“Caduceus,Merkin Vineyards & Arizona Stronghold Wines”
“Wines from Maynard James Keenan “
This is one of our flagship blends. It originally came out of my attempt to replace the SENSEI with grapes from a different area than Pope Valley. Of course because we’re trying to construct wines that reflect a place, that didn’t fly. I renamed the wine ANUBIS, and coincidentally it came right at the time I was transitioning to mostly Arizona fruit. This blend generally features Cab Sav, Cab Franc, and Syrah/Petite Sirah.
2.Caduceus “Dos Ladrones”
Initially this template was more about a process than it was about existing wine or region. I wasn’t sure what the brutal Northern Arizona sun would do to a white wine grape. So the initial thought was to trellis fruit trees, (apricots mainly) using a process known as Espalier. The goal would be to find the perfect balance between too much and not enough canopy/sun exposure. Combine this with the stone fruit nuances these vines will pick up from their close proximity to the fruit trees and you have DOS LADRONES (2 thieves). One vine on either side of the tree. This experiment was a stupid idea and was quickly abandoned once I sobered up. The 50-50 blend, now standard for this wine, came out of the desire to not repeat what others were already doing. Those who had access to this same fruit were already doing straight Chard or straight Malvasia. It would have felt strange to bottle the exact same juice and slap a different name on it. And so began the Dos Ladrones.
3.Caduceus “Nagual de la Naga”
1990 Sassacaia, 1990 Masseto, I’d be thrilled to live in the immense shadow of the wine from this region of my 1st love, Tuscany. She has a spell cast over me. She taunts me like the Sirens. I believe it’s the dance between the Sangiovese and the Cab Sav. The beef and cherries. This template is by far the biggest guess. When this wine was conceived, no one in this area has attempted Sangiovese that I was aware of. Therefore no physical evidence to suggest that we would be able to pull off the NAGA. The Kundalini Serpent. The Mountain Goddess. Only the educated guess based on terrior and some faith in our intuition. We now know for certain that Sangiovese does well in both Southern and Northern Arizona as evidenced by the Nagual del MARZO and KITSUNÉ. The Naga will continue to be one our flagship blends. And as of 2010 this wine is now made from 100% Arizona fruit.
My friend Todd and I had one of those Aha moments several years back. More than just an Aha. More like a revelation and glimpse at the face of “God.” 1990 Casse Basse SOLDERA RESERVA, Brunello di Montalcino. The pinnacle of our Vino Pyramid was now Sangiovese Grosso. “All others fit neatly below” as Josh Eustis’ father used to say. The KITSUNÉ, named after Todd, along with the Nagual del MARZO, is my quest for the perfect Arizona Sangiovese.
5.Caduceus “Nagal Del Marzo”
Mainly Sangiovese, this wine is a nod to my Great Grandfather “Spirito” Marzo, who grew grapes and made wine in the Northern Piemonte town known as Venaus. This site, Merkin East, is a bit of a challenge, but the results are worth it. This may be one of the only DRY FARMED vineyards in Arizona.
6.Merkin Vineyards “Chupacabra red”
Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra is a blend of 42% Petite Sirah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Syrah, and 8% Viognier sourced from California vineyards. The mind wanders: roasted beets, caramel corn, moca covered pomegranates, firm plums, black raspberries. Focused course tannins round out a medium finish.”
7.Merkin Vineyards “Chupacabra white”
Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra Blanca is a blend of 26% Sauvignon Blanc, 26% Gewürztraminer, 20% Riesling, 14% Chardonnay, 11% Chenin Blanc, and 3% Malvasia Bianca from Luna Rossa Vineyard, Luna County New Mexico. Reminiscent of grapefruit, honey dew melon, and pears on the picnic table in the yard; grass freshly cut, sprinkler running.”
8.Arizona Stronghold “Dala” Chardonnay
Sole with a Lemon Beurre Blanc, scallops wrapped with bacon on the barbecue or chicken cooked with cream and morels.
9.Arizona Stronghold “Tazi”
10.Arizona Stronghold “Nachise”
11.Arizona Stronghold “Mangus”
12.Arizona Stronghold “Dala” Cabernet Sauvignon
This elegant wine captures your senses with beautiful aromas of crushed raspberries, eucalyptus, fine cigars and red rock dust. The palate is expressive with ripe fruit, drying tannins and rich long finish.
13.Arizona Stronghold “Mandala” red