Underdogs enjoy a soft spot in my heart.  In the wine world, overlooked varieties and regions are often overlooked because they were once considered and didn't measure up.  But it's in these nooks and crannies where hidden treasure is discovered. The aptly named Aridus Wine Company falls into this category.

Located in Wilcox, Arizona, Aridus is sourcing grapes locally, as well as from growers in new Mexico and California.  These samples were my first introduction to Arizona wines and serve as a welcome reminder that good wine is found everywhere if you are willing explore and keep and open mind.

Tasting notes of four of these wines follow, but a few quick, general remarks. These all share the same thumbprint - a beguiling texture and refreshing restraint in intensity.  They are all also very competently executed.  Whomever is at the helm in the cellar knows what's what.  Finally, they are quite attractively packaged. Any of these wines can hold their own proudly among others from California.  Definitely worth keeping an eye out for.

2016 Aridus Malvasia Bianca $36
Truth be told, malvasia isn’t my thing, but I know a well-made wine, whether it's in my wheelhouse or not. Riesling sophisticates will swoon over the petrol-dimensioned layers and cracking acidity, but all will marvel over the insane floral aspects and supple texture that dresses the round body.
2016 Aridus Rose of Mourvedre and Grenache Arizona $29
Very unusual. Iridescent color that belies it’s profile. Don’t let the delicate, translucent nose fool you. Vigorous energy awaits on the palate, which bursts with bright, full fruit that channels rich watermelon more than vinifera. And there’s that texture again, somehow creamy and supple. 

2015 Aridus Tempranillo Arizona $40
Beautiful translucent ruby color leads into a slender figure singing in baritone. Clean and direct with its polished fruit, but snugly-framed by a gently smoke-wrapped cedar cola pashmina and sweet Saharan spice. Very easy drinking and amazingly under 13% abv. Bravo.

2015 Aridus Malbec Arizona $36
What a pleasant surprise! Mercifully lacking the brutish and clumsy density of many South American renditions of this grape, this malbec is soft and supple, and much lighter in weight. It positively oozes friendliness with a long, long finish covered in toasty flavors that kiss but don’t cloy. Arizona? Really?  Fantastic.