A monthly look at Arizona wine with Valley dining impresario Pavle Milic.
On a recent visit to the former copper town of Jerome, I was reminded how much I like the place. Perched at 5,000 feet, it frames the Verde Valley in perfect, picturesque composition.
Hungry? There are plenty of little restaurants to check out, including the The Flatiron, which serves fresh scones laden with butter… and love. But if you are a self-proclaimed, out-of-the-closet wino, then Jerome also has a thing or two for you. Mandatory stop No. 1 is the Caduceus Cellars & Merkin Vineyards tasting room, which in addition to offering Maynard James Keenan’s latest wine releases, also offers cheese plates, charcuterie and more to accompany your glass of vino. Make sure you order an espresso with its everlasting crema afterward: It’s hands down the best in Jerome.
The second wine destination will scratch many itches. Puscifer is a sundry store on peyote, with new and old vinyl, a barbershop and lots of maker-oriented goodies. It also serves as the tasting room for Four Eight Wineworks, an “alternating proprietorship,” or co-op of sorts, where a beginner winemaker with a shoestring budget has access to equipment and storage space for a fraction of the cost of owning their own. A few names that you will get to taste: Bodega Pierce, Saeculum Cellars, The Oddity Wine Collective, Heart Wood Cellars, Epicenter, Iniquus Cellars & Second Veil, Najar Cellars and more, with views from its oversize windows that are truly breathtaking.
And you can’t leave without purchasing a can or four of Keenan’s skin-fermented Malvasia Bianca ($15) called the Queen Bee. It is a fireworks show of aromatics and flavor.
Caduceus Tasting Room
158 Main St., 928-639-9463
Four Eight Wineworks
140 Main St., 928-639-3516