Been wine tasting in Scottsdale, Arizona lately? Tasted any good Arizona wines lately? I sense some snickering in the crowd. I’d be careful…the joke could be on you. Arizona wines are having their moment … and you can taste some of the best Arizona vineyards have to offer at a boutique wine tasting room in downtown Scottsdale.
Lawrence Dunham Vineyards Wine Gallery opened a short time ago on Oct. 28, 2014 at Goldwater Boulevard and First Street to be exact. You’ll be charmed by the 1,500-square-foot renovated ranch house where art, wine and accessories co mingle for a charming experience. Local artists and artisans are featured which makes this place a locals favorite stop and a place for visitors to get a local taste.
The tasting room/ gallery can seat up to 50 guests. Your first impression of what’s to come begins by crossing the inviting front patio. It’s a nice place, complete with sturdy lounge furniture for relaxing, people watching and of course wine tasting. Inside, the custom-built tasting built bar (from stone from the owner’s vineyard) sets the tone for some serious tasting while the art gallery and accessory section shows me there is something for the non-drinking guest to enjoy as well.
Wines are available by the glass or bottle. If you come at the right time I understand a seasonal menu of small bites is available for munching and pairing. Signature wines include Petite Sirah, Syrah, Grenache and Viognier, plus blends like the 2012 R.E.D. of Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah. This is a small lot producer, meaning vintages are bought up quickly. If you taste something you like, buy it when you are there.
A wine writer friend and I tasted through some of the current releases while visiting owner/winemaker Curt Dunham. Both the whites and reds were good. For casual warm weather times, the whites are quite nice. For the taster who wants to see what Arizona wines are capable of, move on to the reds.
2012 Lawrence Dunham Vineyards Sky Island Viognier: Bright sassy and all about the minerals and citrus. Surprisingly, the acidity was right up front with a clean finish. I sense more of a stainless profile although the aromatic floral characteristics confirmed this vintage did get some oak. 300 cases made. $20.
2012 Viognier: Crafted in neutral barrels, sur lie for 60 days and racked to neutral, this $24 wine is worth your time. Winemaker Notes: Enjoy with lobster, grilled chicken, macaroni and cheese, or just a few good friends! I’ll toast to that. 103 cases produced.
2012 R.E.D. : 62% Grenache, 8% Syrah and 30% Petite Sirah gives this $28 signature blend some smooth moves. Winemaker Curt says Grenache is the “Pinot of the Dessert.” I find that many experts agree with that statement, noting that a warmer climate produces some really excellent Grenache.This 100% estate grown 2012 red wine blend is a full-bodied wine that pairs well pork tenderloin, roast turkey, and poached salmon. 245 cases produced
2011 Signature Petite Sirah: As they often say, saving the very best for the last. This is the winery’s best wine in my opinion, reflecting the owners belief that, “ Petite Sirah is going to be the signature grape of our estate and of the Chiricahua Mountains. Our terroir brings out the most striking features of the grape and we are looking forward with great anticipation to many amazing vintages. “ You’ll hear the winemaker call it ”liquid midnight” I am assuming for its silky texture and deep color. With 100% Petite Sirah, 83% aged in new American oak barrels for 22 months this audacious wine is toasty and spicy. Perfect with bold flavored dishes or rich grilled meats or rich dark chocolate. 134 cases produced. Ratings/Awards: – 88 Wine Spectator, 2013 Wine of Distinction – The Arizona Republic/AZ Wine Growers Association, 2013 People’s Choice Award – Arizona Festival at the Farm.
Lawrence Dunham should be on your watch list for trending wines. Next time you are in the Scottsdale area stop in and taste what Arizona winemakers has been doing. Trust me, you’ll like what you taste.
Lawrence Dunham Vineyards Wine Gallery
6951 E. First St., Scottsdale
Hours: Wednesday, 12 p.m.-7 p.m. Thursdays, 12 p.m. -9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m. Sunday 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. * Always check the Website to make sure of any changes in days and hours of operation.