Sunday, November 14, 2010

Crop Circles on Main Street

  I worked the Walkin on Main celebration in Old Town Cottonwood yesterday. It was a special celebration to mark the 50th anniversary of the town's incorporation. What a pleasant day. Temperatures in the high 60's, no wind and plenty of sun.

  Old Town has really come to life and is the happenin' place to be for the hip, artsy folks. Great music all day, quite a bit of art which I didn't have time to look at, and lots of enthusiastic wine tasters and buyers. They had blocked Main Street off through the Old Town section and it really turned into an old fashioned kind of street fair. All the shops and restaurants were crowded and doing land office business from the looks of things. With the very successful anchor businesses of Orion Bakery, Nick's, The Tavern and our two destination tasting rooms, Old Town is no longer a bunch of starving hippies trying to make weed money selling macrame plant hangers to each other.

  We had it real easy this time. We had our booth set up just a stone's throw from the Pillsbury tasting room, and so anyone who wanted to buy a bottle was directed there. Without having to mess with running credit card transactions or making change and writing receipts, there was more time to chat with the samplers. I met at least a half dozen folks who had driven up from Phoenix specifically for the wine who I remembered from the Festival at The Farm. In addition, there were quite a few initially smug Californicators who'd driven over to satisfy themselves that their wine is still the best and had their hats handed to them after tasting Verde Valley's offerings. Wine prejudice is a real issue, but is perhaps the easiest to dispel.

  One couple from Seattle opined that they couldn't understand how the desert could grow good reds, being that it's soil is so different from the rich, acidic soils of the Northwest. I reminded them, with a smile of course, that the bulk of their grapes are grown in eastern Washington, which is in fact pretty much a desert, with similar soil profiles. "Don't be hoping to taste Washington" I told them as I handed them their samples, "Get ready to taste Arizona". They were suitably impressed.

  During a sit down break, I made friends with Pillsbury's new Wild Child Red, which may end up on the table at Thanksgiving. It seems some genius down in Wilcox decided to plant his vines IN CIRCLES rather than rows, got bored or ran out of money or something and anyway abandoned his vineyard. The Pillsbury crew basically jumped the fence and harvested the weedy, overgrown vines that were still bearing heavy fruit. It's a blend of (I'm not making this up) Syrah, Petite Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet and Zinfandel. It has been given the nickname "Crop Circles". A steal at 18 bucks.

  Unfortunately, I got bogged down with the goats by myself before leaving for Cottonwood and blasted out of the house without taking my camera. I'm sure the Verde Independent will have a good slide show up on their page this coming week and I'll post a link to it as soon as it's up. All things considered, it was a very nice day.