Drink Magazine

Sonoita Vineyards, Sonoita

By Hoppingrapes @HoppinGrapes
On our quest to research local wines, my husband and I set out on a personal wine tour of Sonoita.  We find a map of all of the wineries in the Sonoita region and randomly picked one.  We chose to take Highway 83 from the south to get to the wineries.  The drive itself was absolutely beautiful, however, the road left a little to be desired.  If we had realized the poor shape that the road was in, we would have chosen to drive the SUV.
Originally, our plan was to visit Lightning Ridge Cellars first.  However, we were sidetracked by a sign pointing us to turn right instead of left.  We followed the sign and found Sonoita Vineyards.  (As a side note, we heard really nice things about Lightning Ridge Cellars and will visit them on another trip.)
The tasting room is set back quite a ways from the road.  The road itself was a curvy dirt road (again, wrong choice of vehicle!).   When we made it to the tasting room, there were four dogs lazing around the grounds.  The tasting room itself is a medium-sized with a few retail related items and a tasting counter along one side.  The back of the tasting room is open, allowing us to see some of the tanks for the wine.
We tried seven different wines.  We purchased the glasses from the winery, so the wine tasting cost $8.  The winery gives a discount, if you bring a glass from another Southern Arizona winery.  The wines were absolutely wonderful.  Two tasting paths exist at the winery, however, they both start with a sample of the Cochise County Colombard and the Sonora Rossa.  The first wine consisted of a nice white wine with a great finish.  The latter wine was an interesting Rose wine.  The Rose was a mix of 50% of the Colombard and then a 50% mix of Syrah and Malbec.  The result was a Rose which wasn't too sweet or cloying.
After the initial two samples, the tasters are given the option of "lighter and sweeter" or "bolder and drier."  We opted for "Bolder and Drier."  To me, the star of the show was the Mecasah wine.  This wine was bold and the bouquet smelled delicious.  The wine itself was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Syrah.  It was a wine that I instantly wanted with my steak.  The other reds were equally good.
The last wine we sampled was a Sparkles Brut.  As a disclosure, I hate sparkling wine.  I really, really do.  Something about the bubbles.  I tried it and to me it tasted like a sparkling wine and I handed the rest of my sample to my husband.  Here's the cool part.  After Eric sampled the wine, the person behind the bar (I hesitate to use the term bartender) put a Hibiscus flower into the wine.  This completely changed the flavor to more of a cherry flavor.  Delicious, actually.  Eric ate the flower and pronounced it both edible and good.
The wines at this vineyard were absolutely delicious and the people behind the bar couldn't have been friendlier.  This winery is a must stop for any wine lover.  Sonoita Vineyards is located at 290 Elgin-Canelo Road.  Their website is www.sonoitavineyards.com.

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