Posts Tagged ‘AZ Stronghold’

Secret Decoder Ring

I’m not going to pretend to be a master of Twitter; it intrigues me and I have done my best to flail around the crazy Twitterverse for the past year or so. While there are millions of tweets that are pointless and some just plain crazies, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to have met a damn fun crowd of great people!

Last night I knew I was in for trouble. For some reason there was a plethora of gatherings occurring in the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas and I had the urge to attend all of them. It started with a simple #cheesedate at Petit Fromage, where the lovely Lara threw away all concept of rehab for her broken wing to sling us some damn tasty artisan cheeses from around the world. She even provided an impromptu lesson on her vast collection of cheese knives and the secret of salami handling.
Her shop is located within Delicious Dishes on 7th St & Missouri, where I was surprised to find the prices on Arizona Stronghold wines are several bucks cheaper than most retail outlets (you’re welcome for that handy nugget!).

After the #cheesedate, several of us headed to SunUp Brewery on Camelback to meet up with Joel. He’s had to deal with the ChowBella-dubbed “shit show” of a #CrazyAmy saga all week and sometimes you just want to provide the unspoken support of having a brewski at the tramp & loser table with a bunch of vagabonds.

After the brewery I made a stop at home and almost got sucked into the abyss of my couch. I think I lost an hour or two of time, but my love of Stephanie, from @skinnyjeans fame, got my ass out to O’Donoghue’s in north Scottsdale just in time to find all the tweeps were closing their tabs. Some quick socializing with Tim from Weekly Wine Journal and Eric from Shwaag and a gander at the band, Easton Ashe, got me motivated to hit late night at Petite Maison in old town.

As if a late night #staffmeal with melt-in-your-mouth foie gras mac & cheese and a Citrus-vodka Ginger Rosemary Rickey red cup special isn’t enough to get me out to Petite Maison, it was the ever-so-charming @GritsNYC’s birthday celebration! If you haven’t yet met Stacey, she is the most genuine person on the face of the planet, and her husband @sir_eccles has got some bollocks. The event would not have been complete without some hair-singeing: shots of bootleg limoncello and Tony of Desert Smoke BBQ gracing the birthday girl with an unreleased bottle of ghost chili sauce that she proudly displayed from her cleavage.

As the night wrapped up I came home to find texts, tweets, and Facebook mentions to remind me that overcoming my social-hermit tendencies is always worth the effort. And if you’re curious about the powers of social media and looking to find that secret decoder ring to understand more of this post, do yourself a favor and contact Diya Marketing… I guarantee, she wears the ring with grace.

Thanks to all these friends and tweeps for including me in on the fun:

@DiyaMarketing, @PetitFromageAZ, @GritsNYC, @SkinnyJeans, @SherilynMclain, @DragonflyTweet, @AndrewKfromAZ, @sir_eccles, @AZHotDish, @wklywinejournal, @CWGalli, @DesertSmokeBBQ, @FoodTrampEF, @ciaoMari, @lafinguy, @1Tap, @azlobo, @fluxus73, @PetiteMaisonAZ (and non-tweeters Nathan & Lisa and anyone else I may have missed!)

Stay tuned, as the #PumaProwl will be hitting the road in September for an all-day wine tour with Arizona Grape Escapes!! I cannot begin to imagine how entertaining that journey is going to be…

Blood Into Wine

As many of you may be aware, a little film has been released called Blood Into Wine that chronicles the trials and tribulations of a couple Arizona winemakers. All right, so there’s a little Hollywood entertainment in the mix, but let’s not start name-dropping. As a huge fan and supporter of Arizona wine, I attended a couple of the events this week to celebrate the movie premiere and thought I’d throw together a bit of a recap.

Thursday night began with a great dinner at Noca restaurant, featuring the winemakers and their tasty creations paired with a wonderful menu. While a little socially awkward because each table had a different seating/serving time, the meal was terrific and Noca will certainly be on a list of future destinations. The film stars also made an effort to stop by each table to discuss the wines when not distracted by the news channel wanting to interview them at the door.

Friday was the world premiere of the movie at the W Scottsdale. It was more than a bit chaotic, with the only entry line wrapping around the entire hotel, the fire marshal not allowing enough seating for guests, the “hosts” only making a brief appearance from an unlit balcony, and free cigars that amazingly smoked up the outdoor venue, but it turned out to be a great time. A few of us indulged in some wonderful bites at Sushi Roku before heading upstairs. We toted a bottle of Caduceus 2008 Nagual del Marzo up to a friend’s room and sampled this wine for the first time (only available through the tasting room). It was a surprisingly light Cabernet with a touch of Sangiovese, coming in at only 12.8% alcohol; however, the fruit really came through without being jammy… very drinkable wine. It was interesting to see the drastic difference between vineyards (this was grown on Merkin East); I didn’t recognize any similarity to the Nagual del Judith. But I’m neither a wine critic nor a “wine blogger”, so I’ll stop there.

Once we polished off our own wine we were ready to hit the event. I have to admit it was quite satisfying to see our logo up on the big screen (Arizona Grape Escapes helped sponsor the premiere). But the greatest feeling was to see familiar faces around every turn, with all just letting loose and enjoying the fruits of this land’s labor! I don’t want to have any spoiler alerts, so I’ll just say that the movie was a terrific blend of the reality of the backbreaking work that goes into each drop with some good ol’ entertainment and personality. While I play a very small role in this industry, I was gushing with pride to see the accomplishments of all these friends we’ve made along the way. The film may have only featured 2 local winemakers, but it was a monumental moment for Arizona wine and I’m so lucky to have taken part.

After the screening I had a chance to meet Marshall Trimble, the official state historian who appears in the film. I love that he’s a confessed wino “I don’t know much about wine, I just really like to drink it!” And I could go on for hours about the people-watching; Scottsdale was in full force as it clashed with Tool fans. As the wine flowed, the spilling, falling, and ear-piercing voices emerged. But it was awesome to see the hard-working crew from @PageSpringsWine, @AZStronghold, and @CaduceusCellars enjoying their just desserts. Also having a chance to socialize (in person!) with @Rubee100, @RedRiverBlue, @IAmTimHardy, @eatSlow, @AZVinesandWines, @AZVineyardGuy, @PillsburyWineCo, @CiaoMari, and of course my very own @AZGrapeEscapes was a wonderful treat. Wish I could’ve taken some pictures, but alas…

I’ll leave you with one final thought: if you have any interest in wine, go see this film. I guarantee you’ll learn something and have a few laughs!