Tue, Sept. 17

A visit to the Clarkdale wineries

Genevieve Remus, both a student and tasting room host at the Southwest Wine Center, serves Jeff the 2015 Syra. Photo by The Dunnery

Genevieve Remus, both a student and tasting room host at the Southwest Wine Center, serves Jeff the 2015 Syra. Photo by The Dunnery

The number of wineries in the Verde Valley continues to grow. The Dunnery decided to check out a few that we had not previously written about.

Our first stop was The Southwest Wine Center at Yavapai College, 601 Black Hills Drive in Clarkdale. The college offers 1-year certificates in Vitaculture (grape growing) or Enology (wine making).

They also offer a 2-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Viticulture & Enology. At the tasting room one can taste and purchase wines produced by the students. Some of the grapes used are grown on vineyards right on the college campus.

We tasted five of their red wines and they were all very good. We particularly liked their 2015 Syrah. Two of their wines, which were not available for tasting that day, recently won awards at the 2017 AZ Central Arizona Wine Competition. Their 2017 Amphoria earned the competition’s Growers Cup as the best wine and took first place as the best rose varietal.

Their 2016 Puente took first place in the non-traditional red blend category. Another tip from a friend -- you can take your own assortment of snacks and enjoy the wine and ambiance of the tasting room Thursday through Sunday noon to 6 pm.

Our next stop was Chateau Tumbleweed 1151 WSR 89A, Clarkdale, “between Cottonwood and Jerome." Jeff has wanted to go to this one ever since he won a bottle in a wine trivia contest at The Collective a year or so ago. We tasted four reds and a white. All were very good.

We thought their 2015 Tempranillo was excellent, and for good reason, as it took first place as the best Tempranillo in the above-mentioned competition. Its 2016 Le Blend, which we didn’t taste, took second place in the non-traditional red category.

The tasting room is open Thursday to Monday, noon to 7 pm. Bento boxes of cheeses, meats, fruits and other nibbles are available.

Our last stop was the Four-Eight Wine Works in downtown Clarkdale, 907 Main Street. Open daily noon to 7 pm, this facility caters to start-up wine makers. They can use the equipment at the facility without having to invest in their own equipment. Once they are established, they can acquire their own building and equipment.

This is exactly what the owners of Chateau Tumbleweed did for three years before moving into the facility that we visited.

At Four-Eight we tasted five reds. Two, we especially enjoyed, were the 2012 Iniquus Cellars Sangiovese, made from grapes from the Central Coast of California and the Saeculum Cellar’s El Coraje, a 100% Tempranillo made from Cochise County, AZ grapes.

We are excited to see the growth of the Arizona wine industry, and especially those in the Verde Valley. We look forward to trying more in the future and reporting our findings.

To Your Health and Happiness, Jeff and Suzie @ The Dunnery

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