October’s Wine Club

Your October wines are here!

Hello, Hidden Trackers –

A crisp air in the morning and fast temperature cool off at night must mean October is here! A huge thank you goes out to all our club members and regular customers. We have been open for a bit over two and a half years, and during that time you have all taken note and embraced the concept of Hidden Track Bottle Shop. We want to offer an education and experience of wine without using highly marketed brands. We offer a competitive alternative to the grocery store or national chain brands that are constantly pushed and marketed to consumers. And it seems that a local publication took note of our wine community and what we are doing. The Phoenix New Times named us “Best Wine Shop” for 2017! So we would like to name our wine community “Hands Down the Best Customers in AZ” for 2017! It’s official… Congrats and raise a glass of your favorite vino!

Before we get to this month’s wines, we have a few exciting events this week to tell you about. Hope you can join us!

This Week’s Events

GUIDED TASTING, Wednesday, Oct 116:00-8:00 PM: We have a few seats left for our guided tasting with Certified Somm Matt Lane. We will be running through exclusive wines from Torbreck Winery. Matt will share information on the terroir, varietals, estate, and philosophy of Torbreck. This tasting will also have a few Aussie inspired snacks to pair with the wine! Probably not Vegemite, though.
  • $40 per person or $35 per club member
  • $70 per couple or $60 per club member plus one
Reservation and hold with a credit card required. Cancellations within 24 hoursof the event will be charged for the full amount. Call 602.566.7932 or reply to this email to make a reservation.
ABBEY YOGA & WINE, Sunday, Oct 15, 4:30PM-7:30PMLast month’s Abbey Yoga & Wine event was so fun, we’re doing it again! Availability is limited, and we sold out last month, so sign up quickly! Tickets and details available here.
And with that…

This Month’s Wine

We have been very excited about this month’s selections for a while now. It was one of those ideas for wine club that sounded amazing – what an incredible showcase of region and style – but we didn’t think it would be possible. The production on one of the selections is very small, which usually means that the winery would have a hard time supporting the volume. Alas, we got it! And this month’s selections play off last month’s. In September we showcased two variations of Malbec, showing you how diverse a varietal can be. We’re doing the same this month with a different varietal…

Let’s talk a little about an amazing region called Ribera del Duero in Spain. This region is located in the North Central part of Spain. Ribera del Duero became a recognized DO (Denominación de Origen) in 1982, but has a much longer history of wine culture. A recent unearthing of a mosaic of Bacchus, the Roman God of agriculture, wine, and fertility, stamps a mark on the wine timeline dating back 2000 years! The main varietals grown in this region are Tempranillo, Cabernet, Merlot, and Malbec. Tempranillo of course is King, and regionally is referred to as Tinto Fino or Tinta del Pais. There is only one white varietal that is allowed to be produced and recognized in the Ribera del Duero, and that varietal is Albillo. We love Albillo, which unfortunately is very difficult to find in the US. We’re working on it, though!

One can’t talk about Ribera del Duero without talking about the most important producer of the r

egion, Vega Sicilia. Vega Sicilia was founded in 1864 and embarked on a mission to produce one of the most respected wines globally. Vega Sicilia’s Unico Gran Reserva will turn any wine collector’s head and extend their glass for a sa

mple. Vega Sicilia was extremely influential in making Ribera del Duero a DO and giving

 Rioja a run for its money as to the most prized wine region in Spain. In other words, if you come across a bottle of Vega Sicilia, please call us over for a glass. (We can order it, by the way, with the Unico running about $400/bottle…for non-wine club members, anyway!)

For October’s wines, we found a great little Bodega that has a wonderful history of its own

in Ribera del Duero. Bodegas Pradorey can be found on the north bank of the River Duero. The estate itself has a history that dates back to 1503 when Queen Isabella of Castile bought the land that includes Bodegas Pradorey for the purpose of farming and land acquisition. The winery today still generates power from a hydroelectric dam that was built on the Ribera del Duero in 1921. Pradorey has a commitment to terroir and uses its history of extensive wine agriculture to deliver varietals that showcase terroir… Coincidentally, when we visited Spain last year, we may have come across a bottle of Pardorey, which may have inspired us to pursue finding the wine in the US! Check out this pic of The Craig holding one of our prized finds in Madrid!

