Over by the tracks: Flying Leap Vineyards in Willcox
Moving right along with all the “leaping” happening in the world of wine, we’ve had Stag’s Leap, then Frog’s Leap, later appears Javelina Leap and now along comes Flying Leap. Today (even more than ever) all that leaping could drive one to drink! But no biggie, with tasting rooms in Elgin, Willcox, Bisbee, Tubac, and Tucson, driving is really the best way to sample this latest of the leaping creations. Let’s take a look at their Willcox attraction.
The glass door adoring Flying Leap Vineyards’ Willcox tasting room welcomes oenophile visitors. Stopping to look back out on the street after closing the door behind you reinforces the reality of the laid-back style that is Southeastern Arizona. Small town and a quiet atmosphere, what better way to taste wine?
Over the past several years, tasting rooms have been steadily adding their welcome presence to Willcox’s “Railroad Park” shopping area. There is enough going on in this prime example of old Arizona to make a day’s visit entertaining and historical. Traffic jams? Don’t count on it, but you may spot a few crazy vehicles as you cross the street!
Willcox has many historic buildings and taking the extra effort to preserve portions of the older structures is a good thing. Flying Leap’s tasting room features an art gallery section with the original wood floor still intact. Be sure to ask the staff about the history of this room. After all, it was the Wild West.
For those of us who tire of standing around tasting bars all day, Flying Leap’s sitting area is a welcome sight. Take your glass back to a cushy chair, then admire wine, art, and fresh flowers, nice. Just yell back at the counter for the next selection in your flight when ready!
One of their tasting favorites is simply called “Graciano” and is a perfect Arizona rendition of a Spanish Rioja red wine. With a reasonably full mouth of dark berries and a finish reminiscent of the original Spanish classic, this will be one of their specialties to keep an eye on as their vineyards mature in future vintages. These are among the best red wines to have around when you “just can’t decide” what to serve with hearty meals.
Having cooperative efforts between winegrowers is quite common in Willcox. Flying Leap makes Canelo Hills’ wines available for tasting and sale. The same thing goes on in reverse across the tracks in the Canelo Hills tasting room. This is good news for those wanting to do Willcox from Phoenix in a single day. About 3 hours out, 4 hours to taste/eat, and 3 hours back; it’s possible, hectic, but it can be done.
Time to head out, that was great. Say adios to Flying Leap and head down the sidewalk in search of good vittles. There’s not a lot to pick from, but Willcox’s dining options are a lot more plentiful than they were just a few years ago. Mexican food is your best bet.
Note: Flying Leap’s tasting room in Willcox is open Thurs – Sun 12-6. You can call their tasting room (520-384-6030) to confirm.