Saturday, December 27, 2008

Page Springs, not worth the trip

A few weeks ago, I mentioned the delicious Arizona Stronghold wine that Dr.Desert Flower had enjoyed, and that were were going to go visit the winery where it's made. Sadly, the specific winery, Arizona Stronghold in Cochise county, has no wine tastings, but they are "associated" with Page Springs, and their website gives directions on how to get there, saying you can "buy" their wines there. So naively, we drove up to Page Springs on Friday, in a cold, blustery, rare-snow-flurries day here in Central Arizona, hoping to taste of Maynard's wines. What a disappointment.

Page Springs had their own vintages, that were "ok" at best, not "WOW!", not "great". They said they don't offer tastings of Maynard's wines because they are "too expensive". The wine pourer treated us like we were amusement park attendees waiting for a roller coaster ride. He exhibited few personal insights, no rapport, no warmth, and had conversational skills of a disinterested and dispassionate Tire Salesman. It was $10 a piece to taste 5 wines, in cheesy little glasses, that didn't present the wine's bouquet. No pallet cleansing snacks were offered or available. Very blase. They had Maynard's Caduceus wines on display, and available for purchase, but none to taste.

Back in 2000, I drove from Sydney to the Hunter Valley with my metallurgist buddy Jerry. We visited 4 different vineyards, each with exceptional whites, rose, and reds. We paid no "tasting fees" and we had great conversations with passionate wine makers on a lazy Saturday afternoon. In 2002, Dr. Desert Flower and I toured Bordeaux's Janoueix Châteaux La Croix, and had a personal tour arranged by M.GOURDON, which was fantastic. (we purchased 1/2 a case of this Janoueix Pomerol at the time, yum!) Page Springs was less than 1/10th as personal, delicious, flavourful, interesting, meaningful, or recommended.

Yes, it was a pleasant and scenic drive up and back, and it was an effective reconnaissance trip. However, when die hard Tool fans and wine lovers like my buddy Ryan come to visit in AZ, I will not be wasting our time going up to a lackluster vineyard, with marginal-to-adequate wines. One bait-and-switch afternoon of tasting wines in which we were not interested & being denied the opportunity to taste wines we desired, is enough.

On the upside, the Grasshopper Grill in Cornville does serve a delicious BYOB (build your own burger) hamburger, and it shows the latest in turkey hunting Outdoors Channel videos.

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