Veneration and nostalgia of the past plus a love of wine and dogs led married couple Cale and Barb Coons into the Arizona wine industry. Cale’s grandparents owned the Winged Foot Ranch in Pearce, a farming town about an hour east of Tucson. Cale had fond memories of visiting the ranch during his childhood, so when his grandparents passed a few years ago, he and his wife resolved to keep the property.
Around the same time, both of them fell in love with the Arizona wine industry. After reaching out to winemakers in the Sonoita and Willcox regions – including the folks behind LDV Winery, Zarpara Vineyard and Rune Wines – to talk about planting a vineyard, they were convinced. In May of 2013, with do-it-all Rune maestro James Callahan’s help, they planted their 5-acre Four Tails Vineyard with four varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Sirah, Petit Verdot and Tempranillo – and enlisted Gary Kurtz of Greater Than Wines as their head winemaker.
Named after the Coons’ canine companions, Four Tails currently has five releases. My favorites: The 2018 Pete Rose Rosé ($21), which is a Saignée – a method in which you pilfer a little red grape juice that’s been in contact with skins for a few hours or up to a day or two right after harvest in an effort to make a particularly rich rosé; and the 2017 Short Temper Tempranillo ($32), aged in neutral French oak for 17 months, which has a sharp expression similar to its Spanish heritage, full of ripe cherries and dill, balanced with a faint tobacco aroma. The tannins are present, but not on center stage. I would wager that most self-assured somms would peg it as a Rioja in a blind tasting. It only needs a Double Double from In-N-Out to complete the experience.
Overall, it’s a solid lineup.
Four Tails Vineyard
274 E. Pearce Rd., Pearce