esearch can be fun — especially if it involves wine! Learning about grape varieties, growing regions, winemaking techniques, wine and food pairings, and just discovering what you like are among the pleasures that increasing your wine knowledge can bring.
vintage was 1995 with Kent as the winemaker. At that time, Dos Cabezas vineyard was owned by Al and Ann Buhl. “I was young when I started – 24-ish and headstrong,” said Kent, regarding his development as a winemaker over time. “I thought I loved big, burly wine action. The equipment at the time wasn’t geared toward finesse anyway. Despite this, some As exciting as it is to explore wines from around the globe, there is something special about finding one you love right in your of my favorite wines come from the period before 2003, when I bought a state-of-the-art destemmer and a reasonably good own backyard. Living in Phoenix in the 1990s and having already press.” found favorites from other parts of the world, I would perennially Besides the early critical notice, other engage in a search for an enjoyable wine (for high points in the winery’s history my palate) made in Arizona. In 1998, a trusted include occasions when the White wine guide, who had previously introduced me House served Callaghan wines. Today, to some stellar wines, suggested that I try Kent continues to make his wines a selection from Dos Cabezas WineWorks. in his Sonoita/Elgin winery, and his In one sense, my search was over — I had ongoing wine research has certainly finally found an Arizona wine that I truly shaped his style over the years. loved. But in another sense, my search Simply put, “tasting a ton was just beginning. of wine” has influenced Kent’s Being a drinker primarily of oldwinemaking philosophy. “I’ve world wines, I never thought much about noticed that deep color is researching the winemaker. I focused prejudicial – that deeply colored on region, year, blend, and the winery wines rarely deliver the ‘goods,’ name or brand. In the rare case that I ” he explained. “They can be was aware of the name of a winemaker, pent up, much like a monster it only registered as some French, bodybuilder who can’t articulate Spanish or Italian name that I would not his strength. So I don’t try to attempt to pronounce. With this Arizona extract during fermentation. I favor wine, I remembered the brand — Dos fewer punchdowns, particularly late in Cabezas — but did not know the identity the ferment. I love beautiful wines now, not of the winemaker. Years later, I moved to tannic, impressive monsters. On the flip side, I’m within a 30-minute drive of the Cochise County still unimpressed by weak, watery wines picked vineyards that produced those wines. On yet another early for ‘finesse.’ ” tangent of my own wine research I met the man who Drinking a wide variety of wines can open a made those earliest Dos Cabezas wines: Kent Callaghan of door to understanding the location, the vintage, the Callaghan Vineyards. fruit, yeast, and methods of production involved in a In 1979, Dr. Gordon Dutt (founder and original winemaker particular bottle. A wine drinker may also notice that he at Sonoita Vineyards) and his partners planted the first is starting to understand the people themselves who commercial wine grape vineyards in Arizona. That same year, work in the vineyards and wineries. He may even want Kent’s parents purchased a home in Sonoita, Ariz. Kent’s father, to become one of them. Harold, learned to make wine at home in the late 1980s and Kent notes that there is a positive trend of new convinced his son to help with a new vineyard and winery people – focused on quality – investing venture. Around this same time, the Callaghan family in Arizona vineyards and wineries today. opened a restaurant and Kent began choosing These growers and winemakers the wines for the wine list. This new phase in his are working to test the viability of life would require some serious wine research. interesting grape varieties in Arizona, Early on, Kent’s winemaking was noticed by and to expand the acreage of grapes that wine writers and critics. Starting in 1994, Robert Parker / The Wine have been shown to produce high quality wine in this state. Advocate favorably reviewed many of Callaghan Vineyards’ wines For those interested in becoming winemakers, Kent’s with ratings from 90-94 points. The first Dos Cabezas WineWorks AZWINE lifestyle . com
# Wine Research Is Fun