Arizona, Arizona Stronghold, Arizona Stronghold crew, arizona wine, Arizona Wineries, Arizona wines, Bonita Springs, Bonita Springs Vineyards, Bordeaux Blends, cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, left-bank Bordeaux, Lozen, malbec, Merlot, Petit verdot, red wine, red wines, Verde Valley wine consortium, Verde Valley Wineries, wine
I decided after the news from the election that it was time to open up something fancy from my Apocalypse Stash in my cellar–or rather, the fridge of wines that I’ve been aging for various events–the “do not touch” part of my collection. I needed something to deal with all the various vitriol that’s been thrown out by both sides after this divisive election…and many people do dig Bordeaux-style blends so it seemed a safe choice. (I’m rather Treebeard when it comes to politics, after all) So I decided to pull out my bottle of Lozen which I’ve been aging and give it a whirl. It was a good choice.
The Wine: The 2012 Lozen is a Bordeaux-style blend, made of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec. The grapes were sourced from Bonita Springs Vineyards, in the Willcox AVA. The wine was aged in barrel for 18 months, and I’m guessing it was a mix of new and neutral French oak. Overall, it strikes me as very reminiscent of some classic Left-Bank Bordeaux blends.
The wine is named after a particularly famous woman war-leader and prophet of the Chihenne-Chiricahua Apache. She’s an utterly fascinating character, so you should check her out. As it reads on the back of the bottle: “Strength of a Warrior and Complexity of a Nurturer. Rarely do these contrasting qualities find the balance in their intersection as seamlessly as they do in Lozen, the Chihenne-Chiricahua Apache warrior, shaman, and seer. Her brother, Bidu-ya, is quoted to have said, ‘Lozen is my right hand… strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people.'”
I also love the simplistic iconography of the bottle, even if it is a little White-Hand of Sauroman. (I really want to help on the bottling line the next time a Lozen is bottled… just so I can sync up a video of the bottling to the Fighting Uruk-Hai. Okay, I’m done with Lord of the Rings references in this review, I promise.) The wine was made by the Arizona Stronghold team of 2012; I’m not sure who was working in the cellar that year. (I want to say it was Tim White and Michael Pierce that year, but I’m not really sure, so don’t quote me on that.)
The Nose: Cassis, black currant, vanilla, and cherry notes form a thunderous opening to the nose, and as the wine opens in the glass, notes of petrichor, Willcox dust, anise, and plum come to the forefront. After the wine has been decanted for a few hours, further notes of rosemary, blackberry, and cedar emerge.
The Palate: Lilac, lily, black currant, blackberry, and black cherries form the forefront of this wine’s palate, intermingling with notes of plum, vanilla, and hints of anise and that oh-so-common Willcox dust. This wine still has a heavy load of tannins, and after decanting, notes of graphite and raspberry also emerge, with just a bit of rosemary. The finish, before decanting, lasts 45 seconds. After decanting, the wine’s finish lasts for 1 minute 5 seconds.
The Pairing: Steak and potatoes are something that you really can’t go wrong with for this wine; or a nice big portobello mushroom with a side of roasted chestnuts would work well. Buffalo burgers are going to be another good pairing idea.
Impressions: Bordeaux blends are hard to do in Arizona, it seems, compared to Rhones, and you don’t see so many of them. I admit, I am not as fond of the Lozen as I am the Gallia, but it’s still really dang good. (My palate prefers Cabernet Franc over Cabernet Sauvignon, I can’t help it.) I’d stand this up against several French Bordeaux blends, but it does have a completely different style than most Bordeaux-style blends from California (many of which I don’t like)
Overall, I’d say this wine is a fitting tribute to a fascinating historical character who doesn’t get nearly enough street cred, and while having a wine named after you may be a dubious honor, it does encourage people to learn, I think, about some of the historical events associated with the Indian wars in the American Southwest.
I don’t know if there’s any 2012 Lozen left anywhere; but the ’13 can be found in the Arizona Stronghold Tasting room currently.