I headed south to Scottsdale, AZ After leaving the town of Cottonwood and its excellent Arizona Stronghold Vineyard winery. There, twenty minutes east of Phoenix, I found the Su Vino Winery, younger twin of the original Su Vino in Grapevine, TX*. An urban winery that sources at least the vast majority of its fruit from various California vineyards, Su Vino is less concerned about the local terroir than it is with serving its own unique wine in a modern, fun environment. This winery is built for a good time, more like a wine bar that makes its own stuff, set apart from more traditional tasting rooms by everything from the big group of friends seated all together having a great time, to the happy hour specials listed on the menu.
*With locations minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor and Dallas Fort Worth international airports, Su Vino is definitely the place to go if you're looking for urban wine located near major American Airlines hubs... but I digress.
The winery opened about ten years ago, though I learned that they're looking into moving to a new location where they might have more space to experiment. I sat at the bar and asked about running through the tasting menu. The bartender was happy to help and happy to chat. There's a potentially good chocolate pairing on the menu for $16.50, but I demurred to focus solely on what I came to explore. Most of the wines I tasted below appear to be available for purchase online.
NV Sparkling Malvasia Bianca
Subtle little bubbles and a striking pear nose characterize the sparkling wine I started out with. It's very nutty, almost too much, but the palate adjusts after the first sip. A little on the sweeter side, you'll finish this with the sense of having just drank a cake with a lot of nut qualities throughout.
2013 Sauvignon Blanc
A Napa blend of grapes from several vineyards, the Sauvignon Blanc greets you with a pale gold color in the glass. The faint nose is a little wet, contrasting to how hot it runs in the mouth. This Sauv Blanc is much less tart than others like it, with little or no grassiness.
Russian River Chardonnay springs out of the glass with a nose of lemon butter (reminded me of eating a lobster). The forward leaning cream will please drinkers who enjoy that style of California Chardonnay. There's nice tropical fruit in the back, with some lingering vanilla notes.
The nose on this wine is quite interesting... brioche was it? French toast (makes sense if you're picking up brioche, right)? It's more pale in color than much of the Gewurts I've had, and more mild (i.e. less sweet feeling) as well. This wine really shines as an alternative for beer drinkers, which will enjoy the way it feels going down.
2013 Old Vine Zinfandel
Smoke and incense characterize the nose of this OV (that's "Old Vine") Zin from Lodi, California. Almost Port like in some respects, you could have convinced me that this was aged in whisky barrels. Smooth, creamy tannins convey milk chocolate. I enjoyed this one's versatility as a wine that is more drinkable on its own than some other Zinfandels that just need food, though it will work nicely with hearty food as well.
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon "Phoenix"
Don't be confused, these Cab Sauv grapes are grown in the Alexander Valley, not in Phoenix. Take a long sniff to get at different ideas coming out of the nose: wood at first, followed by dark plummy fruit, and then finally chocolate and whisky. Tannins are a little more soft and subtle, so not a big bite here. The excitement is up front, as I found Phoenix to trail off a little in the back of the mouth.
2013 Super Tuscan
They're clearly really proud of this one Sangiovese-dominated blend (80%) that combines with 10% both Cab Sauv and Merlot to produce a wine with a dark, dense, impenetrable color. There's a bit of cigar smoke in the nose, followed by creamy rusticity with tannins that come out after a few sips. The cigar smoke then lingers in the finish to warn your whole body.