Regional And Scottsdale Wineries 101: Learn All About Your Favorites

Travel | 19 Jan, 2012 |

We all know that Scottsdale is full of fabulous eats, but there is also much to be said for the growing portfolio of fine wines popping up at your friendly, neighborhood resorts, bistros, bars and even breweries.

Why not take some time to learn more about some of the up-and-comers to the area? Below, we will take a look as both some local, Scottsdale wineries and regional classics.

First up – Napa’s Etude Winery:

How did the winery make its mark?

Founded in 1982 by Tony Soter, his philosophy was, “Winemaking begins in the vineyard, long before the grapes are harvested. Inspired grape growing diminishes the need for intervention by the winemaker, resulting in superior wines that are grown, not made.”

Jon Priest, current winemaker and general manager, maintains this approach and continues to build on the Etude legacy. Etude specializes in two classic red varietals — Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.

Where is it currently available in Scottsdale?

Etude wines are available in fine wine shops and many fine dining restaurants in and around town.

What is your favorite Valley foodie event?

Etude is involved in many wine-maker dinners as well as Phoenix Cooks.

And now, a local favorite – Arizona Stronghold Vineyards.

How did the winery make its mark?

The year was 2002. Eric Glomski was making wine at Echo Canyon Vineyard & Winery near Sedona; he was hard at work when a mysterious black Range Rover pulled up to the remote vineyard in the Arizona high desert.

“I thought, ‘These folks must be lost,’ ” remembers Glomski.

In fact, driver Maynard James Keenan knew exactly where he was. Popularly known as the iconoclastic lead singer of Tool, he was also a passionate wine-lover who wanted to plant grape vines on his property in the nearby artist colony of Jerome.

Over the next few years, Glomski and Keenan each founded private wine labels. Glomski purchased a creek-side estate in the nearby town of Cornville and started Page Springs Cellars, a sustainable winery and bottling house. Keenan, in the meantime, learned the art of winemaking from Glomski and started two labels: Caduceus Cellars and Merkin Vineyards.

Meanwhile, the two friends developed a parallel obsession: Launching Arizona wines into the consciousness of wine-lovers everywhere, which they partnered to do together.

Where is it currently available in Scottsdale?

AJ’s Fine Foods, Whole Foods, Fry’s, Total Wine, 32 Shea and more than 100 restaurants in Scottsdale.

What is the best Scottsdale-area event the winery has participated in?

Stronghold has participated in some great events over the years, but the Scottsdale Culinary Festival Best of Fest and The First Press Weekend of Wine definitely stand out.

How would you describe some of your best-selling varietals?

DAYDEN (Dry Rosé ): Dayden is all about subtlety and finesse. This alluring pink wine is dry and fruity, not sweet.

TAZI (Aromatic White blend): Slightly chilled, Tazi restrains itself offering notes of lemon, green peppercorns, fresh herbs and almond biscotti.

DALA (Cabernet Sauvignon): The newest release from ASV, this Cabernet Sauvignon has power and subtlety with a solid bouquet of black currant, cassis, spice cake, fennel and graphite.

MANGUS (Tuscan blend): This is a medium-bodied Sangiovese based blend, displaying fragrances of dusty spice, dried orange peel, tart raspberry, flowers, graphite and rustic dried herbs.

NACHISE (Rhone blend): This award-winning wine has beautiful aromas of concentrated dark fruits, mocha, tar, sweet cigar smoke, hints of black tea, star anise and pumpkin pie spice.

And finally, a Paso Robles gem – L’Aventure Winery.

How did the winery make its mark?

Owner and winemaker Stephan Asseo came to Paso Robles in 1998 after making wine at his family’s three properties in Bordeaux, France for 17 years.

How would you describe some of your best-selling varietals?

Asseo’s intent when he launched the winery was to find a region where he would have the freedom to craft his own avant-garde Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blends, which are now known as Optimus and Estate Cuvee. At the time, this was not permitted in the Bordeaux area. He found such a place on the west side of Paso Robles, where the chalk soils, rolling topography and maritime influence combine to make a world-class growing area. They remain the best-sellers today.

Where is it currently available in Scottsdale?

Less than a decade after launching his label the region, Asseo made his way into Scottsdale with a vengeance. He began selling in the area in 2005 with AZ Wine Company and Arcadia Fine Wine being two of his top local retail outlets.

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