And October’s selections are…

Bodegas Pradorey Finca Valdelayegua Crianza

Predominately Tempranillo with less than five percent Cabernet and Merlot. This Crianza style sees 12 months in oak and three months in oak vats. It showcases a single vineyard site in the NW part of the estate called Valdelayegua. Ribera del Duero aging is as follows: Crianza = 2 years aging with minimum 12 months in oak; Riserva = 3 years of aging with minimum 12 months in oak; Gran Reserva = 5 years of aging with minimum 24 months in oak.

Bodegas Pradorey El Cuentista

This selection is 100% Tempranillo. But wait… It’s a white wine? Oh boy, this is RAD! This Tempranillo is produced using a “blanc de noir” method. This means that in production the winemaker presses the juice of a red varietal (Tempranillo, in this case) and ferments the juice without any skin contact. If there was skin contact for any extended amount of time, the pigment of the skin would give it the red color. After fermentation, this selection was aged in oak for nine months. And as Tempranillo is known as an aromatic wine, this version falls right in line with a great expression of aromatics on the nose and full body on the palate. Enjoy – just as we have on numerous occasions already.

Cheers, and see you soon!

Craig & Danielle

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September’s Wine Club

Your September wines are here!

Hello, Hidden Trackers –

September is here and your wines are pretty awesome! We are featuring a varietal that we have never featured before. So sit back, relax, and pop some corks! But first…

The Announcements

1. The holiday season is right around the corner, which means party seasonis here. If you are looking for help catering or planning your holiday party at home or at the office, please reach out to us! We offer great products and services and will put together a package that works with any budget.  In-home wine tastings, catered office lunches, client happy hours — whatever you need, we’ll take care of you!

2. We would like to thank Fred Ullrich from Fred Ullrich Fine Art Photography & Select Projects for hanging a few of his photographs in the bottle shop. It’s an honor to have them, as he has had many of his pieces displayed in galleries, museums, and even Sky Harbor Airport. Fred specializes not only in capturing amazing moments, but also in printing with different media and ink types. The pieces that we have in the shop are amazing originals and are also for sale. If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind gift or piece of art, please ask about the photos in his collection and pricing. Or you can visit his website to view his gallery albums.

3. Our Yoga and Wine event is back! And availability is very limited. Many of you joined us last year for yoga and wine on our building’s 19th floor. Now that the 19th floor has been rented, how can we top that location? Well, this Sunday, Sept. 17th, we’ll be downward doggin’ at The Monroe Abbey! Join us to take in the beauty of the building and all that has been preserved of its structure after a devastating fire in 1984. This historic Abbey dates back to 1903 and has been an iconic building in Phoenix ever since. Former Mayor of Phoenix & Attorney General of Arizona Terry Goddard and a group of amazing people came together to save this building from demolition. Their vision is to revive the property and reactivate the block. Trust us, this will be one of the coolest places to find your zen! Don’t wait to purchase your tickets – only 40 spots available!

And with that…

The Wine

But wait. Before we reveal the selections for this month, let’s chat a little about Malbec. Malbec is a varietal that has many names. This might lead one to believe that the Malbec grape has been around for a long and popular stint. Despite the current popularity of Malbec coming from Argentina over the last 80 years or so, this varietal has not always had the best luck.

The first thing to point out is that Malbec, of origin, comes from France. Yep, France – not Argentina!  We know, mind blown. Present day, over 70% of the world’s Malbec does indeed come from Argentina. Its exact origin in France is not precise, but some suggest that the current varietal that we know came from Northern Burgundy. At one point Malbec was planted throughout nearly all of France and was used primarily as a blending varietal.  It is still an approved Bordeaux varietal today (one of six – 1. Cabernet Sauvignon; 2. Merlot; 3. Petit Verdot; 4. Cabernet Franc; 5. Carmenere; and 6. Malbec).

Malbec took a slight decline in popularity the mid-1900s when many of its plantings were exchanged for more “fashionable” varietals. However, the Southwest region of France remained a stronghold for Malbec and continues to produce Malbec-forward blends. Some areas of Southwest France require that blends contain at least 70% Malbec in order to represent the region on the label.

Today the Cahors region is the King of Malbec in France. Here, the locals call Malbec by the names “Cot” or “Auxerrois.” The blends coming from this region often contain Tannat and Merlot in addition to Malbec.

