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We’ve covered a wine from Caduceus before (the Kitsune), but with this weekend’s release of Maynard’s biggest cult wine, the 2012 Nagual de Judith, I had to take a look. I mean, it would be remiss if I didn’t. Gosh, being a wine blogger is horrible. Also, I’m a sucker for a good Tempranillo. So, after work, I went down to have a glass. Their tasting room is located in Jerome, a few doors down from the Connor Hotel; around the block from Cellar 433, Passion Cellars, and Echo Canyon Winery. (In short, you can have a pretty good day hopping between all four tasting rooms)

Caduceus Cellars Judith. A taste of Jerome.

Caduceus Cellars Judith. A taste of Jerome.

The Wine: This year’s Judith release is 60% Tempranillo, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. This will, I’ve been informed, likely be the last release of the Judith to contain Cab; it’s been ripped out and replaced with Nebbiolo and Agilianico. (I’m rooting for a future Judith made with a blend of those two, believe me). Tempranillo is a grape from Spain, especially famous in wines coming from Rioja. It’s one of my favorite grape varietals, and Tempranillo in general does fantastically here in Arizona. I wish more people were growing it in the Verde Valley. The grapes for this wine came directly from Jerome, where I live, and evokes a little of the geologic history quite nicely in the terroiral aspects of this vintage. The Judith is DARK. Midnight dark. Dark and deep as the hearts of men. It’s a midnight violet in color.

The Nose: The nose is very complex for a wine so young. I catch aromas of vanilla, spice, anise, cassis, plum, and butterscotch on the opening salvo. I also notice a hint of the sea salt from long-lost seas, and the wind blowing from long-removed pines. The fantastic scent of Perique pipe tobacco is also pleasant, intermingling with denim, wet copper, and monsoon petrichor. In short, the nose is very evocative of the history, geology, and climate of Jerome.

The Palate: This wine is smooth, for being so young. I taste dried strawberries, plum, anise, cloves, and bright cherry fruits. Interestingly, and unusual for tempranillo, I also taste grapefruit notes, intermingled with sourdough toast, perique, rosemary, and again, a hint of wet copper on a long finish. There are also some hints of leather. Towards the finish, it does get a little bit hot, but I feel that’s due to the age of this wine; it’s so young.

Pairing: Pair this with a slow-roasted lamb with rosemary and mint sauce, with a side of red scalloped potatoes with alfredo sauce and melted asiago cheese.

Impressions: The first thing that popped into my mind was a quote from Lord of the Rings: “Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khazad-dûm in Elder Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone.” For some reason, Jerome always makes me think of Moria. More traditionally, however, Tempranillo always strikes me as Cabernet Sauvignon’s (your best male friend’s) really hot sister. In this case, she’s spent a semester abroad in Amsterdam, and has come back just a tiny bit hipster. I highly reccomend either aging this wine for at least five years, or, if you must drink it now, decant for at least an hour before serving. It’s young, but smooth.