Art of Wine Review
Address: 101 N Arizona 89A Sedona,Arizona 86336.
Phone Number: 877-903-9463
Tasting Hours: 11:00-8:00
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 1/28/2014
Reviewer: Becky Parr
New Years Eve was a gorgeous day in Sedona. Doing the tourist thing as part of our honeymoon, of COURSE we went wine tasting. Its what we do! Im so glad that we can now find a winery just about everywhere we go. There are nearly 70 wineries in Arizona, 11 of which are represented at Art of Wine. (Actually, I think they represent 12, but they were out of one winerys offerings.)
Online, I found a video of Scott Gisbourne, the founder of Art of Wine, talking about how people told his wife and him that they were nuts to try to open a wine tasting room with only Arizona wine. Having been there, the only nuttiness I found was a sparkling wine called Pecan Delight. Im hoping Scott and his wife had fun saying I told you so!
The Place:  Art of Wine is advantageously located in a high-traffic tourist shopping area amidst art galleries and other attractions. It was our primary destination, but Im sure they get a lot of walk-ins from those who worked up a sophisticated thirst looking at some gorgeous artwork. Its quite spacious inside, with a good-sized tasting bar and a great selection of gifts and sundries in the gift shop areas. Its an attractive space because of both tasteful merchandising displays and a selection of works by a local artist, Michael Godard. I saw some of the prettiest pieces of our entire trip right there on those walls.
The People:  Art of Wine was our second attempt at a winery that day; after discovering that the first had shut its doors, I called Art of Wine to make sure they were still around! Not only was the phone answered, but it was answered by perhaps the most cheerful phone voice Ive ever heard. It turned out to be Scott, who we met when we arrived, but not the same Scott in the online video! (Im guessing that was Dad.) And the younger Scott is every bit as cheerful in person. I think I even chastised him once, with a wink, for not having any fun at all at his job!
Scott knows his wines. The wine tasting was any six for $15, plus an added bonus of the aforementioned Pecan Delight at the end, on the house. With 25 wines to choose from, offered by 11 wineries, I was a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of choices, so I let Scott choose which wines to pour for me. He asked a few effective and pointed questions about what I liked and didnt like and got it spot on.
The Wines:  With the exception of the single sparkling wine, everything I tasted was red. I had a hard time deciding which I liked best! I really enjoyed the Toscano, from Dos Cabezas; its actually made from Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese, but to me it tasted more like a light Malbec. Scott said it drank more like a Chianti. I also liked Jerome Winerys Zinfandel; if youve read any of my reviews at all, you know Im really, really fond of Zinfandel; but Scott said this one didnt taste like Zinfandel. It really didnt it was more like a smooth Cabernet, with a really spicy nose. But I liked it anyway. Keeling-Schafers Syrah was also good, with a big nose.
We tried several wines from Sycamore Canyon, which is the winery Scott represents. He didnt push his own winery on us; he offered one taste, the Private Reserve Merlot, and then we asked to try two more because we liked the Merlot. The Merlot is aged inside a smoked barrel, and you really get the smoke taste in the wine. So we tried Olivers Choice, aptly named after the winery dog (every good pooch should have his own wine); this is a red blend, and a little lighter than what wed already tried. Steve wasnt overly fond of it, but I enjoyed it. We both really liked Sycamore Canyons Private Reserve Cabernet, which was smooth and a little spicy. We brought a bottle home and Steve says Im not allowed to drink it unless hes there to share!
Because Steve likes port, we tried the Su Vino Porto Cocoa. We werent really fans. It tasted a bit too much like a chocolate-covered cherry and overwhelmed us with sweet. The Pecan Delight sparkling from Ft. Bowie Vineyards came last, and that one was off dry; and you really do taste the pecans, along with a bit of caramel, at the end.
The Experience:  This was a good stop. Scotts hilarious and an excellent host, with the ability to pick out wines to match his patrons tastes. They do the same if you join the wine club; they learn what you like and choose wines for you accordingly. You dont just get whatever the shipment is that month. The company was nice; we chatted with another couple who really likes doing the Arizona winery tour circuit, and they recommended Page Springs Cellars, which we actually did check out, and agreed with fellow AWG reviewer Dianes positive impression.
Oh, we did purchase a bottle of House of Elgins Naughty Monkey white purely because of the name. We didnt taste it, which was very silly of us. It just begged to be purchased and given to one of Steves co-workers.
Check this place out to expand your knowledge of Arizona wines!