As much as we’ve been focusing on Italian, Spanish, and especially Rhone varietals lately… I thought you all might like a bit of a break, and jump back to that classic Bordeaux feel. Aridus has two tasting rooms, one in Willcox next to Carlson Creek Vineyards, as well as a newer location in Scottsdale, convivially located near Lawrence Dunham (LDV) and the new Salvatore Vineyards location. You can now make a cozy little wine crawl in Old Town Scottsdale now, which is quite handy during the Holiday season if you’re with folks in Phoenix and need to get away. The 2013 Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon will definately make it worth your while.
2013 Aridus Cabernet Sauvignon hanging out on some Precambrian volcanic rocks near Jerome, Arizona.
The Wine: The 2013 Limited Edition Cabernet Sauvignon is… 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m pretty sure we all know the history of this grape in general, so I won’t get into it; but as Bordeaux Grapes go, it’s not widely planted in Arizona in general, I feel like Merlot is more common. However, the grapes for this wine are not Arizona, in fact; it is fruit from Deming, New Mexico, coming from decades-old vines. (Leah from Aridus was kind enough to supply me with a photo of said vines, following up at the end of the post, and they’re massive). The wine itself underwent extended maceration and was barrel-fermented in new American, new French and some neutral barrels. The wine was then aged for 20 months in barrel before bottling. I am informed that this wine won a Double Gold at the 2015 Houston Rodeo International Wine Competition just a few weeks ago. The winemaker for the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon was Rob Hammelman.
The Nose: There is a collection of herb and spice on the nose here: notes of vanilla, allspice, paprika intermingle with rosemary and violets, along with some damp earth. The oaking regimen on this wine stands out on the nose with an intense combination that is hard to parse; notes of cinnamon, brown sugar, paprika, and petrichor all together at once. After the wine opens, the oak intensifies, and other notes of dark fruit emerge: black cherry and cassis, and new notes of anise emerge. I’m not getting the “classic” green pepper notes generally associated with Cabernet Sauvignon at all.
The Palate: The palate has explosive notes of plum, cassis, and violets, intermingling with sandalwood, damp earth, vanilla, and lots and lots of tannins. The finish is long and lingering, with earthy tannins, cherry, and cedar, lasting for just over a minute when just out of the bottle. After the wine has been opened, notes of black pepper, black currant, and mulberry also emerge on the palate, along with Cavendish tobacco. After the wine has been open for a while, the finish lengthens to 1 minute and 44 seconds.
Pairing: My first instinct is to pair this wine with a ribeye steak, local and grass-fed from one of the many ranches in Arizona that offer such things, or a particularly savory burger with Gruyere cheese, again using local beef. Aim for a mushroom stroganoff, if you’re inclined for a vegetarian pairing. It also pairs pretty well with Skyrim, if we’re going to be honest.
Impression: This is a solid Cabernet Sauvignon. Rich, with a bit of a unique take on the varietal as befitting our local setting. It should also age well–at this point it’s a little young but it does taste great now, or decanted for about 4 hours. If you want to age this wine, do so for about 5-8 years at the very least.
I normally don’t dig Cabs as much as other varietals, but then, that Napa style has driven me away from that grape for many years. It’s nice to see a version that, while oaked pretty heavily, has a much richer flavor profile than the “oak and water” I normally associate this grape with. This Cabernet Sauvignon is dressed up for a night on the town. He’s in a well-tailored suit heading out to a fancy dinner with you, and then you’re going to go for whiskey cocktails and cigars afterwards.
Cabernet Sauvignon Vines from Deming, New Mexico; it is from these vines where the fruit for this vintage came from. (Photo courtesy of Leah Shanker)
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