Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You Might Be A Redneck.....

  If you go to a wine tasting in Cornville. There, I just had to get the Cornville Redneck joke taken care of first. Last Saturday I decided to go give Casey's Corner Store's wine tasting a try. The owners there have completely changed the place. While I'm usually not a fan of "gentrification" or whatever you call it, the old Casey's Corner was a dump, plain and simple. Cigs, cheap beer, soda pop, fishing bait and gas. True, you could get wine there, if your tastes ran to MD 20/20.

The store has gradually undergone a complete metamorphosis. The gas pumps are gone. A local artist has completely muralized the outside walls of the place in a kind of Cactus Wren-Coyote-Saguaro-Magical Desert motif that's quite nicely done and just kitschy enough to be cool. I haven't inspected the entire building but no kokopellis jumped out at me, and that's a GOOD thing. Inside, you'll find lots of natural and organic edibles, local produce, eggs and even grass fed beef raised about a half mile away. But the wine's the thing here. They've gone to great lengths to stock a very impressive selection of wine considering the size and location of the store. Obviously, they can't buy in Costco quantities and so you're gonna pay a bit more per bottle, but if you show up for their Saturday wine tastings, you not only get to keep the glass but all the wines in the store are 10 percent off.

That Jeep is no countrified decoration, there's a guy with a hammer under it.

Each weekend they feature one or two different wines. A six wine tasting costs 7 dollars, including the cutesy tasting sized glass. This is less than half the going rate for flights at any of the other tasting venues in the valley and is a great deal. You're limited though, as they bring in a distributor's rep to conduct the tasting of only those brands being featured. Big deal. If you go to Caduceus or Page Springs or Pillsbury's rooms or any of the others, you're limited to their wines by default.

Saturday's tasting featured Kokopelli WineryKeeling-Schaefer Vineyards, and Canelo Hills Winery. Wouldn't you know it, the first wines I'm going to talk about here are technically not "Verde Valley Wines", but lest you get all huffy, all three are Arizona Wineries. Kokopelli I believe is sort of a Bistro-cum-winery. They don't actually grow grapes, but buy bulk product and make their wines in Chandler. Keeling-Schaefer on the other hand is a full Pearce, AZ estate vineyard and winery and Canelo Hills is a small family estate styled vineyard and winery in Sonoita.  I tasted 6 wines, Kokopelli's white zinfandel, cabernet, pinot grigio, Keeling-Schaefer's Three Sisters Syrah, their cabernet, and Canelo Hills' Sunrise.
All these selections ran in the 14 to 17 dollar range give or take.
Kokopelli's Pinot Grigio is very nearly clear. You could fill up an old Mountain Spring water liter bottle with it and take it to work and sip on it all day and nobody'd be the wiser until you face-planted your keyboard. More fruit than you'd expect from a P-G without sacrificing that nice grassy-ness. I've often described Pinot Grigio as wine for people who don't like wine, but this one was fairly interesting. Their White Zinfandel, on the other hand, struck me as downright sweet, although the information sheet's residual sugar doesn't hint at that. "It's very fruity" said the rep. Yeah, like a fruit roll-up is fruity. The color put me off too. The info sheet says "Peach", or something. If you're old enough to remember dying easter eggs with those little color pills you put into a cup of hot water and vinegar, you'll remember the orange color. That's the FIRST thing I thought of when I held up the glass. Their Cab had a thinnish mouth feel but a beautifully clear dark color and nice peppery oak flavors, without excessive tannin.

I enjoyed Keeling-Schaefer's Cabernet, but their real winner was the 2007 3 Sisters Syrah. Almost opaque, it had berries, tobacco and a slightly fruity finish. It has won several blind tastings against prestigious California and French varieties. I didn't care for the Canelo Hills offering. Too much tannin and a kind of brownish hue that didn't appeal. It might be a wine that takes more than a one ounce serving to appreciate, I'll give it that.
Ultimately, I bought a bottle of the Three Sisters. The 2006 is sold out completely and I'll bet the 07 does too. We enjoyed it on Sunday, with a slow roasted pork shoulder pot roast bathed in apple cider vinegar, apples, celery, onion and garlic and I've forgotten what spices. My son, the budding cook, has recently learned to make Gnocchi, and his rosemary and parmesan gnocchi tossed in extra virgin olive oil made the perfect accompaniment to the roast and a salad. Perfect birthday supper for yours truly. Be sure to come out on Saturdays and give Casey's wine tasting a try. Shoot, you can't stay HOME for 7 bucks these days.
Gnocchi, a serious carbohydrate sin

1 comment:

John Parsons said...

Gotta love that phrase: "until you face-planted your keyboard." Bravo! Well, the day that the Casey's Corner turned into a wine tasting joint might be equal to the day when a certain species flew. May the merriment and abundant surprises continue. PS--A man with a hammer under is better than a guy in a Hummer over.