It was another hot Arizona summer weekend, so we decided to take a “staycation” at a hotel in Scottsdale. After too much floating around in the hotel pool, it was time to check out some of the Arizona wine tasting rooms nearby in Old Town. One tasting room that impressed us was Aridus Wine Company.
Aridus is a family owned custom crush winery located in Willcox, Arizona. Their wine making facility is located in a refurbished, design award-winning apple warehouse, and is considered to be among the largest facilities of its kind in the state. Owners Joan and Scott Dahmer own 40 acres of estate vineyards in Pearce, Arizona on the banks of Turkey Creek, where grapes are grown (and vines continue to be planted), at an elevation of 5,200 feet. The Dahmers opened Aridus in 2012 with a commitment to producing elegant and approachable handcrafted wines, using only the best grapes from their vineyard as well as from other quality grape growers in Arizona, California and New Mexico. Aridus winemaker, Lisa Strid specializes in making small-lot wines and it shows in the quality and style of the wines produced.
The Old Town Scottsdale tasting room is comfortable, contemporary and elegant in décor, much like their Willcox tasting room which we have also visited. There are a variety of wines to choose from the tasting menu (5 tastings for $10.00 with the tasting fee waived if you purchase a bottle). Since the temperature outside was nearly 110 degrees, we needed to cool off and be refreshed by first tasting some whites.
My first choice to taste was the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc. The color in the glass was pale blond with aromas of fresh flowers and fruit. Tasting the wine, I detected flavors of lemon, grass, spice and vanilla with a pleasant hint of soft, flinty mineral on the finish. I never read tasting notes before tasting wines, so sometimes my impression does not completely agree with the winery’s description. The tasting notes described this wine as having clean aromas of tropical fruit with a light crisp body. Orange, lemon, pineapple and passion fruit on the palate with a ginger spice finish. This wine was a winner of the 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition. The grapes used to produce the wine come from the Mimbres Valley located in southwestern New Mexico.
Aridus recently released their 2017 Sauvignon Blanc ($33.00), which tastes completely different than its 2016 counterpart. There are pronounced citrus, green apple and grass aromas and a pleasantly crisp, tart finish. This vintage reminded me more of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
You can’t go wrong with either vintage. Each is well-balanced, refreshing and pleasant to drink, either alone or with light foods. We purchased a bottle of the 2016 ($15.50 12.2% Alc.) to take home. On a recent evening Paul prepared a light meal of grilled shrimp with lemon aioli and pasta and we enjoyed the meal and the wine while listening to Brittni Paiva music (“Tell U What”).
Paul and I tasted several other wines at Aridus and were equally impressed (maybe even more so), by the reds. I especially enjoyed the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2015 Merlot, the 2015 Syrah and the 2015 Tempranillo (I’ll reserve my thoughts on these for future posts).
This is a first class company that has invested in the time, resources and marketing to build their business. Their labels are attractive, their tasting rooms are welcoming, their wine associates are knowledgeable and unpretentious, and the quality of these handcrafted wines is outstanding. This is an Arizona wine company to watch.
Scottsdale Tasting Room
7173 East Main St.
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Willcox Tasting Room
145 North Railview Ave.
Willcox, AZ 85643
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