Lisa (my wife if you didn't know) went to a few Arizona wineries this week. One of them, Javelina Leap, was a return visit, as we had been there in the fall of 2008. The others were Oak Creek Vineyards and Page Springs Vineyards and Cellars.
One of the appeals of Javelina Leap the last time we were there was that the wine was very drinkable and the prices were moderate. Now, they are selling Cabernet and Zinfandel for $75 per bottle (that's a normal sized bottle). For $75, I can get a very good Napa or Sonoma or Washington Cabernet. They will improve with age over 5 to as much as 25 years. I can also get one of the great Zinfandels for this price.
This Cabernet and this Zinfandel are not that good. They are meant to drink now or soon, and they remain drinkable. We have probably made our last visit to Javelina Leap.
Oak Creek Vineyards was amusing. As I was going to be making a long drive, I planned to spit my wine (a common practice when wine tasting, believe it or not). For context, the outdoor temperature was about 20 degrees ... Fahrenheit. They gave me a little plastic spit cup and said I could spit in it ... as long as I went outside to do my spitting. Their wines were bad. These were not 90 point wines, or 80 point wines, and in fact, some of them were not 70 point wines. They were BAD. And, still most were priced over $30. PYECHHH! (You can look it up, I swear that's a word.)
Page Springs Vineyards and Cellars was different. The average price of a bottle of wine there is $22. Some are less expensive. If you buy 6 bottles of any of their wine, they will give you a bottle of their Syrah ($24 retail) for $1. And, their wines are structured and balanced. They blend grapes to create their own version of a Rhone style. Tasting (and spitting without going out into the cold) was a pleasure there. They grow about a dozen varietals on their 130 acres and take care to produce well-made, appropriately priced wines.
I salute Page Springs, and think the other two need to take a lesson.