All this talk about Malbec is obviously going to lead to at least one selection of Malbec for Sept. But since this is its first appearance in the club, we decided to throw TWO selections of Malbec at you – with a twist!

Both selections come from the Cahors region. In fact, both are from the same estate! That estate is Château Lagrézette, which has a mere 500 years of historical significance. Château Lagrézette was founded in the 12th century as a medieval fortress. During the 15th century, the grounds of the fortress were rebuilt into the modern day Château that stands in Cahors today. The Château was built on the “petite grèze” (the hill) overlooking the River Lot.  This led to the name “Lagrézette.” The estate curates 90 hectares of vines and sources only from this estate for its namesake wines.

And September’s selections are…

Château Lagrézette Seigneur de Grézette Malbec

Malbec the way it should be! Predominately Malbec with a bit of Merlot. Sourced from a block of 15-year-old vines that grow in clay dominated soil. Each vintage is hand harvested and uses only select fruit. Less than ten thousand cases made. Enjoy this wine with wild game, pasta with cream sauce, or BBQ.

Château Lagrézette Le Rosé de Julie Rosé

What? Rosé of Malbec? Yep…and score! We couldn’t pass up an opportunity to offer you, hands down, one of the most elegant Rosés we have ever had! Less than 2,000 cases produced, and 100% Malbec. Aromas of almonds, sunflower seeds, and rose water with hints of peaches, pears, and strawberries on the palate. Enjoy this wine with grilled meat, salad, or mild cheese.

Cheers, and see you soon!

Craig & Danielle

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August’s Wine Club

Your August wines are here!

August is humid… Yes, we’re talking about Phoenix! Gotta love AZ.

A couple of quick announcements before we start “wine talk” –

Many of you have gotten to know Liz over the past few months. She stepped in and shared her wine experience with us at the shop while simultaneously helping out a the café. She has now moved to the café on a full-time basis where she continues to use her creative touches to bring us good eats and good times to the café. She will be back at the bottle shop from time to time to guide your wine pairing needs with delectable cheese or chorizo!

As Liz moves over to focus on the café, we’re introducing a new face at the bottle shop. Her name is Rachel, and you’ll see her in the shop a few times a week (or more…we could use some more sleep!). Rachel comes from a very competitive and advanced wine retail market in Denver, CO, where there are many more shops like Hidden Track due to the state’s friendlier small business/liquor law environment. Rachel comes with a high energy and wealth of knowledge in wine. So stop in soon and say hi to Liz at the café and Rachel at the bottle shop. We are very lucky to be working with these two talented ladies!

And on to the wine…

Like the next exciting episode of Game of Thrones, it’s finally time for your next installment of Game of Wine Club. Queue the instrumental background music.

But first, let’s talk about the Rhône Valley in France. More specifically, the Southern Rhône. Even more specifically, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a little area in the southern part of the Rhône Valley that was transformed in history by the move of a pope in the 14th century from Bordeaux to the Rhône. This move brought with it an awareness of viticulture and more importantly an awareness of the quality of the surrounding vitis, which happened to be varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Marsanne to name a few. This beautiful region advanced in wine quality during its more than 70-year papal reign to a quality level that continues to influence the global wine scene to this day. All because some pope wanted a new castle!

So why are we mentioning this area?  Well, this month’s selections are Rhône style wines…that come from Paso Robles, California!  Rhône varietals happen to grow very well in many parts of Paso Robles.  Especially in the Willow Creek AVA, home to Ledge Winery from our most recent case deal. How about that Carbonic Syrah? And have you ever had a Counoise? More to come on that.

And August’s club selections are…

Richvale Wine Co. “3-Day Weekend”

Mythical illusions (or are they?) often take place, opening the fulfillment of the sun’s rays as they blanket communities of beach dwellers. Certain “beach dwellers” have been known to partake in a ritual that has been shunned upon by outsiders. This ritual is called the “Three-Day Weekend.”  Origins of the “Three-Day Weekend” are believed to have started sometime in the early 1900s with the invention of the Speedo… Which later developed into the garment of choice for the “Three-Day Weekend” by news anchor great Ron Burgundy. And so, to honor our upcoming three-day weekend, we bring you a relatively new producer called Richvale Wine Co., who created a fun red wine that is predominately Counoise. No, we didn’t just swear at you! Counoise is a red wine varietal that is predominately found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape (literally, “new castle of the Pope”), France. It is typically used as a blending varietal with other Rhône varietals and is rarely found as a dominant grape. We thought that this wine would be a great way to introduce yet another fun varietal to the many we’ve explored with you in the past. This producer, albeit “new,” has close ties with a producer that we love and have featured in the club before. Remember the Groundwork Grenache and Viognier? This month’s red wine selection is being kicked off in AZ for the first time via our Club! So please enjoy and have fun with this selection. Nobody else in AZ has this yet!

