first wine under the new label and was released in early 2018. In addition to John and Leon’s love for wine both served in the Navy. Leon learned about wine and learned to make wine while still in the Navy. Once he retired after serving for 27 years he embarked on his new love and second career.

Leon’s and his wife Cindy’s wines have garnered many accolades for their wines over the years.

The wine is aged in French and American oak.  I tasted it with a burger and they went well together with bright fruit, medium body and mild tannins. It is also best paired with hearty meats & pizza.

Big Chris of The Church of Horror designed Dead Zed Red’s label.  He is known for his work in the horror genre for video game design and art development in the music industry for bands KoRn and System of a Down.

Lunch with Russ Weis, President of Silverado Vineyards

I recently sat down for lunch at Hearth ’61 with the President of Silverado Vineyards, Russ Weis, when he was in Phoenix. We tasted 3 wines while Russ told us the Silverado story, about life in Napa Valley surviving recent wildfires and about the wines.

Russ was practically born into the wine business as the son of grape growers in Madera, California. Russ started his career in Napa Valley in 1987 at Christian Brothers Winery then went on to Robert Mondavi Winery in 1993. He joined Silverado Vineyards in 2004.

The Silverado Vineyards story

Silverado Vineyards was started in 1981 by Diane Disney and her husband, former football player and movie producer Ron Miller. The 6 historic vineyards owned by the winery date back to the 1800s and are located throughout Napa Valley. The winery is currently owned by Ron and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, with plans to keep it in the family for several more generations.

The wines are made by winemaker Jon Emmerich and associate winemaker Elena Franceschi. All wines are “Grown, Produced and Bottled by” the winery, one of a few Napa Valley wineries that can say that. A small portion of grapes are sold to other wineries.

With over 300 acres of vineyards the wines express the differing terroirs, giving each wine its unique complexity and character. The winery and home vineyard are in the Stags Leap District along the Silverado Trail.

Tasting the wines

During our lunch we tasted the 2016 Carneros Chardonnay and proprietary Cabernet Sauvignons GEO and SOLO from the 2014 vintage.

The chardonnay comes from the Vineburg and Firetree vineyards in the cooler southern part of Napa Valley. The wine is aged in French oak barrels with some in new oak. The wine is clean and well-balanced with oak and acidity. Bright fruit that the Carneros region is known for makes this a great wine to drink by itself or paired with food. It made a nice complement to our shrimp cocktail. The chardonnay is the winery’s second largest produced wine, at just under 10,000 cases.

The GEO Cabernet Sauvignon uses grapes grown on the Mt. George vineyard in Coombsville. The Millers bought the vineyard in 1987 and was the first vineyard planted to grapes in the Coombsville AVA. A splash of Petit Verdot is blended before the wine was aged for almost 2 years in mostly French oak. The wine was soft and enjoyable with good tannins giving you the typical Cabernet mouthfeel taste of blackberries and cocoa and drinks well. Only 2,200 cases are made.

The SOLO Cabernet Sauvignon was the last of the 3 wines we tasted. Made with 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is named for the fact it’s made from a single clone. The Silverado- Disney Heritage clone was given “Heritage” status by UC Davis because the new clone was carefully observed and had adapted to the unique soil of the Stags Leap District. It’s one of only 3 Cabernets with this status and the only one from Stags Leap District.

The bold fruit comes from the Silverado Vineyard and offers currants, cassis and plum nuances. It’s aged in 100% French oak with 38% new oak. The wine pairs well with grilled red meats and roasts. 2,400 cases were produced.

Visiting the winery

Silverado Vineyards is open daily by appointment. The winery is at 6121 Silverado Trail, Napa CA. 94458. For reservations call 707-257-1770 or visit their website.

Kazimierz Wine Bar gets new life with wine, whiskey and a new owner

Everybody was surprised to wake up in October to hear that Kazimierz Wine Bar had closed the night before. The iconic wine bar in downtown Scottsdale was a favorite “speakeasy” for the wine crowd and fans of live jazz. The bar gets a new lease on life this week as restaurateur Tommy Plato takes over the space opening Kazimierz Wine and Whiskey Bar.

Plato founded The Gelato Spot and owns Second Story Liquor Bar around the corner from Kazimierz. The atmosphere will be the same but guests will see a new decor, furniture, a VIP area and whiskey program.“Peter was a pioneer in Old Town and what he created here with Kazimierz in this space is exactly what Scottsdale needs,” said Tommy Plato.  “I’m excited to keep this tradition alive but with an updated twist on a high-end establishment where you can go to have after-dinner drinks, light bites and great live music all night long in an upscale environment that caters to wine and cocktail enthusiasts,” said Plato.

