Pavle Milic, Author at PHOENIX magazine

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As a wine buyer, one is exposed to a lot of wine. Over the last 13 years at my Valley restaurant, FnB, I’ve tasted thousands of new, strange wines. Two years ago, a distributor brought me a wine from Trentino-Alto-Adige, a wine region to the northeast of Italy. The grape was Teroldego from Azienda Agricola Foradori, and the wine was inky and deeply hued. It had the weight and gravitas of a burly Cabernet Sauvignon....

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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,...

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I first tasted the wines from Cove Mesa Vineyard at the Oro Festival in Tucson in late winter and was instantly enamored of their Malvasia Bianca, replete with aromas of passion fruit and lychee and delivering puckering acidity. Additionally, I had their Picpoul Blanc, which was light and refreshing and brilliantly balanced. Meanwhile, their reds were imposing and robust. My personal enthusiasm for the Cornville-based winery got a big vote of confidence this past March,...

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Planting a vineyard involves a great deal of work, from establishing the water source to developing the irrigation and trellis infrastructure. There’s also the small matter of deciding what to plant. When my team at Los Milics Vineyards was making these important decisions three years ago, we reached out to local winemakers to find out what would do well in our part of the world. Graciano made the cut. Native to the Rioja and Navarre...

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2022 is here, and it’s fitting to reflect as we commence another year. Back in 2004, while driving south on Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail after helping at Neyers Vineyards with my friend Tadeo Borchardt, I whispered to myself that one day I would be involved in the world of making wine. Was I mollifying my own existential anxiety over the future by dreaming the impossible? Perhaps. “Be careful what you wish for,” the saying goes....

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My co-owner at FnB, Charleen Badman, and I started showcasing the bounty of the local terroir almost 12 years ago. We decided early on to reach out to our community to represent our state through the lens of food and wine. None of that has changed, and we continue to inculcate and foment our focus on provenance. Every time we discover a new artisan, farmer or winemaker, we are not only giddy, but also amazed...

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It’s always momentous, at least for an oenophile like me, when a new wine shop or bar opens. Far Away Wine and Provisions in East Phoenix is the brainchild of Pat Jasmin and Chris French, part of the food-and-bev fabric of Arizona for years. Jasmin has done a little of everything, from writing wine lists to owning a restaurant to wine distribution, which is how she met French, a history and music buff who sold...

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At Los Milics Vineyards in Sonoita, we’re hosting tastings on our crush pad while the tasting room is built. If I am not in the weeds, I give tours of the production facility. Invariably, someone asks about barrels. Questions like “Where do you get your barrels?” or “Are they all new?” are common. There are three major reasons to use oak barrels: to add aromatic and flavor compounds; allow for slow oxygen exchange through porous...

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The delicate art of selecting the right grape varietal to plant on any given plot of land led me to create an informal amicus brief with neighboring winemakers in Sonoita. With my coterie, I parse through all the choices to make prudent decisions based on history and performance of established vineyards. Currently at our Los Milics estate vineyard, we have Petit Verdot, Marsanne and Montepulciano in the ground; and this spring, we’re grafting Malvasia Bianca,...

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Last time I wrote about Los Milics Winery was back in September of 2020 – after the hurricane known as “harvest.” Construction on our winery in the Southern Arizona town of Elgin was completed and my wife, Carla (pictured), and I processed 36 tons of fruit by ourselves. From our vineyard a few miles away in Elfrida we got some beautiful Graciano, Grenache and Mourvèdre. However, the Tempranillo from that site was not yielding the...

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Recently, Jessica Dupuy, a contributor to forbes.com and Texas Monthly, was tapped by book publisher Infinite Ideas to contribute to its Classic Wine Library series, which profiles both benchmark and lesser-known regions, from Burgundy and Rioja to Greece and Georgia (the country). Dupuy’s entry is The Wines of Southwest U.S.A. and includes wine regions in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and – you guessed it – Arizona. Dupuy writes about each region’s history, climate and personalities...

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Here’s another column about some new kids on the block. One day, driving down Elgin Road in Southern Arizona wine country, I noticed a banner that read “Twisted Union” hanging on Kief-Joshua Vineyard’s fence. I’d heard rumblings about Kief Manning looking to sell his winery and vineyard, and by the looks of this, he did. Twisted Union Wine Co. is composed of 14 partners. In fact, I know some of the folks involved because they...

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After the 16-hour-a-day whirlwind of harvest came to an end at my Los Milics Winery, I suddenly had time to think about something other than pH and Brix levels. It caused some low-level depression. A sense of non-purpose. I was warned about this by fellow winemakers, but I didn’t believe them. Well, it’s true. As an antidote, I stepped up my infrequent running routine and decided to revisit one of my favorite wine books to...

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Everything is just right. You decanted that special bottle of wine you bought on vacation six years ago to accompany the anniversary dinner that you lovingly cooked for your significant other. Letting the dry-aged ribeye rest, you set the table and take the Dauphinoise potatoes out of the oven. Finally, you both sit down to clink clink over the momentous occasion, with candlelight flickering and Wilco playing in the background. You pop the cork, swirl...

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In early August, my fledgling winery, Los Milics, harvested our first pick of Tempranillo. It could have gone horribly wrong, because just two days prior we had a hailstorm in Sonoita. Thankfully we lived to pick our fruit and avoid disaster. A helluva start to our 2020 vintage, and par for the course for a challenging and emotionally straining year. Before we could harvest, we had to prepare the winery for the incoming fruit. Though...

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