With the grand opening this last weekend of their fantastic new tasting room in Old Town Scottsdale, (and it was a fantastic opening shindig on Thursday night), it seems like the perfect time to crack open a bottle of one of their wines I’ve been meaning to review for a while! Sadly, my first bottle of this wine was corked (and with the large amount of wines I review it was something BOUND to happen sooner rather than later), but Robert gave me another bottle back at the Willcox Wine Festival, and now all is well.
It may just be that all is well because of wine? Eh, enough philosophy. Let’s drink!The Wine: Bowie still casts a long shadow in the Arizona industry. This vintage, which I seem to remember Robert telling me was the only Merlot they’ve made at Carlson Creek, came from fruit harvested from the now lost vineyard. It’s a darker merlot; I’ve seen both light and dark expressions of this grape here in Arizona, usually dependant on the strength of the summer monsoons. The dark color and intense tannins indicate to me that 2012 was likely a dry monsoon season at Fort Bowie vineyards that year. I’m not too sure about the aging of this vintage, but I’m guessing that this wine definitely saw some French oak.
The Nose: Rich blackberry, mulberry, and plum notes form the opening salvo of this vintage, intermingling with vanilla, dust, and cinnamon. As the wine opens, subtle notes of espresso and cocoa also emerge from the glass.
The Palate: The palate opens with notes of plum, black cherry, blackberry, and leathery tannins. Notes of Turkish coffee, Virginia cavendish, and thyme round out the palate. The finish of this wine is filled with rich tannins, alluvial gravel, black cherry, and plums, lasting for about two minutes.
The Pairing: Elk steak, for sure, is the first thing that comes to mind, or Beef Bourguignon would also work for this wine if elk is not available. For a vegetarian pairing, I’d actually treat this merlot as one would a Cab Sav–a heavy lasagna with shitake mushrooms or even grilled portobello mushrooms over mesquite coals would do quite nicely.
Impressions: Wines made from Bowie fruit can be hit or miss, since it is widely known that the fruit coming from this site was often difficult to work with, and of intermittent quality throughout the history of the vineyard. But this is a very solid, friendly, and ageable merlot, and could easily be cellared for another 5-10 years with no problems.
This merlot is like an old friend you haven’t seen for many years. You only meet up maybe once or twice every couple years… and it’s like you weren’t ever apart.