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 and Riesling that will soon include Marsanne, Roussanne, Malvasia Bianca and Gruner Veltliner. 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.