On Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22, 2017, Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona welcomed guests for a special two-day celebration of wines from the acclaimed portfolio of the Jackson Family. Nestled in Boynton Canyon and surrounded by stunning vistas, this luxurious 70-acre resort was the perfect setting for a decadent weekend.
The festivities kicked off on Friday night with the Welcome Wine Tasting and Foods of the Season Reception at Che Ah Chi, the resort's signature restaurant, with mesmerizing views of the red rocks from its elevated perch. We gathered in The Wine Bar and snacked on delicious grazing platters such as bacon-wrapped dates, crisp lettuce boats filled with creamy burrata and sweet cherry tomatoes, and cheese and charcuterie boards accompanied by tangy vegetables harvested locally and pickled in-house.
We explored a variety of Jackson Family wines as we sipped and savored six selections from rosé to cabernet. This included the newly-released Cambria Santa Maria Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir, Hartford Court Russian River Valley Chardonnay (a magical pairing with aged cheddar!), Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon, and the elusive Cambria Clone 4 Pinot Noir.
Mingling with our group of wine-lovers were some very special guests - Master Sommelier Michael Jordan and Kendall-Jackson Executive Chef Justin Wangler. Gregarious Michael Jordan is one of only 15 people in the world to be awarded diplomas from both the Court of Master Sommeliers and the Certified Wine Educator program, and his knowledge was evident as he described the characteristics and growing region of each wine poured. Affable Chef Wangler whet our appetites as he spoke about his cooking philosophy, the menu he had planned for the next evening's wine dinner, and the organic bounty he brought from the Kendall-Jackson Estate Gardens (tip: follow master gardener Tucker Taylor's artful photos on Instagram here). We also learned that the Jackson Family has wineries all over the world including Australia, South Africa, Italy, France, Chile, and the U.S., about their core belief and focus on sustainability, and that throughout the weekend we would be treated to hard-to-find wines, including allocated wines and those only available at their tasting rooms.
On Saturday afternoon, we met again at Che Ah Chi, this time in the dining room, for Master Sommelier Jordan's Taste with the Master. His breadth of knowledge, enthusiastic teaching style, and sense of humor made soaking up 90 minutes of wine education fun and effortless.
In our blind tasting of four wines, we were taught how to identify varietals and characteristics such as acidity, tannins, and fruit level through color, aroma, taste, and mouthfeel. I learned a green hue in white wine hints of a cool growing region or a young wine, how extraction methods affect the intensity of color, to differentiate between descriptors such as baked apple, ripe yellow apple, and tart green apple, the nuances of oak with young wines ("nutmeg and clove") or older ("more cinnamon as the wine ages"), how pineapple notes and acidity identify a chardonnay from the Santa Maria Valley and more, much more.
That evening, our amazing vacation culminated with a fantastic Sonoma to Sedona Wine Dinner that began with passed appetizers perfectly paired with Cenyth Rosé of Cabernet Franc (Sonoma County). Dinner was a collaboration between Kendall-Jackson Chef Wangler and Enchantment's skilled culinary and wine team of Executive Sous Chef Lindsey Dale, Sous Chef Al-Hakin ShaBazz, Executive Pastry Chef Morgan Gurney, and Resort Sommelier Michael Robb. Follow along on our wonderful menu and wine pairings, starting with Chef Wangler's salad showcasing unique vegetables from the Kendall-Jackson garden, including a tangy succulent I fell in love with called ice lettuce or ficoïde glaciale in French.
Thank you to Enchantment and their wonderful team and the special guests from Jackson Family Wine for a truly memorable experience. Here's hoping this becomes an annual event!
I was hosted by Enchantment Resort and my experience was complimentary