Arizona Wines At Their Best
Wine Tip Wednesday
LDV Winery’s award-winning wines are a direct reflection of the unique high altitude terroir in the Chiricahua Mountain foothills in southeastern Arizona. Our monthly blog From Vineyard to Table shares how we celebrate the spirit of place through LDV’s sustainable practices, entertaining approach, food & wine pairings (including original recipes), and winemaking techniques. Wine Tip Wednesday provides you with easy to apply tips to expand your wine and food enjoyment that we have been employing for years. Share your wine tips with us!

August 31 to September 07: Charcuterie Pairings

Sometimes we just want to nibble instead of cook a full meal and a charcuterie platter with a great bottle of wine fits the bill. Here are some perfect charcuterie pairings to consider.

Viognier or Dry Riesling pairs with triple cream cow’s milk brie, aged gouda, mortadella, prosciutto, and almonds. Sliced apples for dipping into the brie or dried apricots work perfect.

Sparkling Wine can be a bit trickier. Crusty artisan bread, grainy mustard, and dry-cured salami. Add some goat’s milk cheese and something a bit salty like green olives, capers, or prosciutto. Grenache or Pinot Noir can pair with bolder flavors such as a pate, spicy Coppa salami, or hardier cheeses like Manchego.

  Wine Tip Wednesday

Syrah and Petite Sirah can handle a full range of cheeses and meats. 10-year or more aged parmesan cheese and Italian gorgonzola cheese pair beautifully. Liver pate, aged goat’s milk cheese, and spicy salami with rich fig preserve on hearty breads make a perfect meal. And don’t forget dark chocolate to round things out.


August 24 to August 31: When to Harvest?

If the grapes look like they should be in the grocery store, they are still a few weeks from harvest. When the grapes are ready to pick the skins begin to dimple, the berries lose water, and sugars become concentrated. The stems turn brown and rigid. The grape seeds are also brown with a toasty, nutty taste to them.

We have been monitoring the brix or sugar levels and acidity of the grapes for weeks. Harvest usually begins late August with the Viognier grapes typically being harvested first. Sugar levels are impacted by the monsoon rains and cloudy days so testing occurs daily.

Additionally, because of the mountain weather influence, sugar tests are taken on both sides of the vine to determine accurate levels. In addition to sugar levels, acidity, and appearance, taste is the final component in the harvesting decision.
  LDV Winery


August 17 to August 24: Orange is the new red? Not!

Call us old fashioned or traditionalists but orange is not the new red at LDV Winery. There is always a new trend and this week it is orange wine. Rosé has been a popular wine of late, particularly during hot summer months. Rosé is made by processing a red grape like you would a white wine with very little contact with the skins and pulp.

Some people are calling orange wine the new rose. Orange wine is basically white grape varietals such as Pinot Gris being produced similar to red wines, i.e. letting the juice come in contact with the skins for days to weeks or even months.

This process creates wine that is full flavored with elevated tannins and higher acidity making it stand up to complex food pairings similar to a red wine.

  Wine Tip Wednesday

However, buyers beware because the color might be a bit off-putting or surprising. The color of your orange wine can range from a slight orange tinge to a deep purple. Consumers may think there is something wrong with their white wine. At LDV Winery, there are no surprises only the extraordinary rich, complex flavors of our estate red and white wines.


August 10 to August 17: 5 Tips to Get Smokin’

Nothing calls for a big, bold red wine than smoked beef brisket and baby back ribs. If you were at the winery’s August BBQ, you tasted this perfect pairing.

Here are five smokin’ tips.

1. Choose your preferred wood for the smoker. We prefer mesquite for its bold flavor and how long it will slow burn and provide smoke.

2. Pick a good seasoned rub and generously massage the rub into the meat. Place well covered meat in the refrigerator for 8-12 hours before putting it on the smoker. We have our own secret rub recipe.
  Wine Tip Wednesday

3. Create an indirect fire and bring the temperature in the smoker up to 200 degrees. Do your best to maintain the temperature there. Remember, low and slow!

4. Place the meat on the grill/smoking rack and slow cook it for 12-14 hours or more until you can pinch a tender piece of meat off with your fingers.

5. The next decision, to sauce or no sauce? That choice is up to you!


August 03 to August 10: Wine Acidity: Balance is Key

Why do I sometimes have to reach for the Rolaids after drinking wine these days? There is a growing trend toward making highly acidic, lower alcohol wines. Nothing wrong with that, but balance is the key.

Malic acid is the naturally occurring substance in wine grapes that serves as a natural preservative. A wine’s pH, the balance between acid and alkalinity, is a key component to how a wine tastes. Acid levels and pH are often heavily manipulated by the use of tartaric and citric acid in the winery.

