PICK of the RACK: Page Springs Cellars | Syrah | Clone 474 | Colibri Vineyard | Cochise County | Arizona | 2010 | $38 | 88 pts

2010SyrahClone174Aromas: black peppercorn; lavender; cola; grappa
Character: dry; full-bodied; earthy; racy acidity; medium tannins
Flavors: black currant & sour cherry; red & green bell pepper; dried herbs; hints of jalepeno, wood ash & roasted meat
Food Pairing: sharp cheeses; roasted meats & BBQ; game

Page Springs Cellars is a family-owned Arizona winery that describes itself as a “Rhône House,” dedicated to the classic grape varieties — Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and others — of France’s Southern Rhône.  We recently visited the winery, just a short drive south of Sedona, and experienced first hand the remarkable quality and character Owner/ Winemaker Eric Glomski is accomplishing with Rhône varieties he tends on the estate and in several vineyards across Arizona.  The winery and surrounding vineyards are beautiful, with views that bring Chianti, Italy, to mind, and it sits adjacent to a protected wildlife area that elicits a “one with nature” feeling.

Page Springs Cellars - Estate Vineyards
Page Springs Cellars – Estate Vineyards

We tasted Eric’s current releases and found them all to be well crafted; varietally true while also expressive of Arizona’s unique climate, soil, and topography.  Among the standouts was this Syrah, which Eric sourced from the winery’s Colibri Vineyard nestled high amidst the granite-laced slopes of the Chiricahua Mountains in the southeastern corner of the state.  This is a distinctive red, vivid and earthy, offering aromas of black peppercorns, lavender, cola, and grappa followed by flavors of dried black currants and sour cherries, bell peppers, and dried herbs.  Glimmers of jalepeno, wood ash, and roasted meat lend additional depth on the palate, while crisp acids (thanks to broad daytime-nighttime temperature swings in the region) fine-tune the wine’s complexity and balance.  We were impressed by Eric’s cautious use of oak; he currently employs neutral oak — older oak barrels that no longer impart flavor or tannins but which allow the wine to age gracefully; and he plans to begin experimenting with newer oak in the future.  Clearly a result of Eric’s careful attention to detail, this Syrah ably demonstrates the potential for fine winemaking in Arizona and we are looking forward to tasting more.

A Visit to Page Springs Cellars

Wine on the Barrelhead’s Richard Stone
tasting with Luke at Page Springs Cellars

Availability:  Page Springs Cellars is a small volume winery, and produced only 56 cases of the 2010 Syrah Clone 474.  Availability is therefore tight, and it can only be had directly through the winery (until sold out).  We encourage you, nevertheless, to visit them virtually at www.pagespringscellars.com to familiarize yourself with their story, browse through current releases, and perhaps even plan a visit.  Hopefully you’ll become intrigued enough to try Page Springs Cellars wines and others from Arizona.

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