Arizona, Arizona Terroir, arizona wine, Arizona Wineries, Arizona wines, az wine, AZwine, Burning Tree Cellars, Chiricahua foothills, Chiricahua Foothills wines, Cochise County, Colibri, Corey Turnbull, Rhone varietals, Roussanne, White wine, White Wines, Willcox Grapes, wine
I’ve touched upon the unique terroir and geology of Colibri Vineyard briefly when talking about another wine from Burning Tree, The Dragon, but it’s time for another visit. So to speak. The site, planted atop an old mine, is almost exclusively planted to Rhone varietals, so it’s not surprising that we’re looking at the 2015 Colibri Roussanne from Burning Tree Cellars this time around. (The Colibri Grenache is also interesting too, but Roussanne doesn’t get nearly enough love.) As time moves on, Burning Tree is relying less on California fruit, and focusing more on Arizona.
The Wine: The 2015 Colibri Roussanne is made from 100% Roussanne grapes, harvested from Colibri Vineyard. As I’ve mentioned before, Colibri is located near the town of Portal in the Chiricahua mountains. Last time around, I dabbled in the geology of the site, and how it might explain the prominent spice notes in the wines there, but I never got around to talking about the history of that site.
Colibri was originally planted by Bob Johnson, who made estate wines there for several years, before selling the vineyard to Eric Glomski. Furthermore, while residing at a high elevation, I am told Colibri is steep enough that most of the frost slides off before it destroys new buds on the vines. This is less of an issue for Roussanne as it tends to be one of the last grapes to bud out in the springtime. (Jeff Hendricks of Chateau Tumbleweed once said, “Roussanne sleeps like a baby until June.”)
The wine was aged in neutral French oak for 6 months. It is a pale greenish-gold in the class, so pale as to be nearly colorless. The 2015 Colibri Roussanne was made by Corey Turnbull.
The Nose: Subtle hints of vanilla, white pepper, sage, lavender, and honeysuckle intermingle with louder notes of apricot, honeydew melon, honey, pecan, and Meyer’s lemon.
The Palate: The palate of the 2015 Colibri Roussanne is more delicate than what I recall of the 2012 Roussanne from Hannah’s Hill Vineyard. Apple, apricot, Meyer’s lemon, honey, and pear notes intermingle with cinnamon, rosewater, white tea, and white pepper notes. The bracing acidity of this medium-bodied white wine will lend itself well to food pairing. The finish of this wine lasts for 50 seconds and is filled with notes of white pepper, anise, and pear.
The Pairing: Pair this wine with a lemon-pepper or lemon-ginger chicken, with a side of saffron rice. For a vegetarian pairing, make a chop suey using tofu, fried in lemon zest and sesame oil.
Impressions: I don’t feel like this grape gets nearly as much love as it deserves. The 2015 Colibri Roussanne is a great introduction to Colibri for a white wine drinker–something that’s not all that common. I hope that other vineyards are eventually planted in this area, located between Portal and Paradise.
Personified, this vintage is a young, athletic, blonde graduate student in Entomology. She is hiking in the Sky Islands of Arizona, searching for some of the unique endemic species of stingless bees that haunt the Sonoran Desert so she can finish her Ph.D thesis.