I toured 6 wineries in the Verde Valley of Arizona. The region is young in terms of wine production, most plantings around the year 2000. Each year a winemaking team not only makes a wine, but they archive data about what challenges and opportunities the vintage afforded the team in the development of their wine. I was amazed that at Alcantara they have 18 varietals planted to vine. They are very much still open to determining the direction their wines will show when their brand is 30, 40, and 50 years old. This year, I was personally most impressed with the rosé of Grenache, dry and weighty, with plenty of fruit. The Reds that impressed me most were the Petite Sirah, the Zinfandel, and the Syrah I was pleasantly surprised by the Merlot and The Cabernet Sauvignon, which I was uncertain would show well simply because I had never thought of vineyard plantings in Arizona. Alcantara also has Cabernet Franc planted to vine, which I really was skeptical about, based off my love of this grape in cooler climates. The Cab Franc was delicious, albeit far fuller bodied than I am accustomed to.
This was my first visit to Arizona's wine country, and I actually booked my trip on Halloween in 2021, which was coincidentally two weeks before the Verde Valley of Arizona was named one of the newest American Viticultural Areas. It received A.V.A. status on November 10th 2021, I took this tour 5 days later. Please sign up for one of the upcoming events if you want to try any of the wines I was able to try at the vineyard.