Friday, August 29, 2014

HDFB Does the Sonoita Winery Trail

On Wednesday I made my way down to Sonoita, AZ to visit the Kartchner Caverns and three local wineries. Sadly, the caverns did not allow any cell phones or photography of any kind, so I have nothing to share form that part of my adventure, but I do have some things to share regarding wine. This was my first trip down to the southern part of my hometown state, and I can't believe it took me this long to make my way there.

We stopped for lunch at this cute place called The Cafe. When I asked what was recommended, they told me the APE Burger. No two burgers are the same, you just let them know of any food allergies, spicy, or not spicy and to the kitchen your order goes. Naturally I told them to make mine spicy, and the waitress questioned me like she thought I couldn't handle it. Little does she know what kind of hot sauces I put into almost every single one of my meals. When she emerged with my plate it was a burger cooked medium, topped with chipotle peppers in adobo, crispy bacon, a large hatch green chile, and some sriracha. It was like the heavens opened up and made a burger just for me. But we're not here to just talk about burgers, let's get to some wine!

The 1st winery we visited was Callaghan Vineyards, who actually opened up solely for our visit, so big shout out to them!  We sipped on a flight of 5 wines of our choice, where I chose to indulge in 5 of their reds, 3 of which won the Jefferson Cup Silver Medal, and 1 which has been served numerous times to multiple presidents in the White House, so if that's any indication of how good they were, then so be it. They allowed us to keep our wine glasses as we headed to the next vineyard, which was a nice little souvenir to remember the day, in case the wine decided to flow a little too freely!

Next up on our tour was just down the street at Keif-Joshua Vineyards, where he runs the winery out of his own home, and was actually making wine as we pulled up. This wasn't your ordinary tasting room, as we soon found out when they offered to let us try any and all wines that they offered, no 5-tasting-cap. We sipped, laughed, and indulged on reds and whites of all varieties, my favorite being the Cabernet Franc, which also happens to be the only bottle I ended up buying (wine snob). As if the wine wasn't enough, out pops their pet kangaroo. No joke. A real life freaking kangaroo, which was the coolest thing I'd ever seen in all my 27 years. Who gets to say that they wine tasted with a kangaroo. I can.

Last stop on the trail was Wilhelm Family Vineyards, owned by winemaker Karyl Wilhelm, who just so casually happens to be an Air Force vet, so she's pretty badass if you couldn't tell. I learned the most about wine here, as I was feeling a little more "bold", blame the wine, to ask questions, like "how DO you get all of those amazing flavors into something that came from a grape?". Karyl was so sweet and took the time to go through the process with me, dumbing it down of course, and then even let me into her wine laboratory as I like to call it, and get a good look at all of her equipment, bottling devices, etc. She is most notably known for her creative ports, with flavors such as Chocolate Orange, White Chocolate Almond, Chocolate Mint, and Mocha, which are just some of the 18 different varietals that they offer.

All in all I dubbed this a 10 out of 10 trip in my book, for I learned, I laughed, and I drank. Who can say no to that? So if you are ever in the Sonoita area, just southeast of Tucson, AZ, I suggest that you grab yourself an APE Burger and head on down for some of the best wine and people you will ever come into contact with!

1 comment:

  1. OMG I LOVE SONOITA WINE COUNTRY. You didn't go to Village of Elgin Wines??! You need to go therrrrre! But I've been to these three and they are all fantastic! Last time I was down there this spring there weren't any grapes on the vines, it looks like they're comin' in!



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