Arid, dry, and barren are some of the ideas that come to mind when you think of the desert. As you drive through Cottonwood for the very first time nothing spectacular seems to catch your eye. It is not the beauty of the red rock mountains of somewhere like Sedona. Yet, it is not the barren landscape of somewhere like 29 Palms either. It’s somewhat in between and its here just outside of Cottonwood you will find, a little Italian or Spanish inspired Villa which is home to Alcantara Vineyards and Winery. A picturesque, piece of artistry in an otherwise barren, desert area.
Situated in what is know as the Verde Valley this little gem of a winery is at the confluence of two rivers the Verde and the Oak Creek. Not far from the popular, trendy, and incredibly beautiful Sedona. Alcantara is one of the largest vineyards in Central and Northern Arizona. Very unassuming, with a laid back style, and with wine that is every bit as surprising as the area it is grown in. I once heard that wine must suffer on the vine to be good and I am guessing that in 100 degree temperatures it is doing some suffering.
It is the brain child of Barbara Predmore the owner, she states “the rocky limestone soil and sunny climate in the Verde Valley is very similar to the wine making regions of France and Italy and after two years of experimentation the results are everything we hoped for and then some.” I can only imagine she is only talking soil as temps here can be well over 100 plus degrees in the summer. She does back up her statement though with some wonderful wines. Some of Alcantara wines are medal winners and from my own pleasant experience very good.
Now, I am not a wine connoisseur or professional of any sort. I just enjoy a good wine and I have to say I enjoyed the 2013 Petite Sirah. It contains notes of black currants, blackberries, black pepper, and leather it is a Silver Medal Winner at the Fingerlakes International Wine Competition.
Alcantara is not the only winery in the area but the only one we had a chance to stop in that afternoon. We were greeted by a nice woman Kerry who explained how everything worked. They do have a tasting fee but you are allowed to take home a glass unfortunately empty. For 15.00 you are presented with your stem styled wine glass and a tasting of 5 of their wines. You are able to choose your preference. I am not much of a white wine drinker so I made my choice from the reds. I also ordered an nicely presented appetizer plate of cheeses, breads, and olives. A perfect snack before an afternoon lunch we were having in Sedona.
When we arrived at around one we were the only people there. When we left close to 3 the place was starting to fill up. If you have a chance to pop in on your way the Sedona it is a perfect break from your Phoenix drive. A pleasant afternoon day trip or if you have some time you can do the wine trail. I hope to be going back soon, perhaps I will see you. As always the Destination is part of the discovery and it’s always better with wine.