Which world wine region does Arizona compare to? It’s a question I’ve been answering for years. My answer? No other region. There are similarities in grape varietals to other regions. I have had Grenache from the south of France that mirrors our expressions of Grenache. A grape like Vermentino, through the lens of Sand-Reckoner, comes close to benchmarks from Corsica and Sardinia. Some qualities of our wine remind me of the Old World, like earth, rusticity and garrigue, a term that applies to plants like juniper and rosemary. There’s also high-toned fruit and accessibility, more redolent of the new world. We are a bridge between styles.
I reached out to colleagues to pose the same question and see how they tackle it.
Kris Pothier, Chateau Tumbleweed
“Because of our high elevation and unique terroir, Arizona wines walk the razor’s edge between the new and old worlds.”
Todd Bostock, Dos Cabezas Wineworks
“There are specific qualities [here] that are similar to other regions, but I don’t see value in trying to say, ‘Arizona is a lot like XYZ.’ The value is in what Arizona wines are, and more specifically what wines from our three regions are: citrus notes from Willcox reds, or rustic tannin from Sonoita reds, for example.”
Kent Callaghan, Callaghan Vineyards
“The most important separating factor that defines Arizona as a wine-growing region is vintage variation. When and how the inevitable heat arrives, and the ensuing monsoon moisture and cloud cover and its duration, determine the character of any specific vintage. And they can be, and have been, wildly different year to year.”