R2 Wine Company “Vin Blancs”

From the Roger Roessler Wines collection comes a prime example of a Rhône-style white blend that will leave you wondering how a white wine can be so heavy! We came across this selection and originally wanted to use it in the coldest month of the year because of how much it warmed us up! This wine is a crazy interpretation blend of Viognier, Roussane, and Marsanne. In fact, the first glass we poured this into broke because the wine was so heavy! The beauty of this wine is that although it is a monster wine, the acid still shines through, making it a great wine to knock your socks off on its own or to throw some food into the mix. We recommend a killer triple cream cheese. (Perhaps a Stepladder triple cream from Cambria, CA?) Only 438 case made of this R2 selection, with eight months of aging in neutral oak.

Great wine deserves great cheese!

Just arriving to the cheese shop inside the café is an interesting triple cream made from Jersey Cow and La Mancha Goat milk. This selection comes from one of our favorite creameries, Stepladder Creamery. The triple cream showcases a pronounced note of citrus tanginess from the goat milk blended with an elegant richness from the Jersey Cow milk. Pair it with either of your Club selections!

Cheers, and enjoy!

Craig & Danielle

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June’s Wine Club

Wine Club Members, your June wines are here!

June is here and we have plenty of dry wines to go with our wonderful “dry heat”!

Hopefully everyone enjoyed National Rosé Day on June 10th. We certainly did, and so did one particular club member who hosted a Rosé tasting to honor the day.  Check out his haul for the event!
Quick riddle for you: What has bubbles that are contained by a cage? Sparkling wine! OK, the cage is technically called a muselet. Which, by the way, always requires six twists to open. Great party trivia.And speaking of riddles, lets talk about “riddling,” a process that most people recognize via pictures of sparkling wine bottles resting at a 45-degree angle within a wood pallet. The reason for this occurrence has an interesting history. The riddling of sparkling wine was initially developed over the want to eliminate the cloudiness of unfiltered Champagne. And a method of turning a bottle upside down to collect the sediment in the neck of the bottle was accidentally developed. The process is a slow one and consists of angling the bottle at 45 degrees and frequently giving it a quarter turn to move the sediment closer to the neck of the bottle. Once the bottles have been turned for the desired amount of time, the winemaker freezes the neck of each bottle to disgorge the sediment. The winemaker then backfills the bottle and settles the sweetness level before corking and caging the cork. And voilà, we are left with wonderful sparkling wine!So enjoy some bubbles to beat the heat. Or pair with some cheese. Or just enjoy over a laugh with friends.

And June’s club selections are…

Folktale Winery & Vineyards NV Brut, CA

Since we were talking about sparkling wine, we thought we would go ahead and find some bubbles to kick off summer. Folktale is a great blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer. It is not a traditional Method Champenoise as the winemaker prefers to control the quality of the bubbles through carbonic maceration. Light and refreshing with added acidic balance from the Gewurztraminer, and only 500 cases made!

Ledge Vineyards Los Topos Diamond Dust Syrah

OK, so it’s hot out and we don’t want to drink “big” or “heavy” wines. However, we have this A/C thing that we sit in to cool off. So we went ahead and grabbed 30 cases of an only 376 cases produced killer Syrah. Ledge Vineyards comes out of Paso Robles but has a distinct uniqueness that puts this wine in a league of its own. It is a blend of 78% Syrah, 7% Grenache, 8% Mourvedre, and 7% Zinfandel. The wine was fermented using stainless steel and concrete vats before its transfer to neutral French Oak barrels for almost 20 months. The fruit comes from the west side of Paso Robles, an area that showcases softer notes with more complexity… AKA Good Stuff.

Enjoy these selections and don’t wait to ask for more. We bought the last of the Ledge Los Topos Diamond Dust Syrah!

