12 February 2016

Arizona Joins the Pinotage Family

Arizona is the sixth* US state to be both growing and making Pinotage on a commercial basis. 

The vines are in the Dragoon Mountain Vineyard, 4300 ft above sea level,  near Willcox,  South-Eastern Arizona.

The McLoughlin family bought 320 acres of bare land in 2002 and after two years of preparation started planting vines. Pinotage was first planted in 2007, one of more than 100 varieties and clones in an experiment to see what grows best in the terroir. There are now three blocks from four  Pinotage clones.

John McLoughlin is the winemaker and the label is Jerome Winery. The first vintage of Pinotage was 2009. Jon Clements over at Pinotage US managed to get a bottle shipped to him and he reports that he found

the Jerome Winery’s 2009 to be deep ruby in color all the way to the rim.  The nose was full of red fruits with hints of plums and vanilla.  The initial pour and taste brought black cherries and tight tannins.  After a hour in the decanter this wine truly opened up with raspberries, cherries and pipe tobacco.  The once tight tannins had settled down and provided a long smooth finish that had me holding out my tongue to get the last drop out of the glass.

Jon had more luck – or persistence – than me in getting a response for info from Jerome Winery and there’s more ito read about the wine  on Jon’s site at www.pinotageus.com

Jerome Winery Pinotage is available from the tasting room in Jerome AZ, see http://cellar433.com

Thanks to Jon Clements.

*The other states are California, Oregon, Virginia, Maryland and Michigan. Pinotage wine is infrequently made in some other states by buying in California grown grapes or juice, and in some instances by using condensed juice from South Africa.

Some other US states are growing Pinotage but not as yet producing wine on a commercial basis.


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