Arizona, Arizona Bordeaux-style Blends, Arizona Terroir, Arizona vineyards, arizona wine, Arizona Wineries, Arizona wines, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Blends, Bordeaux Varietals, cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sierra Bonita ranch, Sierra Bonita Vineyards, Willcox AVA, Willcox Grapes, Willcox Wine Country, willcox wines, wine, Wines
I don’t give Sierra Bonita nearly enough love here, and I probably should. They’ve been producing some of the best single varietal reds–including the (in my opinion) best Cabernet Sauvignon in Arizona–but it’s hard to get bottles from them up in my mountaintop lair. The last time I visited the tasting room, I was offered along with my bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon (which I’m still holding onto), a bottle of Squared. “I can’t guarantee it aged well, it wasn’t stored properly. There’s a 50% chance it’s gone bad.”
“I can live with those odds,” I replied. “I promise if it’s bad, I won’t blog about it.”
So, a few nights ago, not wanting to dip into their Cabernet, which is slowly sleeping in my cellar, and since I wasn’t in the mood for a white wine–as much as I want to try their new white I got at the Willcox Wine Festival– I decided to see how good my odds were.
Turns out, the odds were damn good, and I’ve enjoyed this bottle over the last couple days, finishing it off last night at the town Dungeons and Dragons game.
(What? You already knew I was a nerd.)
The Wine: The Squared is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% of each, and aged on newer French oak; I am uncertain for how long. Like all their other wines, this vintage was made at their on site winery, located within the boundaries of the Willcox AVA. It’s a darker garnet purple in the glass–though not as dark as a similar blend would be in California–which is what you’d expect from a Bordeaux-style blend in Arizona
Nose: The Squared opens with rich notes of cedar, cherry, and earth, with delicate notes of violets and iris. As the wine opens up in the glass, additional notes of anise, vanilla, and rosemary, along with the monsoon dusty petrichor I tend to associate with Willcox red wines.
The Palate: On the palate, the wine opens with notes of raspberry, cherry, and plum, with herbal notes of rosemary and tarragon. As the wine opens up, these notes intermingle with rich earth, green chili, prickly pear, and Willcox earth. There’s quite a bit of tannins here; I probably could have aged this wine for a bit longer, and a mild acidity. The finish is long, lasting for a minute and fifty seconds, filled with earth, tannins, plum, dust, and tarragon.
Pairing: I really want to pair this wine with a bowl of chili on a cool fall evening; either vegetarian or venison chili would work. Steak would also be a good pairing for the Squared, as would a roasted red pepper and mushroom soup.
Impression: I really feel like Cabernet Franc doesn’t get nearly enough love compared to it’s more boisterous child, Cabernet Sauvignon in general, let alone within Arizona itself. (especially since Arizona Cab Franc reminds me a lot of Chinon Cab Francs….my favorite location for this grape. It’s been a while since I’ve had one, I should hunt one down. I digress)
This is a particularly harmonious blend. Neither of the two grapes overpower one another; both coexist together. It kind of makes me think of that perfect couple that we all know–they never seem to fight, they always work together, and we’re all envious of their relationship. It’s quite possible that the two of them share a love of heavy metal.