As the oldest continually operating winery in Arizona, Sonoita Vineyards has had plenty of time to hone its craft. Its enduring success is partly due to its hillside location, which, although lovely for humans, is even better for grapes. Nestled on a south-facing slope, the 30 acres of vineyards are protected from much of the area's harsh weather and supplied with plenty of water by root-guarding berms. This setting has proven ideal for 10 varieties of grape vines, whose fruit becomes Sonoita Vineyards' 12 wines and whose stems and leaves go back into the soil to fertilize more grapes. These vintages include crisp, sparkling whites and an earthy blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah grapes. Perhaps the popular vintage is the cabernet sauvignon, which is so celebrated that it's been served at a presidential inauguration gala and used to christen every new vice president.
The flavor profiles of these wines come to life during staff-guided group tastings and wine flights in the tasting room. These tastings aren't the bar's only attractions: the wine-production facilities are visible from the bar, and visits during the late-summer harvest season provide a glimpse into the winemaking process as it happens. Meanwhile, an outdoor portico offers a space for picnics and views framed by mountain ranges.
Visitors to CataVinos Wine Shoppe & Tasting Room are treated to a flight of six hand-selected wines tied together by a common theme. On Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays, folks taste their way through six wines?along with cheese and crackers as palate-cleansers: each week, the wines might all hail from the same country, or they might focus on a holiday, such as "Thanksgiving Feast Wines." The themes change weekly, but the atmosphere stays the same, with visitors invariably meeting someone new as they sip their wine flights.
For customers ready to commit to a whole bottle, the shop has a full selection of reds, whites, sparkling, and dessert wines, including domestics and imports from around the world. They're modestly priced, too?hundreds of them are under $15. For special occasions or as gifts, the team packages custom-designed?wicker gift baskets, alongside goodies like chocolate, bruschetta sauce, cheese, and olives.
Enophile John Davis founded Wine Insiders 25 years ago, using his octopus-like industry connections to assemble a panel of wine experts who would seek out the best and most affordable wines. On average, his league of critics approves 5 out of every 100 bottles sampled, ensuring that only the most delicious wines get recommended to his customers. The team even offers a satisfaction guarantee: if customers aren't 100% delighted by the vinos they've selected, Wine Insiders will refund the full cost of the order, no questions asked?not even "So, you doing anything fun this weekend?" Despite its staff's legendary pickiness, Wine Insiders stocks a variety of red and white wines, including pinot noirs, pinot grigios, rieslings, and cabernet sauvignons, each joined by an informative description.
Charles Kendrick has been cooking since the 1960s, taking his fondness for traditional barbecue flavoring to the kitchen with his latest venture—Mr. K's Barbeque. Mr. K's serves a distinct style of patiently-smoked Tucson barbecue, in a market-style setting, that includes half-pound pork, beef, and chicken sandwiches in a tomato-based sauce and racks of ribs served simply in dry-rubbed tuxedos. The restaurant also offers catering packages that feature one, two, or three meats along with homemade sides.
Inside Jerry’s Cigars opulent, inviting store and lounge, rows of name-brand cigars in wooden boxes peek through glass cases as customers relax in large black easy chairs, sampling smokes and playing cards. A neon-lit Jerry’s Cigars sign and several flat-screen televisions line the high ceilings above cases stacked neatly with pipes and accessories, and a ventilation system efficiently disperses smoke clouds, preventing unexpected Gorillas in the Mist re-enactments.
Lima native Don Pedro conceives a menu of authentic Peruvian dishes, many of which are tinged with an American twist. The papa rellena starter kicks off meals with an ensemble of seasoned beef, eggs, and raisins stuffed inside a potato and festooned with a ten-gallon hat of criolla salsa ($5.99). Warmed up appetites can plunge into a lineup of entrees such as lomo saltado, an enticing union of beef, chicken or shrimp, onions, tomatoes, and french fries ($10.95–$11.95), or the seafood jalea dish, which converges in a Bermuda triangle of fried fish, shrimp, and calamari ($13.99). Glasses of sweet moscato wine ($5), bottles of XX Lager ($4), or chalices of margaritas ($5.50) accompany bites, dousing fiery flavors along temperate tongues. During dessert, the smooth aromas of algoarrobina ice cream ($4.99), made from a coffee-like syrup culled from the carob tree, filter sweetly through the dining room like the air kisses of a Liman grandmother.