Above: From left, winemaker Eric Glomski, national sales manager Paula Woolsey, Mosaic Wine Group founder Dan Redman, winemaker (and, yes, rockstar) Maynard James Keenan, and me, myself, and I at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona.
A lot of folks have commented and left comments asking for more info on Maynard’s wines. Check out this post by my friend Dan, whose company I work for in Austin.
Maynard was totally cool to hang out with and we nearly fell out of our chairs laughing at dinner that night. Eric is one of the coolest winemakers you’ll ever meet and I really dug his natural approach to winemaking. Paula owns and runs a fun restaurant in Jerome called The Asylum, a restaurant on the fringe, where she treated us to some great food and wine the night after our tasting and vineyard tour. Jerome, AZ is a pretty trippy hippy town with a headshop and a haunted hotel. The inhabitants of Jerome are called “Jeromans.” As I’ve always said, when in Jerome…
Check out Dan’s post for more about Maynard and Eric and their wines.
The trip to wine country Arizona and California gave me a lot to think about and I’ve received some interesting comments like this one from Seth P:
With all due respect, I’d like to point out something about your recent entry. You say that “people who live in Napa and Sonoma […] favor big, oaky, concentrated, tannic Cabernet Sauvignon in their glass.” In my (reasonably extensive) experience in California, Napa and Sonoma are worlds apart. Granted, it would be hard to find a Sonoma Cabernet that could be mistaken for a Margaux, but then again Cabernet tends not to be the focus in Sonoma. Those wineries in Sonoma that do Cabernet or Cabernet blends tend to create wines that are restrained in alcohol and fairly authentic in fruit and spice. Yes, the Syrah, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel tend to be a little more powerful, but to my taste these are perfect matches to the food and culture of the region. If you’re looking for old-world, stop by Acorn for the “Medley” or Sunce for the Wild Hare Merlot and tell them I told you to visit :)
I’m still catching my breath from the last ten days and still wrapping my mind around what I saw and tasted. I will post more on “terroir delivered” (think “Jerusalem delivered” by Torquato Tasso) shortly… Thanks for reading!
Above: From left, the guy I work for, Dan Redman, and winemaker Maynard Keenan look out on Maynard’s top growing site. The limestone-rich vineyards are terraced like the ones I’ve seen in Chianti Classico.
Did I turn on, tune in, and drop out somewhere near Sedona? Have I drunk the Kool-Aid? Did I inadvertently eat the brown acid?
Above: The high desert in Arizona is an awe-inspiring place. I wish my camera could do it justice.
I have to confess that I was skeptical: the thought of finding anything less than entirely spoofilated wine in Arizona seemed chimerical.
But what I discovered instead was honest winemakers trying to make real wine. The wines I tasted and the people I talked to gave me a lot to think about. Terroir, I remembered, is not just about soil, exposure, and climate. It’s also about people and what they believe in. Every tradition (and every cult, as it were) has to begin somewhere.
Above: An almond tree adjacent to one of the vineyards I visited. Maynard practices integrated farming and at one of his sites, he has built a small swamp that he hopes will encourage pollination of the young vineyards.
Dan and I will post more about our visit at the Mosaic blog next week. Right now I’ve got to get my butt back to Phoenix and get on a plane to the Bay Area to meet up with Tracie B.
Above: They told me that Axl Rose and Howard Stern are regulars at the resort where I ate a delicious, spicy bowl of posoles with chicken and pork.
From the “life could be worse” department…
The acidity and minerality in the 2007 Soave Classico by Suavia and the rich flavors of raw tuna and fresh avocado made for a sublime pairing the other night at the happy hour at Trio, the steakhouse at the Four Season in Austin. When I’m not on the road hawking wine (mostly in San Antonio and Dallas these days), you’ll often find me there, hanging with my buddies chef Todd Duplechan and wine director Mark Sayre (Mark just passed the third level of his Master Sommelier. Right on man!).
Believe me, the wine trade isn’t always as glamorous and fun as it sounds but it’s kinda cool when you get to rep a wine like the Suavia (which I do).
Above: That’s where the grapes are grown. I visited Suavia in Soave Classico in April after Vinitaly.
Today, I’m heading to an “undisclosed location” in Arizona for reasons I am not at liberty to discuss.
Tracie B will be meeting up with me tomorrow in San Francisco and then we’ll head to Napa where we’ll be tasting at some of the wineries the company I work for represents in Texas. I am exhausted after three days on the road hawking some excellent wines from Friuli but, honestly, life sure could could be worse.
The highlight of our trip will be the Kermit Lynch portfolio tasting in San Francisco and the winemakers dinner the night before.
I’m posting from the Austin airport and I gotta run to make my plane. Stay tuned…