New menu at Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar

Happy hour will be offered daily from 4 – 7 p.m. and a new full menu will be available until closing. Plato will introduce a new chef, menu and Whiskey Ambassador Program when the Kazimierz opens on Thursday, January 24th.

Kazimierz Wine Bar
All photos courtesy of Rose+Moser+Allyn Public and Online Relations

The new menu will include charcuterie plates, bruschetta, oysters, flatbreads and more. Ingredients will be sourced from local purveyors including Noble Bread and Chula Seafood. Desserts are Plato’s strong point from his experience at The Gelato Spot.

Whiskey selections

Over 100 wines and 500 whiskeys, bourbons, ryes offerings from the U.S., Scotland, Ireland and Japan will be available. Included will be hand-picked selections and rare bottlings.

“Kazimierz Wine and Whiskey Bar is the perfect blend of good food, upscale atmosphere and the best wine and whiskey selection in Old Town. I am so excited to bring a new late-night concept to a familiar place that has had an incredible following for many years,” said Plato.

Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar is at 7137 E. Stetson Dr. Scottsdale 85251. 480-495-3004

 

 

 

 

6th Annual Italian Festival returns to “Piazza del Scottsdale”

Everything Italian will be celebrated February 23rd & 24th at the 6th Annual Italian Festival in Scottsdale. The popular 2-day festival is organized by The Italian Association of Arizona with part of the proceeds going to St. Vincent de Paul. The festival returns to the “Piazza del Southbridge” along the waterfront in downtown Scottsdale.

Marcellino Verzino of Marcellino Ristorante

Wine, gelato, homemade meatballs and delicious Italian food favorites will be available as you stroll among traditional Italian crafts vendors. Live music and dancing by Italian folk group A Ziarella, Di Gala, Phoenician Tenors and Sima and her All Star Trio will entertain.

Celebrity chef Marco Sciortino will be there and offer cooking demonstrations at the Galbani Cheese stage.

Tickets are $10 with children under 12 free and are available online. The festival starts Saturday & Sunday at 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and 6 p.m.

 

 

 

Switchback Ridge Winery dinner at The Market Restaurant + Bar by Jennifer’s

Phoenix restaurants are running around crazy the next 10 days with the holiday rush in 5th gear. After 2019 begins restaurateurs and staff take a needed breather it will be back to serving hungry visitors and locals. The Market + Bar at Jennifer’s jumps back into it on January 9th with a wine dinner with Switchback Ridge Winery.

The four-course dinner will be paired with a unique menu from chef Jennifer Russo and wines made by legendary Napa Valley winemaker Bob Foley. Founder Kelly Peterson will be flying in from Calistoga to co-host the dinner and speak about the wines.

Switchback Ridge sources all the grapes for their wines from the families Peterson Family Vineyard run by Kelly’s mom and dad, John & Joyce Peterson. The winery makes 3 red wines with a small production of less than 3,000 cases.

Switchback Ridge Winery pairing menu

The big & bold red wines require a bold menu and it is as follows……

Hourglass Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Grilled Prawns with Bottarga Risotto

Giant prawns seasoned with flakey salt and Gilroy garlic brushed with extra virgin olive oil lightly grilled until color bursts creamy Italian arborio risotto with vanilla bean backnotes served with grated Mediterranean bottarga lime and lemon zest

 

Switchback Ridge Merlot 2014

Roasted Breast of Duck with Hoisin

Breast of duck, seared to mid-rare with a hoisin glaze Yukon gold potato gratin, braised Belgian endive and fresh mint leaves

 

Switchback Ridge Cabernet 2014

Bing cherry Demi-Glace over Lamb Loin

Boneless Colorado rack of lamb roasted to a warm mid-rare served with a bing cherry demi-glace and tender cooked bulgur wheat and snipped fresh watercress

 

Side by Side

Switchback Ridge Petite Syrah 2015 & Switchback Ridge Vintage Petite Syrah

Deconstructed Bleu Cheese Cheesecake

Honey black pepper macerated blackberries layered with bleu cheese cheesecake with vanilla wafer crust

 

The dinner is $95 per person at starts at 6:30 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling (602)626-5050.

The Market + Bar by Jennifer’s is at 3603 E. Indian School. Rd Phoenix 85018.