TN: Arizona Winery Visits - some good, some not so...

Anyone have recommendations on which Arizona wineries to visit in the Verde Valley area? We will be in Sedona in May.

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This is the only Ariz winery that comes to mind:

Page Springs Cellars in Cornville (about 5 miles from Sedona) is excellent IMO. Eric Glomski makes really nice Rhone wines that are classic in style. I’ve enjoyed numerous over the past 5 years or so. He’s worked with Maynard James Keenan on the Caduceus and Arizona Stronghold wines also. I visited years ago and it’s very relaxing wtih a nice patio overlooking a little creek.

Caduceus Tasting Room in Jerome is a hoot; some wine enthusiasts but many, many Maynard James Keenan fans.

For background you may want to check out a movie Keenan did about the growth of the AZ Wine Industry called “Blood into Wine”. Both Keenan and Glomski are core parts of it.

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Completely agree about Page Springs. Here’s a Grape-Nutz write up of several AZ wineries from a few years back. Arizona - October, 2009

Last year was the first time in a dozen years I didn’t take a “real” wine trip; hate it when work gets in the way of wine tasting. I did take a tour of Az wineries,mainly in Jerome and Cottonwood. Jerome is an old mining/ghost town which has become trendy with many eateries and tasting rooms as referenced above. I liked Cottonwood better; it’s actually a fairly substantial town with a touristy “old town” section where the tasting rooms are located. Some of these are decent and get fruit from Paso. Most of the Az grapes are grown in SE Az near Willcox, although some are grown around Cottonwood, etc. Yavapai County Community College is even starting a wine program with a vineyard. Overall, sort of a novelty trip with a few interesting wines.


We stayed in Sedona, what an incredibly beautiful place. I heard stories and assumed it was nice. Nah, it’s more than nice if you’re into art, food, hiking, and biking amongst the stunning red cliffs. We headed west towards Prescott hitting a couple of tasting rooms in the valley and Jerome. A funky little town with panoramic views.

Page Springs Cellars
This place gets packed, popular with the wine bus tours and destination wedding crowds. It reminded me of someplace you’d see in Paso Robles. The reds in the flight were very disappointing, the whites were enjoyable.

  • 2015 Page Springs Cellars Malvasia Bianca Dos Padres Vineyards - USA, Arizona, Yavapai County
    Very light in color, shockingly clear for a even a white. There’s a sweet anise aroma coming out if the glass. Palate is medium acid, nice start, with a full compliment of citrus flavors with plenty of lemon. Finish is short, slightly disappointing after the attack, but the acid really shows at the end. This wine I like.

  • 2015 Page Springs Cellars La Flor Rosa - USA, Arizona
    Ever had a rosé with 6 varietals? Here’s one. Guessing they just blend white and red together to make this rascal. Color is light pink. Nose is cherry and fruit punch. Touch of residual sugar but not overt. Decent acidity. Decent wine, I’d drink this one hot day.

  • 2014 Page Springs Cellars Grenache Pillsbury Vineyard - USA, Arizona, Cochise County
    Negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full. Boy, this is a big miss. Extremely light colored, faint red. Nose reminds me of a cheap port. Thin cherry flavor and more port notes. Finish hints of super glue. Not good.

  • 2015 Page Springs Cellars Mules Mistake - USA, Arizona, Cochise County
    This is a crowd pleaser for the cherry jolly rancher crowd. Hey, there 9 varietals in this, just like a southern rhone. LOL Mike started laughing when I seriously questioned if they had liquified candy to make this. There is a nice mineral note on the finish but this is a very “fruity” wine.

Caduceus Cellars - Jerome, AZ Tasting Room
Very cool tasting room in Jerome. Caduceus has the reputation for making the nicest wines in Arizona and it’s probably fair praise. One issue I have is the price, which is the case for many AZ wines, it’s a big tariff for “decent” wines when they’re over $40 a bottle.

  • 2013 Caduceus Cellars Nagual de la Paciencia - USA, Arizona, Graham County
    Nebbiolo and barbera, you’d never guess that blind. This pushes the ripeness envelope for me withplum and some prune. Carries though to the palate. Good tannins. Least favorite of the flight. (83 pts.)

  • 2013 Caduceus Cellars Nagual de la Naga - USA, Arizona, Graham County
    Fairly dark color. Good nose with a little barnyard. Dark fruit and nice flavors. Excellent structure with gritty tannins. (89 pts.)

  • 2013 Caduceus Cellars Sancha - USA, Arizona, Cochise County
    Very dark in the glass and the nose is rather muted. Light Cherry fruit core, saddle leather, and fine tannins. (88 pts.)

  • 2013 Caduceus Cellars Primer Paso - USA, Arizona, Cochise County
    My favorite of the flight but the $55 price tag is too steep. Nose reminds me of a southern rhone. Nice Syrah backbone and sweet petite edges. Leather and rose petals. (90 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Nice pictures! Results seemed somewhat what you would expect from Arizona. These are early times for the AZ wine industry but they seem to have picked up some bad pricing habits from CA. Thanks for the notes!

