Three days stuck in a desert. That statement has wildly differing connotations depending the circumstances. If you happen to be stranded in the remote wilderness of the Sonoran desert with no water or form of communication, it’s probably a bummer way to spend three days (and might be the last three days you spend anywhere). On the other hand, if you’re lucky enough to be “stuck” in Scottsdale loaded down with wine, surrounded by beautiful women, delicious cuisine and Spring Training baseball; it’s a different situation entirely. Fortunately for myself and my colleagues, on a recent jaunt to the Grand Canyon State, our experience definitely fell in line with the latter of those scenarios.
However, before I get too ahead of myself, let me back up a bit…
For many of our Miner supporters and fans, travelling to Napa is not a convenience they can do on a whim. This notion is not lost on us, so consequently, we introduced a program where we hit the road throughout the year and bring our delectable wines to places where our customers reside. We have a lot of loyal wine drinkers in Arizona, so Scottsdale was on our list of places to visit and springtime seemed like the ideal time to venture to the desert. So, with that in mind, we booked our trip and off we went.
Taking it upon ourselves to embrace as much as the greater-Phoenix metropolitan area had to offer in a weekend, my colleagues and I decided to fly down on a Friday to take in some of the sights and scenes. After lounging poolside and trying to avoid as much of the unrelenting Arizona sun as possible (I am a ginger after all), my cohorts and I prettied ourselves and made our way to a local Phoenix joint for dinner called Buck & Rider; which essentially is an upscale surf and turf restaurant that blends southwestern bull riding macho-ism with an urban hipster flair. I thought it was awesome for the vibe alone, but the food there is absolutely otherworldly as well. Just a quick personal factoid: I fancy myself somewhat of a barbecued rib connoisseur…so when I saw ribs on the menu as an entrée, I couldn’t resist my urges (and luckily Buck & Rider did not disappoint). I must have eaten until I thought my pants would rip from the shear stress at the seams, and then I ate some more. Furthermore, pairing my ribs with a bottle of our Miner Emily’s Cabernet Sauvignon from the wine list only added points to their favor. After waddling back up to my hotel room, it was finally time to call it a night.
Ultimately, the sole purpose and culmination of this weekend excursion was for us to host a wine dinner for a gathering of loyal Miner ambassadors on Saturday night. However, before we could commit ourselves to that, we obviously had to take in some Spring Training baseball. For those unaware, Arizona supports the preseason operations for half the teams affiliated with Major League Baseball, so if you enjoy sun, beer, and tape-measure home runs hurling through the thin desert air, there might not be a better place on earth. Ever since I was a wee little lad, I’ve always supported my hometown San Francisco Giants, so logically we caught a game at Scottsdale Stadium where the Giants are headquartered for the spring. While I was elated with where I was, the game may not have been as enjoyable for one my colleagues that was in attendance, as he is a diehard Dodgers fan (but he’s also not important and we won’t talk about him). After a back-and-forth battle between teams and a refreshing Giants victory, the time had come for us to entertain; so we made our way to the home where that evening’s dinner would be held.
The dinner was taking place in a palatial desert estate on the outskirts of Scottsdale, and after a brief bit of setup, the first of our guests started arriving. Despite a smattering of spring rain, nothing could dissuade or hamper our evening, especially when a plethora of exquisite wines and intoxicating edibles were abound. While I’m biased and think all of the Miner wines are incredible, there was no denying that we brought out the big guns for this event. Some of the standouts included a 2013 Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay that paired with duck confit served in crispy fingerling potato boats and with rosemary orange honey sauce, a 2014 Sierra Mar Pinot Noir that nuzzled up beautifully with a roasted wild mushroom soup that was also garnished with crispy bacon lardons and toasted leeks, and a sultry, provacative 2012 Petite Sirah that matched perfectly with a decadent chocolate cake tower. Of course, at the end we had to save the best for last and open some 2013 The Oracle just to drink on its own (because it’s that good). Overall, it was a fantastic night that won’t be soon forgotten, as least for me and hopefully for everybody that partook.
On Sunday, we reluctantly started packing our bags and prepared ourselves for the short trip back to Napa. The Arizona lifestyle had wasted no time in leaving an impression on us and we weren’t ready to head home. With that said, we found the time to fit in one more baseball game and a few more beers before our flight (this time we watched a Dodgers game to appease the guy that isn’t worth mentioning). By the time we were boarding our plane, we realized that in three short days we had discovered that Arizona was a place of beautiful scenery, people and culture…and we could definitely see ourselves being “stuck” here again in the near future.If you’ve read up to this point and you’re interested in joining us for a similar event in a city that we’ll be visiting in the coming months, please see our complete road itinerary below:
- Charlotte, North Carolina | April 6th
- Raleigh, North Carolina | April 7th
- Anaheim, California | April 20th
- Washington D.C. | June 7th
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | June 9th
- Santa Barbara, California | July 20th
- Austin, Texas | TBD
- Houston, Texas | TBD
- Dallas, Texas | TBD
- Denver, Colorado | August 11th
- San Diego, California | TBD
- Seattle, Washington | TBD
Chief Hat Wearer (literally), Resident Hunky Ginger and Wine Club Coordinator at Miner Family Winery, I like to surround myself with good friends and great times. I feel that wine plays a big part in that. My goal is to provide unpretentious insight on wine culture from a guy’s perspective, as well as the Napa Valley in general. I also love baseball and dogs.