Catching Up With Kent Callaghan of Callaghan Vineyards in Elgin, Arizona
Since the first vintage in 1991, Callaghan Vineyards has gained honors from the most regarded scholars/productions on the planet: Robert Parker with Decanter, Karen Macneil, Oz Clarke, Tom Stevenson, the Wall Street Journal, Wine Spectator, and many more. Callaghan Vineyards produces rich, complex red and white wines from its 25 acre vineyard. Mediterranean and Spanish varietals - Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah and Grenache - are the essential building squares for our red mixes, while Viognier and Riesling are mixed for our bequest white wine.
Located in the rolling oak-dotted hills of southeastern Arizona, at an elevation of 4800 feet.
- Callaghan Vineyards has been honored by having its wine served at the White House three times.
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Average Bottle Price
My parents (Harold and Karen) and I planted our Buena Suerte Vineyard in May/June of 1990. Our planting happened to coincide with a vicious heat wave, one consequence of which was that Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix was shut down for a few days. Nobody had tested passenger jets at temperatures over 120F. But it was only 105F in Elgin …Needless to say, we lost a few (thousand) vines.
This experience set the stage for what would become the Callaghan M.O. – replanting – always with an eye toward grape varieties and rootstocks better suited to our arid, windy, sun-bleached region. So, over many years, we have tossed out our original Bordeaux mindset and moved to one rooted in the Mediterranean. Spanish varieties, in particular, seem best-suited to our site – Tempranillo, Monastrell, Mourvedre, Garnacha/Grenache. And we have found that one Bordeaux variety, Petit Verdot, provides us with a distinctive spicy/peppery/meaty blending component. As for white wine, we have only one now – Lisa’s – a blend of Viognier, Riesling, Marsanne, Roussanne, Malvasia Bianca, Fiano and Picpoul Blanc. The object is to produce an uncommonly nuanced white wine with great freshness and flavor "chew". With all of our wines, our primary concerns are depth of flavor and complexity. Textural considerations are secondary and best addressed by appropriate cellaring and/or food pairing.
Approximately 85%of our time is spent working in the vineyard. Any discussion with any serious wine producer in the world is always dominated by viticultural details and the weather patterns of any given vintage. Wine potential is determined in the vineyard. So our winemaking approach is decidedly simplistic –no gizmos, lots of barrels (new to four years old), aging on the lees and little racking.
From our first vintage in 1991, our wines have received accolades from the most respected wine writers & publications in the world: Robert Parker, Decanter, Karen MacNeil, Oz Clarke, Tom Stevenson, The Wall Street Journal, Wine Spectator.
-Callaghan’s Claire’s 2004, a blend of Mourvedre, Syrah and Petite Sirah, was served at President George W. Bush’s dinner for retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
-Callaghan’s 1998 Buena Suerte Cuvee, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, was served in 2000 at President Bill Clinton’s last State Dinner for the Prime Minister of India.
-Callaghan’s 1993 Buena Suerte Cuvee, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, was served in July 1996 at a White House dinner for the Democratic National Committee.
As a native from Arizona, I really appreciate visiting and experiencing vineyards from my home state. Callaghan Vineyards has been one of my favorite vineyards I've visited in Arizona! the wine was delicious and the wine was outstanding! I definitely plan on coming back.