Transparent garnet with a ruddy edge, sumptuous nose glowing with leather and deep berry, bits of tobacco-y grain aligned with American oak and starting to bud tertiary. Warm and still–but not hot or chubby–the fruit a graceful melange of concentrated black fruit and elevated raspberry.
This comes from down in Willcox–not up in Cottonwood or Prescott, which gets most of the wine-pub these days–and I find these southern versions far more collected than their blingy northern siblings of rather flabby labels we’ve all seen and rocked out to. Still, they are grown at elevations causing nosebleeds to all of California, where vineyards pushing 2500′ are cause for acclaim and near 3, practically astonishing. These vineyards have you beat by a couple-thousand feet, mirroring only South America in elevation. And they are a bit peculiar in profile for these reasons–not to mention hi-desert soil–and I suppose I could put on Cabernet blinders and pick this wine apart for variances from the expected modern norm but to what end? They’re doing amazing things down there with grapes and frankly: this wine fits the qualifications of classic Bordeaux FAR better than almost ANY California or Washington version getting the Dunnick and Parker 96’s.
Rich and beautiful in the mouth, a ripeness I have had a hard time coming to grips with in my exploration of Arizona and have written tomes trying to justify. Early, I found AZ wines awkward–comparing them to Paso’s worst–but as I have headed down to Willcox, these issues become null. I can’t stand the term *World Class*, but you NEED to experience these wines. Gorgeous blackberry and black tea–abrasive and stalwart–the savory/green/ripe instincts of extreme diurnal and thin dirt creating a quite-fabulous wine. This seriously runs into Togni-Corison territory for me: lots of people gonna hate it, but everything is there for the purist. Tannins a beautiful affair: a kiss of briar and abrasion on watery, heady fruit. All in an ABV practically “vapid” by today’s standards. Beautiful stuff–all things considered.
2018 CARLSON CREEK Cabernet Sauvignon Willcox Arizona 14.0