This wine was received as a tasting sample.2014 ARIDUS Malbec — dark ruby in the glass with generous vanilla, caramel and ripe blackberry aromas. Rich flavors of ripe blueberries, plums and blackberries combine with hints of dusty earth, smooth tannins and a lingering finish. This wine is bright, fruit-forward and warming. 15.2% abv. $35
Red meat is the perfect pairing for this Malbec. If the meat is grilled so much the better. The fruit flavors of this wine will be the perfect match for hearty stews, flavorful marinades and spicy meat dishes of all sort.
Aridus Wine Company is a custom-crush winery located in southeastern Arizona, in Willcox to be exact. In addition to providing a custom crush facility for vineyard owners in the area Aridus makes wine under their own label. They are in the perfect position to choose the best grapes from the region to make their wines, which is the case with this Malbec which was aged in a combination of 40% new American oak, 40% neutral French oak, and 20% 2-year old French oak.
If haven’t heard of the Willcox AVA you’re probably not alone. The region is Arizona’s most recent AVA, having just received official recognition in October 2016. For years the region has been producing wine grapes used by Arizona’s two other wine regions, Sonoita AVA (Arizona’s first and only other AVA which was designated in 1984) just next door and the Verde Valley located 100 miles north of Scottsdale. The Willcox AVA is home to 21 commercial vineyards and 18 wineries. Consider this your introduction to Willcox if you haven’t heard of it yet.
The Malbec is sourced from Deep Sky Vineyards just south of Willcox. The vineyard is home to Malbec, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Petite Syrah, Counoise and Viognier. Philip and Kim Asmundson began their Malbec odyssey in Argentina’s Uco Valley where they went on vacation in 2009 but returned as owners of a small vineyard. They saw similarities between the Uco Valley and Willcox in terms of soil types and elevation and before they knew it they were in the vineyard business in Willcox too.
So, if you are unfamiliar with wine from the Willcox AVA consider this your introduction. The area is home to many Rhône, Italian and French grape varieties and Aridus has done a nice job with this Malbec. If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Willcox stop by the Aridus Willcox Tasting Room. You will also find a tasting room in Old Town Scottsdale. Details are on the Aridus Wine Company website.