I have a confession about his week's wine, it is an AZ wine from CA grapes! Ouch, I know, please slap me on the wrists now! My goal is to promote Arizona wines made from Arizona grapes and I broke my first and only rule, sorry. At least I can say that the wine was not 100% California grapes but a blend of California and Arizona, so I sort of kept the rule. And I am using the excuse that is was the last stop on a three wineries in five hours trip, so I forgot to read the label when given the choice of what wine to pick. At least the wine is tasty, so I think that kinda saves it.
Karyl insists, "You would not ask a chef where they got their ingredients and if they were not from his personal garden then you would refuse to believe he was a good chef. It is the same with wine, just because I use some California grapes does not mean I do not know how to make great wine. I use mostly Arizona grapes, but supplement with California when needed or if I want to experiment with a wine that does not currently grow in the state." Karyl is the winemaker and owner of Wilhelm Family Winery down in Elgin Arizona. I do agree with Karyl, you could give a winemaker the best Pinot Nior grapes in the world and if he/she is clueless on how to handle the grapes the wine is destroyed and the grapes murdered. It is a duel process, you need quality grapes in the hands and care of a knowledgeable and quality vintner. However, for Arizona to be taken seriously as a wine making region for quality juice and to get a real taste of the all elusive terrior we need to be using our grapes, grown in our soil, made from our blood, sweat, and tears. And Karyl is doing just that, since most of her wines are made with both her estate grapes and from vineyards in Willcox.
The grapes in this wine are a Bordeaux blend, I tasted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. From the tasting room, I remember the Merlot really being dominate so that is what I went for with my pairings. Also Karyl describes the wine as a backyard BBQ wine, great for summers around the grill. Actually that is why the wine debuted on a 4th of July celebration they host every year at the winery. So I thought pork and burgers. I found a great pork tenderloin recipe in Cooking Light 2006 Annual and a super delicious burger recipe from Bobby Flay in Food and Wine 2010 cookbook Annual.
So with that said, on to my tasting notes and menus. Patriot Salute Red wine blend (seasonal wine) Non-vintage Wilhelm Family Winery in Elgin Arizona. I received this bottle as a sample from the winery, for pricing check out their website. Nose: Bing cherry, big fruit overall, tickle of alcohol, vanilla oak, cedar Taste: Soft cherry, with the Merlot playing out first on the palate. There was some acid on the finish with the finish being average. The tannins where soft, but still had a nice grip to hold up to a BBQ meal. The wine was much better the second day. It softened and the alcohol leveled off so it was not overwhelming your mouth. The Cabernet Sauvignon played a bigger role the second day with more of the cedar and herbal flavors coming through. If you are serving this wine please either decant for a least two hours or aerate the wine with an aerator like Karyl does at the winery. She uses the Vinturi.
Menu #1: Wine was just okay with the meal. I thought because of the Merlot used in the blend the cranberry and Mustard in the sauce and rub would play nicely with the wine, but not so much. It was not horrible just not what I wanted. I think just a straight Merlot would have be a great pairing, or maybe if I decanted the Patriot the wine would have softened and that would have helped.
Menu #2: This burger was very tasty, it is not for the timid! There is a lot of heat packed into the BBQ sauce, which I like, but may be too much for some people. The wine stood up very well to the burger, it did not flatten out the wine, like I was afraid it would. Since the wine had mellowed and the herbal component was more present, that was the bridge to marry the wine with the burger. This was a great, comfortable, hanging out in the backyard kind of pairing. The wine and the burger will be a great addition to your Fourth of July menu. If you are not in the mood for a red wine due to the spice of the burger a Gewurztraminer would be a wonderful alternative
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Our company is opening channels into China for exporting wine. We are able to tap an unique market for distribution but also delving into the regular market. High volume is mandatory, but we have an order for a smaller exploratory shipment. If you have a slate of bottles that you think would work well, please contact me if your wineries want to take part. Looking for low end and high end bottles. State-side or abroad. I would be happy to answer any questions via…