Sometimes, when it comes to wine, we might need a little hand holding.
Wine is one of those things that is different things to different people, depending who you ask. For some, it’s a passionate hobby. For others, it’s a lifestyle. And for some, it’s just a beverage. (A really extra-enjoyable beverage.)
If you’ve ever visited a real wine bar, typically the bartenders are well-versed in what they’re pouring, as well as able to suggest the right wine, or wines, based on your preference and palate.
At Arizona Wine Collective, it’s no different. But there really isn’t anywhere else in Tucson to get that kind of attentive, personalized experience that many seek and need. This is especially true – and much needed – when exploring the three dominant regions of Arizona wine country.
Two things that Arizona Wine Collective offer on a regular basis stand out for the ways in which they introduce people to the region’s vino: guided wine tastings and the Arizona Wine Challenge.
The main focus of AWC is on introducing folks to a wide range of Arizona wine and wine makers. Wine you would never get to taste unless you made the trek to wine country to visit the individual wineries. Every day they offer 15 – 20 different wines on their menu. For $12, you can opt for any five wines on the tasting menu. While some might call this a flight, it’s really not – typically a flight is more curated. In this case, the selection is up to you. But, don’t fret, the staff at AWC is more than happy to be your guide on this journey. And all of the wines are available by the glass or bottle, too. So, if you find one you love, you can take it home.
Some of the wineries you’ll often find on the menu include Callaghan Vineyards, Golden Rule, Dos Cabezas, Page Springs Cellars, Pillsbury, Rune, and many more. But if you have a favorite (or think you have a favorite) and haven’t had a chance to fully explore Arizona wine country, go with an open mind as you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you taste.
AWC periodically offers a unique and fun format for learning how Arizona wine stands up to the competition: the Arizona Wine Challenge.
Here’s how it works. For $10, three wines of a single varietal are served in a blind tasting format. Two of the wines are from well-known regions, like Spain, France, or Northern California, while the third is an Arizona version of the varietal. The object is to choose which is which, a challenging exercise, especially if you have a preconceived notion about Arizona wine. Guests frequently assume their least favorite is the Arizona wine, when most often, they’re wrong.
“Blind tasting is always a fun thing to do, but our Arizona Wine Challenge has a purpose,” said owner Pete Snell. “It’s a great way to demonstrate how well Arizona wine stands up against the more established wine making regions of the world. Part of the challenge also is picking a favorite wine before the answers are revealed and Arizona wins a majority of the time, which surprises a lot of people.”
Arizona Wine Collective is located at 4280 N. Campbell #155 at St. Philips Plaza. Hours begin at 2 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and at noon on Saturday and Sunday. Closing hours are 8 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 p.m. Thursday; and 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit azwinecollective.com.
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