It is wondrous the number of new and notable wine regions making a name for themselves over the past 20 years. Not that old world is not riveting, it is, but the thought of new regions brings with it a new take on traditional varietals. Sometimes, this new twist can be good, and other times, not so good. When a friend of mine from Arizona told me that they were making and producing some great reds, I raised an eyebrow.  That conversation took place many years ago, and it was only recently, by way of a gift from said friend, that I had a chance to taste an Arizona red. Bodega Pierce 2014 Emotiva, a blend of estate grown Sangiovese 36%, Cabernet Sauvignon 32%, and  Merlot 32%, is what I was blessed to start the Arizona wine exploration with.

Arizona Wine

Ok. Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room.  How can Arizona produce wines when practically being a desert? The answer; it’s all about the placement of the vineyard.

Due to the size of Arizona and its varying elevation, it stands as a haven for microclimates, making even skiing possible in the state during winter months. Arizona’s three wine regions (Verde Valley, Willcox, and Sonoita) have vineyards situated at extremely high elevations and bodies of water, allowing the vines to benefit from warm days and cool nights, an ideal recipe for grape viticulture.

Verde Valley, though dealing with volcanic ash in its soil and other extremities in the area, produces 100s of varietals and as it is said, the more the vine has to fight its way to useful maturity, the more structured and complex the wines produced from these grapes will be, and this is the case with Verde Valley. Most of the vineyards in Verde Valley are situated around Page Springs.

Willcox, is nestled south-east of Tuscon, and most of its vineyards are situated at elevations spanning from 4,000 to 5,000 feet. (Warm days and cool nights.)  Given its soil makeup, Willcox does well with varietals native to France’s Rhone Valley.

Sonoita is the oldest wine region in Arizona, established in 1970 and official AVA attribution in 1985.  This area is blessed with plentiful rainfall and according to Arizona Experience:

Expert vintners compare the soil of the 20-mile stretch along Highway 83 to the Burgundy region of France.

Bodega Pierce 2014 Emotiva

On colour, the Bodega Pierce 2014 Emotiva holds an absolutely perfect ruby hue.  On the nose, cherry, peppercorn, and strawberry are noted . On the palate, chocolate, vanilla, bevy of red berries, coriander, and plum are present. I can honestly say that I was blown away by this wine that graced my glass. Bodega Pierce has caused me to stand up and take notice of what is happening in the world of wine, in Arizona. Bravo!

Unfortunately, this wine is not available at the LCBO, but it can be ordered from the winery directly.

We gave this wine a 4.75 out of 5