Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Zinfandel - Yummy!

Arizona Zinfandel is fabulous, the problem is that it's a bugger to grow it in this state. Oddly for an arid part of the world, the summer rains (monsoons and hurricanes from Mexico) come at exactly the wrong time - harvest, when the thin skinned and tightly packed Zinfandel just plain old rots before it ripens. "Once in every 8 years", that's the local lore about Zinfandel Harvests. 2009 was a dry year and one of those once in 8 years. Peter Lechtenbohmer of what was then Sweet Sunrise Vineyards (now Sand Reckoner) delivered a load of Zinfandel that has become absolutely delicious. It got bottled this past weekend by one of our experienced bunch of volunteers.

Brian perfects the role of "Philip"- the bottle filler.

Laura and Amber are "Corkey" and "Topper" - operating the corking machine and the heat shrinker for the capsules respectively.

Amber steps in as "Topper" and Kaitlyn has mastered "Sticky" - applying labels at the new labeling machine.

Casey excels as "Crew Boss" and Joan loads the finished product.

It was a very successful day. A human bottling line rivaling the reputation of any respectable monoblock (the name of a fully automatic, industrial bottling line). The wine needs to rest for a bit and will ready around New Year 2012.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Business + Pleasure

I was in Phoenix on Business this week, but ended up at FnB in Scottsdale for Pleasure. It's always a treat to experience chef Charleen's latest creations. Pavle and Emily were gracious and the dining experience was superb. Fried Ricotta Stufffed Squash Blossoms, Cold Cucumber Soup, Shishitos (flash pan fried small green chilis) and Grilled Spicy Broccoli. Notice a theme?

According to Pavle, the Vegetarian Wine Maker's Dinner at FnB with Joan and me on July 19 is a popular item. It might be too early to make a reservation, but perhaps not - 480-425-9463.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


The upper Tempranillo vineyard has survived the August hail, the winter with its single digit temperatures and the several late frosts this spring.  There is even fruit set.  I don't know if this was its second or third attempt, but fruit is there.  I think because of all the weather, the season is late by about a month.  I don't think it will be a problem unless we get an exceptionally early frost this fall.  Who knows?  We can only wait and see.