The tasting room for Caduceus Cellars in Jerome is really cool and I thought the town itself was very cool also. I was there back in 2009 or '10 and they had only had a few years under their belt at that point but were able to fetch high prices in part due to the fame of the owner and following the documentary about them. I think that the prices were in the high 30’s or low 40’s at that time and was definitely not worth the $ for the quality but I still bought some because I’m a big fan of MJK’s music (admittedly not a great reason to buy wine).

We had lunch at Page Springs and tried all of the tasting flights last spring. The food was excellent and out favorite wine was the MGSp blend, which was very good although I agree the pricing is high.

Great notes, and I completely agree with you across the board. Sedona is an amazing place (we drive up at least once a year), and AZ wines are hit/miss…but there’s definitely potential and they are improving all the time.

I used to be a member at Page Springs 6 or 7 years ago (try to support az wine), but they got a little too ‘big’ for themselves, and their charm and customer service suffered big time. It got to the point where we’d show up and we’re supposed to get to taste the ‘reserve’ wines since we were members, and they would say “sorry, we only have the usual pours available”, without the slightest inclination of giving a shit.

At those prices (ridiculous for AZ wine) and that type of attitude, I had to drop them real quick.

It’s funny to me as I read this. I’m presently on vacation in Tuscany and was up in Piedmont for about 4 days last week. I’ve been to 8 wineries since I got here…not one asked for a tasting fee, many included snacks. Offering salami, olive oil, 7-yr balsamic, & multiple cheeses (at one place) a tasting of 6 wines with an average price of around €40-50/bottle, the priciest one being just shy of €100. One winery poured wines that they had long sold-out of, just to ensure that the visit was an amazing experience. I think I tasted a selection of wines into the $150+/bottle range at Vietti…and still no fee. It baffles me how these new wineries in the US seem to think this strategy above is a good business model. I’ve had wines from both PSC & Caduceus. I enjoyed them all, but they’re just not worth the price they ask. To my mind, most are probably a valid purchase around the $20-$25 mark…maybe. Like Scott, I’m also a fan of MJK’s music, but the wines don’t have enough finesse, they seem to have too much oak, and to me, they’re vastly over-priced. When I can get a Barolo from Castiglione Falletto from a winery that’s 3 generations deep for less than any of the prices listed on that Caduceus list…it’s a no-brainer. However, if sales continue to grow then maybe his fame is enough to carry it. I’ll keep going on more trips to Europe or Oregon.

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Oh, the scenic beauty of Arizona!!!

I visited my brother when he lived in Lake Havasu. We drove to Sedona one day, and I was blown away by the rock formations and the clean streams. I was foolish enough to buy a bottle of Colibri N/V Mourvedre.

I recall the initial music fans’ buzz about the Caduceus wines. People were “flipping” bottles on eBay (I think).

Keenan, lead singer for Tool has been the most visible advocate for Arizona wine.

Here’s an article about Keenan and Glomski, the other big player, and their wine history.

Yep, things got pretty ugly between them from everything I’ve read. You can kinda feel the tension start to build in the documentary ‘blood into wine’ that they mention in the article.

Interesting doc if you’re curious about the AZ wine scene and have run out of wine related movies to watch/re-watch.

I never really understood why MJK decided to start a winery in AZ but I guess he literally has a song about California sliding into the ocean. See you down in Arizona bay.

I’m in Phoenix and had my buddy over to the uncle’s house for dinner. He brought this, had the previous vintage and liked it as well.

I mentioned this thread to him and he made a very interesting comment as he’s been to all the AZ wineries and initially introduced me to AZ. Basically, there are only a handful of AZ wines he actually purchases. Passes on a majority because quality and/or price.

Another nice wine he turned me onto was Dos Cabazas GSM, very solid.

  • 2012 Lightning Ridge Montepulciano - USA, Arizona, Sonoita (11/13/2016)
    Light garnet and very good clarity. Faint strawberry nose. Unsweetened strawberry, sandalwood, and medium finish. Very fine tannins. (87 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Yep, I agree on the Dos Cabazas GSM. Had it by the glass this weekend at a bar/buddy’s birthday and was happy with it.

Reasonably priced as well, which is a huge plus in the world or Arizona wine.

It’s been a while since I was down there and tasted the wines, but I do remember the prices being very high for the quality also. Other problem I ran into, and this was 2010 so things may have changed, was that all of the bets quality wines I found were made form grapes purchased in from California regions. Burning Tree Cellars made some nice wine, all from California Sourced grapes. The “Premier Paso” from Caduceus was very nice, but from all California grapes at the time. The few wines they had from AZ grapes were just not that great… I hope they figure it out, I think it would be really cool to get great wines from AZ someday!

You’re spot on Kasey that the majority of the wines used to be made from CA grapes, but I believe that was mostly done while they waited for the AZ vines to get a little age on them as the majority were very young (I’m no winemaker…but I’m pretty sure that’s what I was told).

I’d say most of the wines I see now are primarily made from AZ grapes, which I think is great and adds some more ‘authenticity’ to them. Not sure if it makes them taste better…but definitely more authentic :slight_smile: