Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Wine Tasting: Spain, Willcox, Chile, Central Coast

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Wine. Now that the weather is finally cooling off in Tucson, I’m jonesing for wine.

Last week I invited some wine lovers and gal pals over for wine tasting.

I supplied the wine and some snacks and they provided more food to be paired. Nobody went hungry. Nobody stopped talking or stopped drinking, for that matter.

Wines tasted:

Marques de Riscal – Rueda – 2009 – Spain (screw cap)

I first tasted this white wine at a Feast restaurant end of month wine tasting. The label says “made from the native Verdejo grape, this wine has lovely varietal aroma of flowers and herbs with a rich yet fresh sensation in the mouth and a slight touch of bitterness on the finish. Yes.  The description fits.

The tasters said:

“crisp, holds up to spicy food, light finish, I’d buy this for a great wine & drink with grilled salmon, light nose, floral finish (2), nice fruity finish – serve with mild cheese, salad, roasted vegetables, enjoyed.”

This wine was paired with shrimp, cheese, and antipasti.


Keeling-Schafer Rock Creek Rosé 2009 from Willcox, Arizona

Made in the Provencal style, this dry Rosé is 65% Grenache, 34% Mouvedre and 1% Syrah. Fruit selected early for the Rosé, gravity clarified and steel fermented with a yeast strain isolated from the Bandol region of southern France. Clean crisp and full of pomegranate fruit.

Arizona: Willcox Wine Country. Say it a few times. If you  have not been to Willcox yet to try the wines – go. You will be pleasantly surprised (I was). Check out the wine festival happening October 15 & 16.

The day I first tasted this Rosé in Willcox it was 100-degrees. A cold slightly sparkling rose pushed all my buttons in a really good way.  The day I served it at my tasting it was 60-some-degrees. This wine is meant to be drunk in summer, in cooler weather not so much.

The tasters said:

“crisp, fruity, a bit dry, pair with salty food, not for me, summery, too sweet, drinkable, not sweet, great color – peachy, summer wine, great for patio sipping”

The wine was paired with the above food plus sweet corn salad, wheat berry salad, spicy coleslaw.


Tabali Reserve Pinot Noir from Limari Valley in Chile

This wine was made entirely from grapes of our own vineyard located in the coastal area of the Limarí Valley in the north of Chile. From the pruning to the harvest, every single work done in the vineyard has gone under the careful supervision of the viticulture and wine making team in order to produce the best quality of fruit possible.

Witness the tremendous quality and perfectly balanced pinot noirs that are being introduced from Chile, and it is clear they are working to change this perception. Since the late 1990s, Chilean winemakers have been hard at work leading the way emerging cool climate grape-growing regions. As a result of their pioneering spirit, Chile is now producing high-quality and well-rated Pinots that range from delicately charming to hauntingly seductive.

The tasters said:

“earthy nose, very surprising, I’d get naked for this wine, spicy, lingering finish, great with food, *, dark berry, almost peppery, love the color, light, fruity, ruby red, soft finish, yum, warm & spicy, a bit ashy, round, pair with meat, would definitely buy this wine, rich, complex, pairs with anything, full bodied, this tastes like a $50 bottle of wine (SRP: $17.99)

This wine was paired with all the above food plus ricotta cheese & sun-dried tomatoes and roasted fingerling potatoes


Big House The Slammer Syrah from Central Coast (screw top)

The grapes for The Slammer were sourced in hand-selected small lots to maintain vineyard diversity. In order to preserve the fruity forward character of the wine, gentle wine making techniques were used and the juice was initially fermented in cold temperatures between 60-65 F and ending in 75 F. The wine was aged in French and American neutral barrels for 6 months.

More about The Big House wines coming in a future blog post. For years, I have enjoyed this brand and will share more thoughts…

The hostess with the mostess made a major faux pas in pairing this wine with dark chocolate rather that pizza or lamb kebabs.

 Tasters said:

“I’d pair it with lamb, *, great with chicken, doesn’t match with dark chocolate, sweet finish, nice finish, medium body, jammy, spicy, smooth, pair with pasta Arrabata”

 Thank you to the Tasters

Rita C – food writer for Tucson Weekly and Gayot

Cynthia D – wine aficionado, returned from wine country vacation

Bonnie K – wine aficionado, formerly lived in Calif. wine country

Bonnie L – writes about wine for Tucson Citizen

Christina M – wine aficionado

Karyn Z – hostess with the most-ess, writes about food & wine, always wanted to live in the Calif wine country

  1. That was a most splendid evening, Karyn.

    I liked the Chilean wine best and if I saw it on a menu somewhere, I would probably order it.

    Thanks for the fun!

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