Callaghan Vineyards

Callaghan Vineyards

It was a blustery day in Sonoita, Arizona, with a wind that rattled windows and frightened cats. A perfect day to do some wine tasting at Callaghan Vineyards.

Callaghan outdoorsCallaghan Vineyards is centrally located along the main road that goes through the small town of Sonoita. We found the winery to be very well laid out to entertain large groups of wine lovers during the peak wine tasting season. There was plenty of parking, with a large outdoor space with covered and open seating, perfect for a big release party. The covered area was full of tables and chairs stowed away, ready for deployment. We could see propane heater towers stored away for evening events. They even painted a  colorful mural on the wall of their production building. We were in a festive mood even before we entered the tasting room!

Callaghan tablesWe entered the tasting room and were immediately welcomed by wine guides Lisa and Megan. The tasting room was a visual smorgasbord, with curio cabinets full of wine bottles and other interesting objects, colorful chairs and shiny tables, and even bright centerpieces on each table.  Blue floor to ceiling curtains separated the tasting area from the production area and helped mute echoes. We chose a table that comfortably seated the five of us and got ourselves settled. Lisa and Megan told us a bit about the winery, its history, and it wines. We learned that there were tasting flights available featuring white, rosé,  or red wines, with a reserve tasting also available.  Since there were five of us tasting, we were easily able to cover their entire tasting list. After a bit of back and forth discussion, we were able to determine who would be trying each of the flights.

Callaghan bottlesIt was time for the tasting! I chose the Reserve tasting, which started with their 2019 Padres, an estate blend of 41% Tempranillo, 26% Graciano, 26% Petit Verdot, and 17% Grenache, all estate grown. Talk about starting off with a bang! This immediately jumped onto our “Take Home” list. Leading with aromas of leather, there were wonderful layers of dark fruit (especially blackberries) and tobacco and a delightful lingering finish. Judi sipped their 2021 Love Muffin White from the White flight and she loved bright lemon nose and the dancing notes of grapefruit and mango across the tongue. She then tasted the 2021 Petit Manseng, a French varietal that is now Arizona’s “alternative to Chardonnay.” It was a party on the palate, with peach and pear notes jubilantly dancing.

I next tried their 2019 Caitlins, named after the owners’ daughter. An estate blend of 55% Petit Verdot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, I found a lush rose petal aroma introducing flavors of pitted fruit and finishing crisply with leather and plum. Their 2018 Petit Verdot was next for me. This had a very stealthy nose and flavors of spice and plum leading to a ghost of a finish. A fun wine that could pair with almost any meal! My tasting wrapped up with their 2015 Amor Fati White Dessert Wine. A lovely way to complete a tasting flight, this 100% Malvasia Bianca was smooth and supple and just might cure the common cold. Everyone at the table loved it.

Then it was time to head out into the bluster again. We thanked Lisa and Megan for their time and attention, paid for our Take Home wines and headed out to our next tasting. Thank you Callaghan Vineyards!
Callaghan vineyards

About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?

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