A monthly look at Arizona wine with Valley dining impresario Pavle Milic.
Every time I see a new winery while driving on Elgin Road in Sonoita – a strip now known as Winery Row – I get excited. So it was with Deep Sky Vineyard.
In 2009, Arizona wine nuts Kim and Phil Asmundson went to Mendoza, Argentina, to celebrate Phil’s birthday. One night after more than a few glasses of Malbec, they signed a contract to purchase a 5-acre vineyard, and that’s how they entered the wine world. Sensing similarities between the terroir and climate of Mendoza and Southern Arizona, they also started looking for land closer to home in Marana. They planted a vineyard in Willcox in 2010, and last year they planted their estate vineyard in Sonoita.
All the wines made after the 2016 vintage were made by the talented James Callahan of Rune Wines. On a recent visit, I tasted a 2016 Nebula rosé ($18) made from all the Malbec blocks. It has all you want in a rosé: refreshing and thirst-quenching acidity and a bit of richness, too. One wine that stood out for its fruity attributes and approachable nature was the 2014 Orbit ($28) comprising 50 percent Grenache and 50 percent Mourvèdre. I also tried a few Malbecs that deliver the dark fruit and concentration you would find in any Argentine Malbec. But the standout was the 2016 Quasar Counoise made by Callahan. The nose gave hints of cranberry and cherries redolent of a Pinot Noir, but the mouthfeel was denser and grippier.
The tasting room is surrounded by big windows that give way to the ever expansive and beautiful views of Mt. Wrightson and the Mustang Mountains. There are many more wines available at their tasting room, reason enough for you to check them out.
Deep Sky Vineyard
124 Elgin Rd., Elgin