Yes. Arizona has a wine country. Even many people who live here in the Phoenix area are surprised by this, so I imagine my readers at the farther reaches of the planet are thinking perhaps I am just writing about a dream I had after too many Moscow Mules.
Yet there I was in real life, in a vineyard an hour and a half out of town called Page Springs Cellars.
These poor grapes were suffering in the 100+ temperatures, but I suppose stress like that is good for fruit that is going to then be smashed and fermented for our pleasure. We opted out of the tour this time around and headed inside for a tasting.
Having lived in the Bay Area for many years, the wine tasting experience is not new to me. Page Springs does not disappoint with its well laid out tasting rooms, beautiful patio, and even a food menu with small plates to select. We opted for the cheese platter and the Arizona Flight including one ounce pours of five different wines.
The first wine, “Mule’s Mistake” is aptly named. It is a red blend with every grape known to man, including a bit of white for good measure. I did not enjoy it, but Joe thought it was good enough to have with dinner.
The second wine was a cabernet. Our host explained that due to the monsoons in Arizona, this particular grape has to be grown a bit differently than in climates without our monsoon season. The wine comes out significantly lighter than a cab from the Napa floor, where the summers are almost completely dry. I’ve always found it fascinating how you can take the same grape around the world, give it different soil and different weather patterns, and the wine that comes out is distinct to that region.
The final three wines on the list were also blends and I loved them all. A little spicy, but not in that zinfandelly way that I find so displeasing. (Joe swears it is because I haven’t tasted the right zinfandel. I still assert that there are some grapes that just don’t work for me. Pinot Gris is another. From the moment I smell it I am repelled.)
After our tasting we braved the heat once again to check out the deck overlooking Oak Creek. It was around 100 degrees out and probably 50% humidity. I hope to go back when it is not so miserable because it was such a lovely spot.
We walked down this path and I was so taken by the bunches of grapes hanging overhead that I fell down the first step. Being the pro that I am, I only spilled a bit of wine on my hand and Joe’s arm – no clothing was stained in the accident. It probably helps that the glasses were stemless and I had a good hold before tripping.
Sadly, I was so discombobulated by my fall, I forgot to take a photo of the delightful deck. Trust me, it’s extremely unique and a great place to enjoy a glass of wine. You just might want to go during the cooler season as we were sweating by the time we hiked back up to the car.
Stay tuned for our adventures in Jerome. What a crazy little town that place is – lots of drinking and art and stairs galore.
Until then, here is a funny picture Joe took of me taking my grape shot. No fancy camera for me these days….