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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day Trip: Arizona Vineyards

Southern Arizona's Wine Region
Believe it or not, Arizona does have vineyards. About sixty miles southeast of Tucson lies the little town of Elgin, Arizona. This little area is now home to a number of small wineries and produces some startlingly good wines. We'd never ventured down there so decided to spend our Thursday checking out the wineries along with the beautiful scenery and little towns in the area.

Kief-Joshua Vineyards
Our first stop was at Kief-Joshua winery where we enjoyed a number of their wines. Unfortunately, this years crop was severely damaged by one of our monsoon storms that dropped a large amount of hail on the vineyard. However, their previous vintages were on display in the tasting room where we were particularly taken with their Rousanne which was amazingly smooth with citrusy notes including melon. This was by far my favorite of their offerings although Michael preferred the Tempranillo with its earthier tones and combination of berry and anise flavors.

Of course, while there we fell in love with the winery's dogs as well as their sheep out back! Their shop also stocks a number of local treats including dip and soup mixes, pecans soaked in the Rousanne (which I managed to not buy), and various gourmet items.

Our second stop was at Village of Elgin Winery where we were treated to a private tasting of some of their most interesting wines. Their selections were more up my alley with sweeter offerings that were easy on the palate. I particularly enjoyed their white port named "Andrew" which blew me away with its smooth and fruity taste. Despite a rather high alcohol content (around 16%), this wine has none of the "burn" you often get. Smooth and easy - as Jim, our host said, "this will sneak up on you!"

We also tried their Four Monkeys label which is available locally at Total Wine (Oracle and Wetmore in Tucson). We enjoyed the Naughty Monkey which is a Moscato which rested easily on tongue. Both the Andrew and Naughty Monkey made the trip home with us.

In the tasting room at The Village of Elgin Winery
Leaving the wineries behind, we ventured on to Patagonia and took a brief detour to Patagonia Lake, a lovely area with a secluded lake perfect for camping and rowing a boat. We didn't have time for a long stop today, but I'm sure we'll be back down there soon to enjoy this beautiful lake.

We decided to go home via Nogales and finally arrived at I-19 to begin the drive due north to Tucson. We got to enjoy the beautiful and lush Green Valley area as we drove toward home. All in all a wonderful day with some new bottles of wine for the house and some new favorite destinations!
Green Valley Area of Arizona

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