While we were in Tucson, we took a day trip to the Sonoita Vineyards. While I’m definitely not a wine connoisseur, we had a fun time trying different wines and learning about how they are made. Leaving the city, we drove for about 45 minutes down a scenic 2 lane road. The ride may have been long but it was filled with stunning views along the way. On either side were the most gorgeous orange mountain landscapes (my iPhone camera couldn’t do it justice!).We even saw some antelope and a coyote! Our destination was a community of vineyards, 11 in all. We only had time to visit two of them but it was still worth the trip!
Our first stop was the Flying Leap Vineyards for a wine tasting. Here they had a predetermined flight for us to try. As a predominantly white wine drinker, I was a little worried when there was only one white wine in the flight. Luckily for me the reds did not disappoint! My favorite even ended up being one of the reds, a red blend called Head Over Heels.
When most of the other customers had left we asked Kelly, the employee helping us with our tasting, the proper way to try all of these wines. So for all other non wine experts, Here’s how it goes:
Swirl: You want to swirl the wine around in your glass to “aromatize” the wine in the glass (aka make it easier to smell).
Sniff: This one is exactly how it sounds. Stick your nose in the glass and take a nice whiff. The reason you do this is because you can smell so many more of the flavorings inside the wine than what you can taste in your mouth
Sip: And finally you get to drink it! Swish the wine around in your mouth to get to try to get a taste of all of the flavors.
One fantastic tip that Kelly gave us was to eat chocolate with the wine and he had a bowl of chocolate chips sitting out to eat. It really did make the wine taste even better!
Our second stop was at the Kief-Joshua Vineyard. This one had a different atmosphere than the first – the exterior was a beautiful stone facade while the interior had such an Arizona feel. Instead of a specific flight of wines that you take in order, here you picked your tastings off of a list of various wines and descriptions. This is probably better for a true wine connoisseur (or anyone who knows more than our limited wine knowledge) since it let you choose the wines you were most likely to enjoy. We were mostly picking at random or taking suggestions. My favorite here was their zinfandel.
Overall the experience costed two people $32 total (excluding gas to get there) for over 3 hours of tasting and learning. You can buy a souvenir tasting glass at one winery to use at all of them so we bought ours at the Flying Leap Winery for $4. The cost of the tastings varied by winery, we spent $7 at Flying Leap and $5 at Kief-Joshua. We spent half the day at these two vineyards and that was a good amount of time for us but if you are a true wine lover you could easily spend the whole day exploring this community of vineyards!