Scottsdale’s unexpected wine scene

When it comes to wine, Northern California is generally considered the mecca of wine country in the United States. That said, Arizona has quickly become a hub for wineries and growers looking to expand beyond California’s borders. While it might seem odd that such a dry desert landscape could produce a quality crop, the high temperatures and altitude actually allow grapes to thrive in much the same way they do in places like India. Argentina.

Scottsdale is specifically home to a wide array of tasting rooms. In fact, the Scottsdale Wine Trail takes travelers and locals on a fun journey around Old Town to seven different tasting rooms. Thanks to the exciting Wine Trail, Scottsdale is carving out a niche as an exciting new place for local wine lovers. All of the wines on the Wine Route are produced locally, giving visitors a real insight into Arizona’s growing wine industry.

Whether you’re looking for old-school tasting rooms that showcase local wines or a more elevated restaurant to sip world-class wine, here are some of our favorite places to enjoy the best of Scottsdale’s wine scene.

From production to sourcing, staying as local as possible is a top priority for Merkin Vineyards. Merkin’s Estate vineyards are located in Verde Valley and Willcox, Arizona, where the grapes thrive on over 100 acres of pristine land. If a light red is normally your choice, Merkin’s Garnacha is a solid choice. For something more complete, the 100% Sangiovese is a must. While Merkin Vineyards Old Town’s goal is to bring premium, locally produced wine to Scottsdale, the tasting room also serves delicious bites and seasonal dishes. Merkin remains consistent in its priorities and practices by growing the majority of its own fruits and vegetables in the Verde Valley. From pizza to pasta, the Merkin’s menu changes regularly, serving creative cuisine meant to pair with unique wines.

LDV Winery’s cozy patio is the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine under the Arizona sun. If you’re looking to get a full taste of the brand, a $15 flight is the way to go. You have the choice between three different flights and different wines by the glass. LDV specializes in Rhone varietal wines and is in the heart of the old town, allowing you to walk to nearby restaurants or shops after your visit. The 100% Grenache is light and floral, but those who prefer something fuller will appreciate the various Syrah offerings. Started by a husband and wife duo, the LDV Vineyard is located in the Chiricahua Mountains and sits at an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level.

The Wine Collective is a quaint and charming bottle shop with a modern appeal. Visitors have a choice of four different wine flights and can accompany them with a charcuterie board, a cheese board or a chocolate board. The Wine Collective offers over 40 different varieties of Arizona wines, and each bottle featured is hand-picked with care and consideration. In fact, The Wine Collective offers the largest selection of Arizona wines in all of Scottsdale. Although many of the region’s tasting rooms are in Old Town, The Wine Collective is located downtown.

One of the most interesting aspects of tasting in the Salvatore Vineyards tasting room is the fact that most of the wines available are made on site. This cellar has an elegant appeal that is enhanced by warm wooden floors and vintage chandeliers. Wines bottled under the Salvatore name are reserve wines that have been considered the best of the best. In fact, if you need a new collectible or special bottle, Salvatore’s Reserve Sangiovese is a great option.

Those looking to get off the trail and enjoy an artfully prepared meal paired with quality wine should check out Weft & Warp. While you won’t find as many local options on the list, this innovative Mediterranean-inspired restaurant has a rotating wine list that’s sure to impress any wine lover. Located in the beautiful Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows, West & Warp changes its wine list at least every two weeks, allowing guests to enjoy delicious bites with different perfectly paired wines each visit. Weft & Warp’s diverse and ever-changing selection features wines from around the world, ranging from France to California to Germany. From light reds to refreshing bubbles, the vibrant, seasonal dishes cater to a variety of preferences and palettes.

About Michael Brafford

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