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This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous…

Long ago in France, there was a grape, a grape I wanna tell you about, by the name of Alicante Bouchet. At least, that was the handle the mad mysterious French botanist gave it when he created it in the 1860s. Somehow along the way, this grape came west to California, and quenched the thirst of rough and wicked men during the dark years of Prohibition, thanks to its thick skin and red, red juice. Y’know, they call Jerome the wickedest city in the West. I didn’t find that to be, exactly. But I’ll allow as there are some wicked wine rooms there. But I tell you what, after drinking the Dios Mio Man from Passion Cellars, why, I can die with a smile on my face without feeling like the good Lord gypped me after drinking that Alicante made from fruit of that rough and tumble place in the new Willcox AVA.

Now this here vintage I’m about to unfold took place back in the mid teens, just about the time of our conflict with Assad and the iSyrians. I only mention it because sometimes there’s a wine — and I won’t say a syrah, because what’s a syrah? … Sometimes there’s a wine who — and I’m talking about the Dios Mio Man here, well, he’s the wine for his time and place, he fits right in there … And even if he’s a pretty simple and satisfying wine, and the Dios Mio Man is certainly that, perhaps the most simply satisfying in Yavapai County … Which would place him high in the runnin’ for most satisfying statewide — but sometimes there’s a wine, sometimes there’s a wine … Wow, I lost my train of thought here. But — aw hell, I done introduced this wine enough.

The Dios Mio Man is technically a blend, consisting of 76% alicante, 12% syrah, and 12% cabernet sauvignon. The grapes for this wine came from Dragoon Vineyard, and Fort Bowie Vineyard of blessed memory, both in what is now called the Willcox American Viticultural Area. (That’s right, Willcox has street cred on a world stage now). The wine was made by Jason Domanico, and named both for the first words out of his mouth when he tasted the blend he had created, as well as a deeply quotable line from The Big Lebowski. The Dios Mio Man was aged in 40% new French oak barrels for 16 months, and then spent an additional 8 months aging in bottle before being released in the tasting room. As one would expect for a wine made mostly of Alicante, this vintage is a deep, friendly, ruby-red color.

The nose of this wine is simple, but satisfying. Rich earthy notes (a standard feature of wines from the Willcox AVA) intermingle with aromas of coffee, cherry, raspberry, and blackberry. As the wine opens, the wine does become more complex, with notes of allspice, violets, vanilla, and black pepper emerging from the glass. On the palate, the Dios Mios Man is also simple and thorough, with rich plum, cherry, and earthy notes play delicately with cacao, vanilla, lavender, and velvety tannins that caress the tongue. The finish lasts for one minute and thirty-five seconds.

It is perhaps not the most complex of wines, but sometimes you don’t want complex. You want something satisfying. You want a wine where any sort of aggression will not stand. And, with its rich color, earthy palate, and soft tannins, the Dios Mio Man really ties a big meal together. Pair this vintage with some savory grilled ribeye steaks, with a side of nopales, green peppers, and a baked potato. For a vegetarian pairing, I would serve this wine with a satisfying and savory vegan chili, focused around jackfruit and beans.

I feel that the Dios Mio Man is one of the best wines made largely from Alicante Bouchet that one could find on the market here in Arizona, but that’s just like, my opinion, man. This wine is like a classic, no-nonsense gunslinger, with a handlebar mustache and a well-oiled revolver, with dust on his coat. Grab your bottle from the Passion Cellars tasting room in Jerome for $49.


2014 Dios Mio Man, with Jerome in the background