We were due to head back to Chicago from Arizona on Superbowl Sunday. We woke up around 4:30 a.m. to pack up the roller skate and hit the road in time to beat the Super Bowl traffic heading into Phoenix. Moments before we were about to head out, Michele did a last check on the status of our flight… CANCELLED.
We sensed that this would likely occur as overnight Chicago accumulated over 14 inches of snow, and the blizzard ranked Chicago’s 5th worst snow storm of all time. Luckily we found out before our flight was about to leave, but still – we had to figure out what we would do next. We called Frontier Airlines and they notified us that no flights would be going out that day, and the next day was already totally booked due to the Superbowl. The earliest we would get on a flight was Tuesday morning.
We called into work to let them know our situation, extended our rental car for a few more days and immediately started planning out our bonus days! We both had our computers, so we knew we would be able to work from our “Arizona Satellite Office” on Monday, but Sunday was all ours! After weighing a few options, we decided that the day would be best utilized by going wine tasting!
Less than a 30 minute drive from where we stayed were three wineries: Page Springs Cellars, Oak Creek Vineyards & Winery, and Javalina Leap Winery. We started at Page Springs Cellars which is located right aside Oak Creek. It was most definitely the most picturesque of the three with a balcony overlooking the vineyards and a beautiful lattice covered walkway that leads down to a deck which sits atop the rippling Oak Creek.
On their website they boast “delicious Rhône style wines, gourmet food selections and breathtaking views.” I can attest that all three are true.
We were incredibly impressed by our server who with ease explained each of the wines we sampled in our flight and made recommendations based on our personal preferences. Both Michele and I are red wine enthusiasts, and so she recommended we try the 2013 Super Arizona which is a red blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, sangiovese, and malbec. It was an easy red, fruity to taste and paired well with our cheese plate. Now look at this beauty:
We were totally impressed by the variety that was included in their chef selection. We weren’t given anything that listed out the types of cheese that were included – but there were two that really stood out from the rest… and prior experience tells me that one was sheep’s milk and the other some type of fontina. If you go here, get the cheese plate and leave it up to the chef – this was fantastic!
My favorite wine here was the 2012 Zinfandel Bonita Springs. We learned that this wine was only available for a short time as it was made from a selective picking at the Bonita Springs vineyard. I love a wine with a robust oak-like flavor and a spicy finish. This one accomplished all of that while still having a light flavor. We liked it so much, we ordered another glass to take with us as we left that patio and headed out onto the grounds and toward the creek.
We had too much fun with our own mini photo shoot on the grounds. Here’s us taking a stroll down the vine covered walkway. Side note: not recommended you take this path in heels. 🙂 After hanging out by the river for nearly an hour – we decided it was time to venture to our next winery.
We visited Oak Creek Vineyards next. It existed in a much less photo-worthy scene as Page Springs (in fact, I forgot to take a picture of the outside of it).This small boutique winery lies at the bottom of a cliff side with very desert-like surroundings.
They’ve got all your customary wine-shoppe souvies and some local options too. They had a grand wine counter inside and some nice seating options outside. We opted to hang out around the wine counter for the tasting. For $10, we sampled 5 pours. They only had 4 red options, so we went outside of our comfort zone and tried their Chardonnay which has pear and vanilla flavors, with a hint of pineapple. It was good – but much less flavorful than the red wines. From our whole day of tasting, our most favorite was the Oak Creek Vineyards Zinfandel. It was made with green pepper! I had never heard of that before, but will be excited to seek out wines made with it in the future. This had a smokey, peppery flavor and was SO GOOD.
Our last stop on our Arizona wine tasting adventure was Javelina Leap Vineyard & Winery. This winery was definitely the most fun of the three. Our tender here had lots of personality and was excited about the wines that they featured. He also recommended their goat cheese cake > I repeat > goat cheese cake! Goat cheese is one of my most favorite things in this whole, wide world – and they made it into a desert dessert.
After noticing that our taste buds were trending a love for arizona zins, we carried on our tasting with a sampling of their 2013 Legacy Zinfandel and the 2013 Arizona Zinfandel. Both tasted great – but we were actually more impressed by their red blend, 2013 Rock Slide. We felt we had sufficiently sampled what these Arizona wineries had to offer (at least in red wines) and we needed to still get ourselves and the roller skate back to Sedona in one piece, so we drank up lots of water and headed out.
It was an amazing bonus day in the sunshine, drinking red vino and pristine views. Even if you don’t have enormous snow fall to wait out, I’d recommend you visit these wineries while visiting Arizona!