The Phoenician’s Master Sommelier shares his six favorite health-conscious bottles (a k a “Wines with Vitamins”).
Most people don’t live at The Phoenician, but if they could, the Forbes Four-Star resort on 250 acres below Camelback Mountain would be a great choice. Inside, you would live at the highest standards, and outside the desert would regularly test your mettle.
In fact, adding to its 643 guestrooms, including the super-luxe Canyon Suites, the AAA Five-Diamond resort offers fractional ownership with The Phoenician Residences—two- and three- bedroom villas which can be booked on a nightly basis, when available.
This month, the resort’s inimitable oenophile Greg Tresner, MS, has chosen six wines that have a home in his wine cellar and, are, in addition, healthfully good for you. He calls them “Wines with Vitamins.”
Tresner joined The Phoenician staff in 1998, having worked at award-winning restaurants Café Terra Cotta in Tucson and the Flagstaff House in Boulder, Colo. Soon after coming to The Phoenician, he became the state’s first Master Sommelier. Awarded by the American Chapter of the Court of Master Sommeliers, this designation remains the highest recognition of wine, liquor and beverage service and professionalism.
Today, he selects wines for the award-winning Master List of Il Terrazzo restaurant. He contributed to the foundation of this list during his tenure at the resort’s former Mary Elaine’s restaurant. “‘Reservatrol,’ ‘flavonoids,’ ‘polyphenols,’ ‘free radicals’ and ‘vasodilators’ all seem like heady words to describe the contents of an uncomplicated low-alcoholic beverage such as a fine wine,” says Tresner, a frequent contributor to food and beverage publications and a participant in national culinary and wine events. “However, when they apply to one’s general well-being, they may help determine the direction of our wine choices.”
Including local picks, here are some wines purportedly full of nature’s “vitamins.” He notes that vintages are not necessarily factors as these wineries strive to produce wines of significant quality year after year:
• Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells, Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley, Wash.) “The 2009 has 12 percent merlot and syrah added to the blend for richness and aroma. Dry and moderately tannic when young, these qualities lend themselves to food pairings of rich meat dishes. You’ll also find tilled earth and black currants in the flavors with a moderately long finish. Great with grilled rib eye steak.”
• Arizona Stronghold, Nachise (Cochise County, Ariz.) “The 2010 blend has medium body and fresh blackberry flavors. The 47 percent syrah and 14 percent petite syrah parts of the blend are what I like in this wine, showing some game and savory notes. These hot-climate varietals also deliver some intensity of flavor. An indigenous beverage perfect with moderately spiced carne adovado.”
• Retro, Petite Sirah (Napa Valley, Calif.) “The grapes are grown near Angwin, northeast Napa Valley. The bottling I had was 2008. The wine produced is lush and teeth-staining and full of plum and blackberries. Smoky, smooth, dry and accessible, this is a wonderful accompaniment to baked beans and all-beef hot dogs.”
• Turley, Hayne Vineyard, Petite Sirah (Napa Valley, Calif.) “This 2009 is very full bodied and deeply flavored; the color extractions are visible on the wine glass. The black fruit flavors are delicious and lingering. Needs time to open up and will last many years but tastes great now. What to serve this with? Lean grilled wild grass-fed bison would be a start with charred cebollas.”
• “Le Volte” by Ornellaia (Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy) “After 30 minutes-plus of aeration, this young and fresh blended red wine shows aromas of wild bitter cherries and blackberries with leather, meat jus and sage. Medium body with accessible tannins, the finish is dry with earth, black fruit and bourbon nuances. Excellent with red sauce pastas or burgers.”
• Cade, Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, Calif.) “Deep, black cherry and creamy oak aromas spring immediately out of the glass with fresh tobacco and kirsch tones. Add medium-plus body with some chewy tannins that could use another year or two of cellaring. Although still young, this wine is very enjoyable now with lingering cherry flavors and fresh acidity that will make it compatible with chicken or turkey mild-chocolate mole dishes.”