Always enjoy your wine with cheese and your cheese with wine!

Sparkling wine (Champagne, Cava, Prosecco, Skekt) pairs great with most food, especially cheese!  Check out Hidden Track Café for some new cheese arrivals. We’ll soon receive cheese from Vintage Cheese Company out of Traver, California. It’s possible that some smoked Gouda is on its way, too!  This is a wonderful, award winning creamery specializing in traditional European style cheese.

Cheers, and enjoy!

Craig & Danielle

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May’s Wine Club

If we “May” begin with a word of thanks for your continued support of the Wine Club…

Thank you. We appreciate you, and all the fun we have searching for unique, high-quality wines to share with you. May’s selections have arrived and we are again very excited for this month’s club!

Cheers to all who came in during the Urban Wine Walk on Saturday, May 6th. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed the lines of new people who hadn’t been in the shop before. We are also very thankful for any of you who stopped by and were patient with us. Not often do we have a line out the door and through the lobby!

This month’s selections were based on a bit of history and a newer trend. In order to explain what we mean, we will need to start with a bit of history.

The Great Mosel Valley in Germany carries an amazing cultural timeline. One in which Vitis vinifera plays a major part in the development of the area.  As culture developed along the Mosel Valley, the vines grew up along the steep slopes that rise above the Mosel River. Cultivating these steep slopes was, and still is, a difficult task. However, the amazing benefits of the slate within the ground and the additional sunlight caught from the steepness of the pitch created ideal vineyard sites that would present some of the noblest wines of the world.  This combination of quality and difficulty of work would create a lighter side of measuring one’s time in the vineyards, the sundial.

The slopes along the Mosel created a perfect natural mantle for the placement of sundials. Carved directly into the stone, sundials were used to inform the community of the time. Along the Mosel, there were once hundreds of sundials, some separated by only a few hundred meters. Thus was the case in Wehlen. Wehlen became known for its amazing Rieslings and sundials that humored the community and its vineyard workers. In this part of the world, sundial mottos centered on a few themes. A couple of our favorite quotes: “Do like the sundial; count only the sunny hours!” and “Now is the time to drink.” With mottos like these, it would be hard not to smile while hiking up and down the steep vineyards.

Wehlen soon became known for one particular sundial, which happened to be placed directly across from the city and faced southwest. It was carved into stone in 1842 and would become known as The Sundial of Wehlener Sonnenhur.  The family responsible for the Wehlener Sonnenhur vineyard and sundial was the Prüm Family.  Joducus Prüm carved out the historical landmark.

So next time you have a long day at work, take a look your sundial (watch/cell phone/laptop/fitbit) and honor the motto of the Wehlener Sonnenhur — “Now is the time to drink (wine from Hidden Track).”

And May’s sections are…

S.A. Prüm Rosé of Pinot Noir

S.A. Prüm comes from the same Pruem family responsible for the Wehlener Sonnenhur.  The family has been cultivating grapes and making wine since 1156!  Best known for their amazing Riesling selections, such as the Wehlener Sonnenhur Blue Slate Kabinett (and many others), the family also offers a few additional varietal options – one being “Spatburgunder,” or Pinot Noir. And even rarer, a Rosé of Pinot Noir! Sourced from Bernkastel vineyard sites, this Rosé of Pinot Noir will showcase all the bells and whistles you’d expect from a Provence-style Rosé, but instead made with Pinot Noir. Enjoy just slightly chilled.

Château Blaignan Médoc

Not to be outdone by the Pruem family history, we went to Bordeaux and found an offering from the oldest winemaking estate in the Médoc! Developed in the 15th century, Château Blaignan produces wines that come from its estate vineyards, planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Merlot (41%), and Cabernet Franc (9%). The Château owns 85 hectares of Vitis vinifera ranging from 25-45 years of age. This vintage is made up of 55% Cab Sauv and 45% Merlot. Bonne dégustation!

Wine Club Cheese Feature:
Central Coast Creamery Goat Gouda

This month’s cheese selection is from Central Coast Creamery in Templeton, CA. It is an amazing Gouda made from 100% goat milk and aged for a minimum of five months on pine boards. A sweet caramel aroma is met with aslight nutty texture and sweet finish. We have this selection prepackaged in varying sizes or available at $24/lb. Stop by the café and say cheese!

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