There is no typo in the title, I am referring to desert wines, not dessert wines. Aridus Wines are from the deserts of Willcox Arizona. The name Aridus is a play on words, in Latin the word arid means dry, so the name is a fitting tribute to their desert setting.
The winery is founded by Scott and Joan Dahmer in a historic and picturesque area of the American Southwest. Aridus Wines Company is located in Southeastern Arizona, an hour east of Tucson. In 2009 they planted 40 acres of estate vineyards in Turkey Creek in Pearce Arizona. The vines are on high desert location, 5,200 feet in elevation in the Chiricahua growing region, which is known for its hiking trails, stone columns and balancing rocks.
Scott and Joan are true pioneers in the region as winemaking is relatively new to the area. So why plant in Arizona? Scott replies, “Hot days, cool nights, minerality of the soil. Our state’s motto has five Cs—-Climate, Cattle, Cotton, Citrus and Copper. Why not add a 6th? Cabernet?
At Aridus, they source their grapes from vineyards in Arizona, New Mexico and California. They are also one of the largest custom crush facilities in the state, with state of the art technology and equipment. The modern winery is set amongst majestic and picturesque mountains and has been awarded Design Excellence Award from the International Interior Design Association’s Southwest Chapter. They have received awards and accolades for their efforts in sustainability. In addition to the winery, they have a gorgeous modern tasting room in Old Town Scottsdale.
Winemaker Lisa Strid, a Wyoming native has been crafting extraordinary wines at Aridus since 2016. She has a degree in enology and viticulture from Oregon State University and has worked at wineries across Oregon and California. Lisa is passionate about winemaking, “I love speaking face-to-face with wine lovers, watching and listening to them as they take in wines that will become favorites for the first time. My passion encompasses the whole craft of winemaking – the cycles of the seasons, ushering a grape from vine to bottle. It engages all senses and requires both scientific rigor and intuitive leaps of imagination.”
Arizona wine culture is relatively new and having visited a few wineries in the region personally on my travels I have tasted many wonderful wines from the region. In the wine world there has been a lot of buzz around the award winning wines of Aridus Wine Company, so I was excited at the opportunity to try the wines samples that were sent to me. The wines can be purchased directly on Aridus Wine Company’s website.
2017 Aridus Field Blend
Sourced from estate fruit at the foothills of the mountains, the wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia, and Viognier. It has notes of lemon and pineapple on the nose. Nice acidity on the palate with hints of lemon, guava and verbena. A truly elegant wine that is perfect for the spring or a hot summer day.
2016 Aridus Graciano
The 2016 Graciano is from the Alba Vineyards in Cochise County, Arizona. Graciano is typically a blending grape in Rioja, so I was thrilled to try this 100% pure varietal Graciano. The ruby colored wine exuded aromas of strawberries and cherries. With a bit of stem inclusion, the wines has notes of black pepper. There was a bounty of red fruit flavors and notes of plum, cherry and cocoa. The tannins were a bit rugged and sharp, but overall the wine was interesting, and will appeal to all the wine geeks out there. A rarity to find this wine as a single varietal and even more rare to find in the US.
2016 Aridus Syrah
The fruit for this gorgeous Syrah was sourced from Chiricahua Vineyards and Juan Alba’s Vineyards. Made in the typical Northern Rhone Côte Rôtie style, the wine is a blend of 83% Syrah and 17% Viognier. The Viognier adds complexity and aromatics to the wine. On the nose there is white pepper, cedar notes, and blueberries. On the palate cloves, dark fruit and olive tapenade. This is a elegant full-bodied robust wine. Aridus is a wonderful Syrah that is a must for your dinner pairing. The wine pairs beautifully with a steak or a grilled rack of lamb. The Syrah is made in limited production. Only 155 cases produced, so grab yours fast.
2017 Aridus Malbec
The grapes for this 100% Malbec are sourced from New Mexico Vineyards, in Deming, New Mexico. A mesmerizing deep ruby hue with jammy aromas of blackberry and raisin. It has flavors of black cherry, strawberry, smoked meat and clove. There is nice acidity with a smooth mouthfeel. A well balanced wine that you can enjoy with a steak or barbecue.
Aridus has a wide range of wines; sparkling, semi-sweet, red, whites and rosé. Be sure to visit their tasting room in Willcox. There is also a beautifully designed outpost tasting room in Old Town Scottsdale. For more information and hours of operation be sure to visit the website here.
**Pictures Courtesy Aridus Wine Company**