Aridus Wines from Arizona and New Mexico

The Aridus Wine Company sources its fruit from diverse vineyards in southeastern Arizona (mostly Cochise County) and New Mexico, including their 5,200 foot high, 40 acre estate vineyard along Turkey Creek in Pearce, Arizona. Owners Scott and Joan Dahmer began planting in 2009 and opened their cellar doors in 2012.  Lisa Strid joined as winemaker in 2016. A native of Wyoming, she was introduced to winemaking in Washington State, then studied enology and viticulture at Oregon State and interned at Alexana in Oregon’s Dundee Hills and was research winemaker at E&J Gallo in California before becoming the full time winemaker at Aridus. This is our second review article of Aridus wines; the first one was published two years ago.

The Wines

Aridus 2017 Field Blend Cochise County Arizona ($28) 90  The Field Blend is an easy drinking, low alcohol white made from a blend of Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, and Malvasia Blanc from estate vineyards in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains in Pearce AZ.  With just 11.2% alcohol, it packs plenty of fresh white stone fruit and tropical flavors with good acidity and freshness. Nothing complicated here, but it’s a refreshing, easy drinking wine that would pair with a wide variety of light dishes.

Aridus 2016 Merlot Mimbres Valley New Mexico ($33) 92 Sourced from New Mexico vineyards in the Mimbres Valley, the 2016 Merlot shows the appealing character of this variety. The nose is vibrant and complex with blue and red berry scents complicated by notes of tobacco and earth. The palate follows suit with a silky texture and multiple layers of generous flavors and attractive interplay between fruit, acidity and tannins.  Matured in new French oak for 18 months before bottling.

Winemaker Lisa Strid

Aridus 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Mimbres Valley New Mexico ($47) 91 Smoky dark cassis and dark red berries show on the nose and are mirrored on the palate with complicating notes of toasty oak and chocolate shavings. The flavors are beautifully interwoven on the medium weight palate along with bright acidity. This is a wine that should age well and develop still further complexity in the bottle, but its round tannins make it perfectly fine to drink now.

Aridus 2016 Graciano Limited Production Cochise County Arizona ($37) 93  Graciano is one of our favorite Spanish grape varieties, and the Aridus Graciano offers very good typicity and quality. It has a spicy nose of red and black berries with a note of sweet American oak. It offers an expressive, generous palate with fresh dark red berries accented by notes of brown cooking spices.  Finishes with soft round tannins and lingering earth and fruit notes. Sourced from Alba Vineyards; aged 18 months in 22% American and 78% French oak barrels. Alc 14.4%

Aridus 2016 Grenache Cochise County Arizona ($40) 92  Light ruby in color, the Grenache shows strawberry, red cherry and spice on the nose. It has a very soft, lush attack and reveals wonderful purity and good depth of flavor.  Nicely balanced, it finishes with some grip and good length. I would serve this wine at wine cellar temperature and pair it with gamebirds or turkey.

Aridus 2017 Malbec Limited Production Mimbres Valley New Mexico ($36) 91   The Malbec shows a fruit forward nose of boysenberry and red berries. The palate is fruit forward, offering straightforward easy drinking with flavors of plum and black cherry and hints of dusty earth. This is a well balanced, deliciously flavored wine that finishes with round tannins and lingering sense of juicy fruit. Alc 14.5%

Aridus 2016 Syrah Limited Production Cochise County Arizona ($37) 92  The semi-opaque Syrah begins with aromas that recall ripe dark red fruit accented by hints of violets and dark cherry. It’s a bold, concentrated, rich tasting wine showing dense dark fruit, black olive and cracked pepper and lovely hints of chocolate that linger on the finish. Alcohol is fairly high (15.8%) but well integrated. Includes 17% co-fermented Viognier and matured 19 months in 100% new oak.

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