Wine Tour Cornville: Oak Creek Vineyards
As more vineyards become established in the Verde Valley, the practicality of devoting an entire day exclusively to tasting wine at actual estate wineries is here. Just pick from the wide variety of hotels in the Verde Valley to spend the night and taste wine from 10am to 6pm!
It’s an easy route. Just off Interstate 10 at exit 287 in the Verde Valley, follow the map to North Page Springs Road and there are 3 wineries located within about a mile of each other. The “middle one” of these is Oak Creek Vineyards. Their inviting sign, hillside vineyards and tasting room beckons any wine lover to stop in.
Tucked away out of view of the red rocks of Sedona, the west side of the Verde Valley is not as frequently visited by tourists, and the quiet countryside adds to the appeal. This reminds visitors of scenes in parts of the big California wine country areas back in the 1960’s. However, the wines are quite up to date and offer an excellent variety of flavors.
One of their best whites is a Chardonnay. It has interesting earth tones in addition to the bouquet of green apples typical of Chardonnays. The well balanced acid is very similar to the in-vogue style of un-oaked Chardonnays. This wine will show off elegantly by pairing with Salmon, Crab Legs, or Salads sprinkled with blue cheese.
The Viognier doesn’t have the honey scents that are so typical of this varietal, but the presence of damp earth, and what is generally regarded as “olive oil”, really brings out a distinctive Verde Valley flavor. The acid and alcohol of this wine are surprisingly well-balanced resulting in one that will pair well with roast chicken or lightly spiced pork dishes.
One the red side, the “Sedona Woman” is an excellent Zinfandel with a nice earthy component, dark berries, soft tannins, and a jammy finish. They sell out of this selection, so if you want one, be sure to take it along. Once again, Arizona creates its own Zinfandel.
Oak Creek even sells a Zinfandel port wine. It is very interesting with a combination of floral and ripe cherries in the bouquet. The finish starts with blueberries and ends with a hint of those olive oil characteristics. The smooth balance of sweetness and earthiness makes it a perfect after-dinner treat.
Allow plenty of time to taste their wines and pull up a chair out on the porch. The countryside is all one could expect of the Verde Valley and the daily high temps are 10-15 degrees lower than Phoenix!
Article by Tom Peiffer, Phoenix Wine Shopping Examiner at Examiner.com
View more of Tom’s articles on Examiner.com by visiting his writer’s page.