North of the Mogollon Rim lies a vineyard that promises to explore the terroir of a unique part of the state, in the town of Snowflake, Arizona. So far on site, they’ve planted Cabernet Franc, and I want to say Seyval or Vidal Blanc, and one other grape…. but I can’t rightly remember which right now, dang it. (They are also involved with a few plantings of Barbera located near Dewey, which I also am very curious to taste eventually.) In the meantime, while the vineyards owned by Mogollon Vineyards grow and develop, they are sourcing fruit from Rolling View Vineyards to make their first vintages.
The Wine: The 2015 Chardonnay is made with 100% Willcox AVA fruit coming from Rolling View Vineyard, near Willcox, AZ. I get the impression this wine was fermented in and aged in stainless steel, though the possibility of neutral oak does exist. It’s a bright straw color in the glass.
The Nose: Bright green apples, peach, cinnamon, and gardenia form the opening salvo of this wine’s nose. As the wine opens, notes of honey, passionfruit, and flint dust emerge from the glass.
The Palate: Notes of red and green apples intermingle with notes of peaches, honey, and Meyer lemon. This wine is crisp, with some nice acidity which will lend itself well to pairing. The finish of this wine lasts for 46 seconds, and is filled with notes of limestone dust (which one would expect coming from Willcox fruit), lemon zest, and apple.
The Pairing: The acidity and bright flavor of this wine worked really well with the Lumberjack Hash from The Mine Cafe, in Jerome: a breakfast dish made with jackfruit in BBQ sauce and russet potatoes with a few other vegetables.
Impressions: It never fails to strike me how different and unique Arizona Chardonnay is from anywhere else in the world, or maybe it’s just that I don’t drink much of this varietal in general, to form a comparison between my fair landscape and those farther afield where this grape seems to be more popular (Napa and Burgundy, especially). This wine is nothing like anything coming out of California save for one or two stainless steel Chardonnays coming from the Russian River Valley; I’ve not had enough White Burgundy in recent memory to comment one way or the other. (Maybe that’s something I should attempt next year)
This particular vintage is bright and friendly; like that exuberant person in the office that is always cheery and positive–authentically so. He just wants you to be happy too, and often brings in cookies for his coworkers.
Right now, the tasting room for Mogollon Vineyards is open by appointment only, so be sure to make an appointment at their website.