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What was tasting great in 2013?

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This past year, the ongoing wine journey here in Phoenix was more fun than usual, and that includes the Arizona wines. Of course, there were the top shelf favorites with their outstanding personalities. But there were also Copper State surprises along with special winery celebrations. Then there were those ever reliable wines that you can count on anytime.

So check them out, and remember a year with plenty of action in the ever-expanding world of vinos:

The Undoubtedly Nice Ones:

One winery that produces “very Napa” works of art is Franciscan. Their affordably priced 2010 Cabernet is so elegantly balanced that we made sure some were reserved on the rack for future enjoyment.

Producing a red wine standard normally found only at fancy restaurants, Quintessa produces one of the best wines for celebrating special occasions. If you can find anything technically wrong with it (especially if the “Q” should ever taste “corked”), they will take it back, no questions.

With their owners living out in Cave Creek, Hidden Ridge had a special showing at the Scottsdale Costco, of all places. Hey, for an autographed bottle of this yummy, highly-rated (some bottles get WA 94+) selection at a good price, hit the road.

Arizona Fun and Surprises

Our southeastern Arizona wineries expressed themselves in a big way this past year. New wineries with special selections brought their talents to the forefront. Among the southeast’s pleasant surprises are Zarpara and Flying Leap. Welcome to the fray, vintners!

California Milestones and Consistency

There may be a lot of debate about this, but many believe that Joseph Phelps vineyards is an essential benchmark for excellence in wine. During their 40th anniversary celebrations last year this was proven in tasting after tasting. Their Spring Winery Dinner was total excellence and a lasting memory.

There is also consistency in value for distinctive wines. Every year, the Fieldstone Winery comes up with wonderful creations from their estate properties. Their 2012 vintage was among the best.

A Pinot Noir You Can Count On

This Pinot is almost a staple for such a wide variety of food pairing possibilities that it sometimes is “just there”, like salt & pepper. But a Frank Family Reserve Pinot Noir should never be taken for granted. It might not be totally elegant and snobby, but this puppy will comfortably taste side-by-side, right next to the best, and with no shame.

Remember: Consume alcohol responsibly this year, and your 2014 will be all that it should be.

Happy New Year…

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