Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winey Tasting Notes: Arizona Wine Fit For a President, and A Winey Mom and Son

The Winey Family came through for Christmas this year, as far as their Winey Mom is concerned. There was an Elon University wine glass from The Winey Freshman (i.e.: Daughter), a wine fridge from The Winey Hubby (dual control for reds and whites!) and four bottles of Arizona wine from The Winey Son.

You did not read that wrong: I said Arizona wine, Arizona being the temporary home of The Winey Son. He lives south of Tucson, which puts him waaay down in southern Arizona, just a quick drive away from Callaghan Vineyards in Sonoita. There is such a growing wine culture in Southeastern Arizona that some have ventured to nickname it "Napa-zona". In fact, there are 16 wineries within a half hour drive of his little town. How perfect. For me, anyway.

Callaghan Vineyards Buena Suerte red wineThe Winey Son and his pals have taken advantage of this fact and have made some memorable visits to some of those wineries, and it was at Callaghan Vineyards that he tasted "one of my favorite wines of all time" (direct quote from him, by the way). Being the wonderful child that he is, he bought his Mom a bottle for Christmas. And so on Christmas night, just before dinner, we opened a bottle of Callaghan's Buena Suerte Proprietary Red Blend (2012, 14.2%, AZ).

A little research told me that this is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc and that this wine has been served twice at the White House (not just any white house, I'm talking about THE White House, the one at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave), the first time in 1996 for a White House dinner for the Democratic National Committee and again in 2000 at President Clinton's last state dinner. Let's put all politics aside here and acknowledge that Clinton's White House had excellent taste in wine! (Another wine from Callaghan, Claire’s 2004, a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Petite Sirah, was served at President George W. Bush’s dinner for retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, proving that wine is apolitical. Democratic or Republican, The White House knows how to pick their wines.)

The Winey Son was spot on on this one. This wine is terrific! It starts out with a nose of cranberry and tart cherry. You'll taste that cranberry with your first sip and then you'll get flavors of cherry, earthy herbs and a tiny bit of dark chocolate. It felt like a silky thin ribbon in my mouth and was a very well balanced red - no hint of tannic heat or puckering, despite the 14.2 alcohol content.

Behold the turducken!
I totally agree with The Winey Son - this was a wonderful, wonderful red wine! And it paired so very well with The Winey Household Christmas Feast featuring: turducken (deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, stuffed into a partially deboned turkey). The turducken has become legend in our Winey Extended Family over the years, and there was a big clamor to bring it back this year, so we did. And for the record, I bought a pre-assembled turducken because I know my limits in the kitchen. I'm good, but not that good. Or strong. But it was delicious, and we all loved it. Those of us that got to have some of this special wine thought it went very nicely with the dinner.

Now, if you want to buy a bottle of this particular wine, as far as The Winey Son and I can tell, you'll have to visit the winery. He thinks it might be in a few local stores out there as well...but he went straight to the source, so to speak, for his purchase. But fear not: Callaghan Vineyards has other wines you can buy on line and a pretty good wine club membership, which could get you wines that are special to club members (older vintages, new releases).

I am going to be buying some of this wine for myself...when I visit the Winey Son in Arizona in a few weeks. He has promised me a visit to Callaghan and some other wineries he's liked (oh and other places too...some big, or was it grand? canyon). So Merry Christmas to me and look for some more Callaghan reviews in the weeks to come.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

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