Tag Archives: Winery

Alcantara Vineyard and Winery

Northern Arizona Wineries: Alcantara Vineyard & Winery

Alcantara Vineyard & Winery is nestled in the hills outside of Cottonwood. The warm days and cooler nights allow for the creation of delicious wines and the perfect atmosphere to go on the vineyard tour.

Alcantara Vineyard & WineryBefore you even step inside the modern stucco house that serves as Alcantara’s tasting room and gift shop, you will hear the crooning of Frank Sinatra. The foyer of the house is bustling as is the sitting room and the kitchen. It feels more like a casual cocktail party where you can make yourself at home.

I pulled up a seat at the tasting bar and acquainted myself with the wine tasting list. With 16 wines to choose from, I read the descriptions carefully. It was difficult as the majority of the wine list catered to reds, and I love reds. Check out the wine list by visiting Alcantara’s website.

I tasted the 2010 Sauvignon Blanc, and for a white wine I enjoyed it. It was a crisp, medium-bodied wine with hints of nectarine and pears.

Alcantara Vineyard & Winery

But I couldn’t wait to taste the reds! I tasted nearly the whole list, so I’ll just list my favorites.

The 2008 Syrah was clean with a taste of black berry and rose hips, a hint of violet and pepper. It was soft, yet weighty and definitely delicious.

The 2007 Meritage, a Bordeaux blend, was very dark, bold and spicy. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec grapes create a wine that exhibits dark cassis and currant flavors with hints of baking spices, lavender and soft tannins. This wine is blended beautifully.

But now I introduce you to the 2008 Petite Sirah, this wine was absolutely perfect to my palate. It was opaque, almost like ink. It was weighty and consumed the tongue in flavors of lavender, blackberry and spice combined with big tannins. All I wrote in the note box next to this wine on my tasting sheet was, “AMAZING!”

It had been quite a tour for my palette, but I still had the dessert wines to try. Normally dessert wines are not my favorite. They usually end up being too much like semi-sweetened white wine, but I fell in love with a dessert wine at Alcantara vineyards. The 2006 Late Harvest Semillon was sweet liquid gold as it flowed down my throat. It was sweet, but it was balanced with a crisp acidity and the flavors of orange blossom, honeycomb, honeysuckle and peach. It was a wonderful finish to a superb day of wine tasting.

Alcantara Vineyard & Winery

It is $10 for five tastings, including a souvenir wine glass, $15 for the VIP tasting that comes with a crystal goblet, and if you are lucky enough to make it to Alcantara Vineyard on Friday or Saturday you can opt to go on the vineyard tour for $18 which includes the tasting.

After the tasting, I spent some time on the outdoor patio enjoying the cool Cottonwood air and then walked around the vineyard looking at the bunches of grapes on the vine ripening for this year’s harvest. I happened to visit on a Sunday, so I missed out on the wine tour, but Alcantara Vineyard has a list of events coming up this fall and both at the vineyard and in Northern Arizona.


If You Go:

Alcantara Vineyard
7500 Alcantara Way, Verde Valley
(928) 649-8463
Daily: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 

San Dominique Winery

Northern Arizona Wineries: San Dominique Winery

Napa, Napa, Napa! It’s all about Napa right? Not anymore. Napa Valley still has seniority in the wine game, but you won’t hear wine-ing laments from younger wineries in Northern Arizona. They stand very well on their own and have something a little bit different to bring to the wine enthusiast.

Recently, I took a trip to Northern Arizona to visit two of the 13 wineries on the Northern Arizona Wine Tour Map near Camp Verde and Cottonwood.

San Dominique Winery

My first stop was the San Dominique Winery also known as Garlic Paradise. Aside from my enjoyment of wine, I love garlic. I put it in or on just about everything I cook. I’ve even had the opportunity to taste garlic ice cream which was delicious, but sadly, is one of the only things not offered at Garlic Paradise.

San Dominique Winery is run out of a small shop by owner and cellar master, Bill Staltari. San Dominique Winery has the feel of an Italian general store with the products of Garlic Paradise lining the shelves and bottles of wine behind a big wooden counter.

The Wine
The wine tasting list offers 17 wines to taste, reds, whites and the specialty wines. There is also a separate list of “Specialty Private Reserves” that states “Serious Inquiries Only.” It’s only $10 for four tastings, and you get a souvenir glass. I am not sure if this includes wines off the private reserve list, but I doubt it.San Dominique Winery

I tried the 1998 Cabernet, 2005 Cabernet and Black Cherry reds, the Arizona Blush, the Muscato of Alexandria whites, and the three specialty wines, Hot Pepper wine, Amerita, and Almondino.

My favorite red was the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon; it had a light spice, a hearty bouquet and a smooth finish — no wonder it is a Silver Medal winner. The Black Cherry wine was another favorite, it is a sweet summer wine made purely from black cherries — very fruity and rich.

But what really excited me was the list of specialty wines. The Amrita is an orange marsala dessert wine. It has flavors of honey and orange, and it’s not as sweet as expected. The Almondino was a rich and smooth almond-flavored, sherry-based wine. And lastly there was the hot pepper wine. This is not a dessert wine and even following the recommendation to “serve chilled” won’t cool it off! It’s a blend of Chenin Blanc and French Colombard grapes infused with hot pepper. If you buy a bottle, you get a complimentary recipe card that suggests how to use the wine to spice up your favorite dishes or that happy hour margarita.

San Dominique Winery

The Garlic
The amount of items that include garlic are incredible — BBQ rubs and sauces, pasta sauces, salad dressings, dipping oils, sandwich spreads and meat glazes. And even if you or someone you know doesn’t love garlic, there are a few items sans garlic worth a try. And if you can’t make it to San Dominique you can always order your favorites online at www.garlicparadise.com.

The Dinners
Staltari cooks up dinner’s right in his shop, and every three to five weeks on a Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. he hosts dinner for a group. The dinner is seven courses for a reasonable price.

“Don’t expect to rush away,” Staltari says. “It’s at least a three hour affair where you can relax and enjoy yourself.”

He has been doing these dinners for 18 years and enjoys hosting as much as the guests enjoy eating. If you are interested in the Sunday dinner, give your email address to San Dominique Winery, and you will be emailed a menu and date of the next dinner.

San Dominique Winery

Bill Staltari in his kitchen preparing to serve guests.

If You Go:

San Dominique Winery
I-17 & Cherry Road (Highway 169), Camp Verde
(602) 549-9787
Open Daily: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.