Today I depart Carefree, Arizona where I have spent the better part of four days in the vicinity of the swimming pool. This break has provided a chance to decide how I want to go about this expedition. I was only able to take this time because of Simon and Annie Lehrer, who have been excellent hosts. Check out Annie’s website – cheesemongerswife.com
We went to the local wine shop, AZ Wine, on Saturday night for a Bourbon and Barbecue tasting. It was a great line up. Buffalo Trace, Blanton’s and Woodford Reserve were the highlights. I picked up a Marsannay Rosé from Regis Bouvier that was great for the hot tub [I have yet to try a Marsannay Rosé that wasn’t worth the money ($16)], a bottle of Segura Viudas (for $8) and the find of the trip thus far – Domaine de Canton.
Canton is ginger-flavored and is the sister liqueur to St. Germain, which is rare in Missouri because none of the distributors are representing it as of yet. Every now and then, we got our hands on St. Germain, which is a slightly sweet, elderflower liqueur, but I had never even seen a picture of the Canton bottle. I like the St. Germain on its own, on the rocks or in mixed drinks that include some orange liqueur. The Canton does not do nearly as well by itself. It is drier than the St. Germain and the ginger lends a spiciness that needs to be tempered. We started with Canton Royales – four parts Segura Viudas Sparkling Wine and one part Canton. It helped spread out the flavorful liqueur, but did not provide any extra complexity. Simon’s concoction added triple sec to the mix which gave it the citrus notes it had needed.
I’m off to Elgin, Arizona in the Sonoita AVA where I’ll be asking, “What’s the deal with your monsoon season?”
Filed under Drinks, Travel
I am sitting poolside in Carefree, a relaxed little town north of Phoenix in the desert foothills. I left St. Louis a week ago intent on seeing as much of the American wine industry as I can and to search for work.
I began in Kansas City with friends from high school and barbecue at Arthur Bryant’s, which had the highest great food to griminess ratio I’ve seen. Definitely worth checking out.
Whoever said that getting there is half the fun didn’t have to drive through Kansas. The landscape is boring and it smells horrible. It was a nine hour purgatory. The brief time I spent in Oklahoma was no better.
Not five minutes into New Mexico the sky grew much larger, the speed limit soon jumped to 75 and the roads were great. The land rose and took on some character. I made it to my friend Kerrie’s place and stayed an extra day. She has a mountain near her small adobe home, so we drove into the cool evening to watch the sunset. Once the sun had disappeared behind the hills, we descended to Ziggy Stardust and pulled into her driveway as the album was winding down.
Traveling note: My four-cylinder Honda Accord handles the mountains like a champ. Whether I am going up or down, it is nimble, controlled and a lot of fun to drive.
The next day I headed for Carefree, which also described my state of mind by this point. To be on this classic American trip that so many have made before me is humbling and exhilarating. I intended to be up to my gills in wine from Santa Barbara by this point, but the trip instantly begged for a more leisurely approach. My friends Simon and Annie have kindly let me stay here four nights to recharge and figure out where I go from here.
Thus far I’ve been to the Gruet winery in Albuquerque. That deserves its own post, so I’ll work on that next. This week I’m planning to hit the Sonoita AVA outside of Tucson and the Ramona Valley near San Diego before going to LA and Santa Barbara for a few days.