Caduceus Cellars – Merkin Vineyards Review
Address: 158 Main St. Jerome,Arizona 86331.
Phone Number: 928-639-9463
Tasting Hours: Sun-Thurs 11:00-6:00, Fri-Sat 11:00-8:00
Review Date: 6/10/2013
History: Caduceus Cellars is yet another venture of Maynard James Keenan. This international rock star has set out to rock the wine business; and Im sure Im not the first person to say that. Caduceus is a small production winery producing approximately 2500 cases a year, and Keenan is the owner and winemaker. Keenan researched wine-growing regions around the world to identify the varieties best suited for the high desert conditions found in the Verde Valley, Cochise County and regions in New Mexico. As a result, the winery is producing some of Arizona’s finest wines using Spanish, Italian and Rhone varieties.
Place:  The offsite tasting room is located in the old mining town of Jerome, which seems to hang precariously off the side of a cliff. The small tasting room in the beautifully renovated historic building has computerized pictures with rotating photos of the vineyards in various stages of growth. The long tasting bar was busy with customers, and Abby our hostess was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and personable. There were numerous tables to taste at as well as all sorts of t-shirts, hats, pastas, herbs, cheese plates and other memorabilia for sale.
The Wines:  My tasting partner Dave and I selected two flights. The Merkin Vineyard wines are value-priced and good quality. However, the Caduceus Cellar wines really stood out.
The 2010 Sancha, a 92% Tempranillo and 8% Granacha is a big Rioja style wine with massive tannins, ripe plum flavors and a finish of fresh garden herbs. Id give this one a few years in the cellar to soften up. The Caduceus 2010 Marzo , short for Nagual Del Marzo named after Maynards great grandfather John Marzo, is 66% Sangiovese and 34% Cabernet Sauvignon (only 96 cases produced). Ripe Bing cherry on the nose with mild tannins, soft acid, rhubarb flavors, and a lingering rose petal finish. The wine is made in a light-bodied Tuscan style and is very pleasant. And alas! A real winner is the 2011 Le Corligiane Oneste (50% Barbera and 50% Merlot) sourced from the winery’s New Mexico vineyards. The ripe berries and butterscotch on the nose jumps out on the palate with prickly spice on the tongue. The wine ends with a lingering, cedary finish. Overall, the wine is very balanced with bright fruit and integrated tannins – absolutely delicious! The 2010 Nagual de la Paciencia 100% Nebbiolo from Bonita Springs is much softer in style than most Nebbiolo originating from the Piedmonte region of Italy. The wine displays ripe cherry and tobacco flavors with notes of leather and grainy tannins.
Fees:  Wine flights consisting of five wines are $10. Cheese plates are available for $14. The Velvet Slipper Club members receive three select bottles quarterly at $120 to $250 per shipment. (the Merkin wines range from $70 to $150 per shipment). The price of the wines range from $25 to around $60.