At LDV Winery, we go to great lengths to manage acid and pH in the vineyard through soil, nutrient, and irrigation management. Our goal is to bring in grapes that are structurally balanced with the need for very little intervention to make rich, plush, and balanced wines. Curt has a favorite saying, “acid is to wine, as salt is to food - they are both necessary to bring out the best flavors, without being the flavor”.
  LDV Winery
Meter Testing pH


July 27 to August 03: The Perfect Corkscrew

We open wine bottles every day.

As a result, there are two things that are most important to us – a great wine glass and good corkscrew.

We have tried every type of wine bottle opener through the years and spent a considerable amount of money in our search for the perfect corkscrew. They all work to some extent but we have found that the dual-action corkscrew to be the most consistent and effective in removing wine corks cleanly.

Here is how to use.

1. Remove the foil using the corkscrew’s knife.

2. Position the corkscrew in the center of the cork and twist leaving
a bit of the spiral showing.

  LDV Winery

3. Place the corkscrew’s first bottle rest onto the lip of the bottle and lift up on the handle until you pull the cork halfway out. Then place the second bottle rest (hence dual-action) on the lip and pull again until almost out. Use your hand to pull the cork all the way out of the bottle.


July 20 to July 27: Loving Veggies

Cooking with the freshest ingredients at their peak should be your goal.

If you are not growing your own veggies, visit your local farmers market for the veggies that are in season. There is no excuse not to have great vegetables.

Try grilling your veggies this summer using these 3 tips.

1. Dense vegetables like potatoes may require a longer grilling time. Consider par-boiling the potatoes before grilling to shorten the time.

2. Toss vegetables with olive oil and season with your favorite spices before grilling. Don’t go light on the seasonings.
  Wine Tip Wednesday

3. Vegetables act as little flavor sponges. But be careful because some acids in a marinade can quickly break down the tissues making your veggies mushy. And don’t over-grill. While they grill, pour yourself a glass of wine and anticipate the beautiful vegetable bounty.


July 13 to July 20: Perfect Wine Picnic

Curt and I love to picnic. Part of the reason is that we both love to cook and allows us to really connect to the place we are visiting. We have had picnics in a cork field in Portugal sitting on the front of our rented car. It is that memory that has led to LDV Winery being committed to using quality cork for our wine.

Lobster salad and Champagne on Mount Lemon for my birthday about 20 years ago seems like yesterday. A park near our hotel in Palm Springs with a basketball court that made a perfect place to dance as the sun set. Or the beautiful public park in Walla Walla where we hid our Wal-Mart barbeque grill and charcoal in the bushes so we could return each evening for a picnic in the park.
  Wine Tip Wednesday

The key to a great picnic is finding the perfect place to create a lasting memory. We travel with our picnic traveling bag that includes a few knives, spices, tablecloth, wine glasses, cork screw, and roll-up cutting boards. Everything else can be purchased on location. Don’t forget music and pick some wild flowers to brighten the table. A perfect do-ahead Asparagus Rice Salad for your picnic is available at this link.


July 06 to July 13: Summer in a Wine Glass

Summertime is all about cool and refreshing drinks as you watch the sunset dip into the lake. I remember mom making whole watermelon drinks with all kinds of liquor concoctions mixed together and multiple holes in the melon for straws. That is not our idea of a summertime drink.

Wine is still a good go-to option as the temperature rises. As we shift to lighter foods or fire up the barbeque grill, there are wonderful white and red wines that are a perfect fit. Chilled lighter wines that are refreshing include Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Grenache Rose, or Sauvignon Blanc.

However, don’t forget a wonderful fruit-forward red wine with a little chill to it might be the perfect thirst quencher. But of course, if you are grilling steaks or ribs reach for the big bold flavors of a Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Zinfandel no matter what the temperature is outside.

  LDV Winery
A recent trend among younger wine drinkers are wine cocktails. Everyone has had the traditional mimosa or Sangria, but there are many other options to try. Here are some recipes from Food and Wine to try with LDV wines.


June 29 to July 06: Syrah, Sirah, Shiraz – What’s the Difference?

To many this may be confusing, so let’s clarify. Syrah and Shiraz are two ways to describe the “Syrah” grape varietal.

Typically, the term Shiraz was used for Australian Syrah wines. However, several Arizona wineries use Shiraz to identify their Syrah wines. Australians did this to differentiate the Syrah grape growing region similar to Vidalia onions or Gilroy garlic does to designate a special place of origin.

Sirah is not a grape varietal. But Petite Sirah is about 50% related to the Syrah grape genetics. However, it does not refer to a smaller version of Syrah grapes. The taste characteristics between Petite Sirah and Syrah/Shiraz wines are very different. Discover for yourself the difference by visiting the LDV Wine Gallery in Downtown Scottsdale to taste the newly released 2013 Syrah and 2012 Petite Sirah.

  LDV Winery



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