Gems in My Glass . . . February 2019

Tasting Notes

This month’s gems include well-crafted wines from Hawk and Horse Vineyards (California), and Aridus Wine Company (Arizona).

In 1999, Mitch and Tracey Hawkins, David Boies, Christopher Boies and the Boies family founded Hawk and Horse Winery in the Red Hills AVA of Lake County, California.  The vineyards, winery and ranch remain family owned today.  They have 18 acres of vines planted here, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah.  They secured Demeter Biodynamic Certification in 2008, and California Organic Certification in 2004.  Famed winemaker Dick Peterson is their consulting winemaker.  If you have not had the opportunity to taste Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards planted in the rocky, volcanic soils of this noteworthy AVA, here are two stunning examples; one a classic Cabernet Sauvignon, and the other a remarkable port-style fortified Cab Sauvignon.

Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon; Red Hills, Lake County, California:  Hints of earth and forest berries on the nose are a perfect entry to this complex and refined Cab Sauv.  The elegant entry shows off earthy notes and sun-ripened blackberries, and the wine continues broadening as it traverses the palate.  Cassis, purple plums, blackberry preserves, hints of leather, cocoa and savory spice are framed by chalky tannins and precise balance.  Finishes with depth and length; delicious now and promises many years ahead. SRP:  $70

Hawk and Horse Vineyards 2013 Latigo Fortified Cabernet Sauvignon; Red Hills, Lake County, California:  Here’s a sophisticated, deeply flavored port-style fortified dessert wine.  In fact, it’s a dessert all on its own!   Layers of black raspberry, boysenberry, cassis liqueur, mocha, brown sugar-roasted pecans, dark chocolate covered toffee, and a touch of candied orange peel unfold harmoniously.  Luscious and brilliantly balanced, with a finish that goes on forever.  SRP:  $50 (375ml)

Aridus Wine Company Winery, founded by Scott and Joan Dahmer, is situated in Wilcox, Arizona.  They selected the name Aridus (meaning dry/arid) to pay tribute to their Southwest desert location, situated about 195 miles south of Phoenix.   They have a tasting room in Wilcox and one in Scottsdale, and a 40-acre estate nearby.  Winemaker Lisa Strid crafts impressive wines sourced from vineyards in Arizona, New Mexico, and California.  Here are a few fine examples of wines currently available:

Aridus Wine Company 2016 Limited Production Graciano; Cochise County, Arizona:  This highly aromatic Graciano draws you right in with its concentrated fruity aroma.   Dark plums, a suggestion of earthiness, black currants, warm cherry pie, and cocoa powder coat the palate with juicy goodness.  The velvety texture, supple tannins and fine balance hold through the gratifying finish.  SRP:  $37

Aridus Wine Company 2017 Limited Production Malbec; Mimbres Valley, New Mexico:  A beautifully crafted Malbec, beginning with the compelling black fruit aroma.  On the palate, Bing cherries, blueberries, raspberries and olallieberries are accented by savory underlying herbs, forest floor elements and a hint of vanilla bean.  Fine balance and firm tannins joining the rich fruit suggest age-worthiness, yet it is approachable now.  SRP:  $36

Aridus Wine Company 2017 White Field Blend; Wilcox, Arizona:  This scrumptious quaff, a blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Malvasia Bianca, opens with a fragrant white floral bouquet aroma.  Crisp and refreshing across the palate with flavors of fresh pineapple, peaches, nectarines, a touch of herbs, and generous lemon-lime citrus accents.  Lively and thirst quenching through the bright finish.  SRP:  $28

Aridus Wine Company 2016 Syrah; Cochise County, Arizona:   Fragrant wild blackberries greet the nose with this smoothly textured Syrah.   Lovely depth in the mouth, with black and red berries, plum jam, a touch of grilled meat and savory spice, integrated tannins, and a lush mouthfeel.  Vivid and full-bodied, and the rich fruit is offset by a brisk level of acidity, keeping the wine well balanced all the way through.  SRP:  $37