Albariño, Arizona, Arizona Terroir, arizona wine, Arizona Wineries, az wine, AZwine, blends, Chateau Tumbleweed, Cimmaron Vineyards, Joe Bechard, lip-stinger, picpoul, Picpoul Blanc, Rhone varietals, terroir, Verde Valley Wineries, White wine, White Wines, Willcox, Willcox Bench, Willcox Grapes, willcox wines
Yes, I know, I know, I review a lot of Chateau Tumbleweed wines, but the fact is that they’re pretty close by, and they’re doing a lot of interesting things. (Just wait until I start in on their Graciano… eventually.)
Case in point, this is only the third full expression of this varietal I’ve encountered in Arizona, and it’s yet more proof of concept that we need to be planting more Picpoul Blanc in Arizona, forthwith. It’s not only great for providing acidity in great blends like the Trio from Flying Leap, but also great on its own, as this example shows.
The Wine: This wine is technically a blend; consisting of 97% Picpoul Blanc, coming from Cimmaron Vineyard, and 3% Albariño from Dragoon Mountain Vineyard. The grapes were cold-soaked for 24 hours, then whole-cluster pressed. The juice was chilled and settled 48 hours prior to racking and then the wine was inoculated with “specially prepared yeasts” (eventually I’ll learn all the yeasts). The wine was fermented in stainless steel at 55 degrees Fahrenheit for 19 days. The fermentation was halted at about 1-2% residual sugar, and the resulting wine was aged in stainless steel. There was minimal cold-stabilization, and it did not undergo heat-stabilization either. The wine was filtered, but unfined, and the resulting residual sugar was .45% The pH of the Cimmaron Vineyard picpoul blanc is 3.28. The winemaker was Joe Bechard.
The Nose: Like the Sand-reckoner Picpoul, the nose of this wine is pleasing, but simple, with notes of lemon-lime, kumquat, quince, and subtle floral notes of gardenia and cliff rose. As the wine opens, green apple and vanilla notes emerge from the glass.
The Palate: While not as acidic as french versions of this grape, there’s still enough acidity here in this wine to belie that oft-cited traditional translation of the name for the grape as “lip-stinger.” The residual sugar also adds a nice touch; the wine doesn’t taste sweet, but it certainly feels refreshing. The palate opens with lemon-lime, some refreshing acidity, and coconut notes. As the wine opens, these notes intermingle with notes of gardenia and green apple. The finish of this wine is short, lasting for 30 seconds, with a citrus medley commingling with that classic Picpoul acidity.
The Pairing: Crab Ceviche with a side of hummus, or… any seafood dish, really. This will be difficult to source for a locally-sourced meal, as you can imagine, but if you’re bringing back some fish you caught on a summer trip from Puerto Penasco, it’d be hard to find a better pairing than swordfish or tuna steaks. For a vegan pairing, you could attempt some vegan sushi with veggies, avocado, and seaweed, or aim for hummus and celery. Green Thai Curry might work in a pinch, but that is edging into Malvasia territory. Or drink it outside on the last hot days of early autumn, before we go plunging headfirst directly into winter, on its own.
Impressions: Don’t age this bottle. You’ll be sad if you do. Drink this wine young, and while in the sun. Or with seafood. This wine is another stellar example of the real potential of this varietal in Arizona, which to me after this vintage found itself on my list of top five white grapes in Arizona.
As for personality–this picpoul is a little sassy and just a bit sweet. She’s a cutie; confident in what she does so that she snarks against anyone who stands against her, but when you get to know her, you can’t help but want to constantly be in her company.