Arizona, Arizona Terroir, arizona wine, Arizona Wineries, az wine, AZwine, Cimmaron Vineyards, picpoul, Picpoul Blanc, Rob Hammelman, Sand-Reckoner, Sandreckoner, White wine, White Wines, Willcox Bench, Willcox Grapes, willcox wines, wine
I know, I know, I posted a Sand-reckoner wine a month ago. But the fact of the matter is that Rob and Sarah Hammelman really wanted me to try this one, and write about it (at least, I’m assuming), and the other major fact of the matter is that it’s getting too cold for whites and I needed to drink this soon… and the third fact of the matter (Hey, I’m Orthodox, everything comes in threes for us) is that I really do think this grape has a fair bit of potential here in Arizona, so I like to review every single one I can find, even if it’s part of a blend. It’s a grape that doesn’t get nearly enough love out here.
Wine: The grapes for this vintage were coming from Cimmaron Vineyards, and it is 100% Picpoul Blanc. This wine was stainless steel fermented, and then aged on fine lees for 8 months after that. It did not undergo any malolactic fermentation. The wine was produced from a single ton of fruit. The 2014 Picpoul Blanc underwent no malolactic fermentation. 50 cases of this wine were produced.
Nose: The nose of this wine is quite pleasant. There are notes of key lime and lemon, intermingled with unripe musk melon, cilantro, and Cattleya orchid. These notes are underlain by flint and a slight tinge of vanilla and Buddha’s-hand (a citrus fruit from Asia). As the wine warms, the melon notes intensify.
Palate: Overall, this wine is less acidic then the Keeling-Schaefer picpoul, the only other varietal wine from this grape I’ve reviewed from this state. There is an intensely floral palate that intermingles with lime, and herbaceous notes of cilantro, with flint, vanilla, and limestone on an absurdly long finish which lasts for just shy of a minute at 56 seconds. The vanilla notes, ever so subtle, are normally indicators of barrel fermentation or oak aging, but I’m assuming in this case it’s a result of aging on the lees. As the wine opens, subtle notes of Granny Smith apple also emerge on the tongue. The wine is slightly creamy and medium-bodied on the palate, and quite smooth.
Pairing: Go Eastern Mediterranean rather than something from the Western side for this wine, and pair with Chicken Souvlaki, or a fried eggplant parmesan dish.
Impressions: While the wine is deceptively simple, it is not boring; my friend Gary who drank this with me said that this wine “is on the tongue what Malvasia is on the nose.” It’s the best version I’ve had of this grape here in the U.S., and it’s not nearly as acidic as its counterparts in France. Previous wines I’ve had with this grape indicated to me prior that this grape here was best in a blending role, but now I’m not sure.
This wine is feminine, blonde, and since it’s a lip-stinger (what Picpoul literally translates to), it has to be a comedian with an exceedingly sharp wit. The nearest I know to matching this grape would be Iliza Shlesinger, or possibly my friend Vickie Eisenstein.