From now until we publish the 2016 edition of Best of Phoenix, New Times is naming 100 Tastemakers — members of our local culinary community who help shape the way we eat, drink, and think about food in Phoenix. Some you'll know, and for others, it'll be a first introduction, but each person on our list deserves a nod for helping make our city so delicious. Oh, and while you're here, be sure to check out our list of 100 Creatives.
Up next, one of the pioneers in Arizona winemaking.
93. Eric Glomski of Page Spring Cellars
As the man behind not one, but three of the state's most recognizable wine labels, Eric Glomski is a pretty big deal when it comes to Arizona wine. You're probably most familiar his Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, the widely distributed label he co-founded in 2006, but Glomski is also the founder and Director of Winemaking at the boutique winery Page Spring Cellars, as well as the brains behind Provisioner, a label which offers the first Arizona wines under $10.
Born in Illinois and raised in Boston, Glomski moved to Arizona in 1988 to study ecology at Prescott College. His studies introduced him to viticulture, and when he fell in love with the "liquid landscape" of Northern Arizona, he realized wine was the perfect vehicle to express agriculture, history, community, and place. He moved to California and worked as co-wine maker at David Bruce Winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains, eventually returning to Northern Arizona in 2001, during which time he served as chief winemaker at Echo Canyon Winery.
He purchased the land for Page Spring Cellars — a winemaking estate along the Oak Creek — in 2004 and oversaw daily operations of the organization's farming and served as head winemaker for many years. In 2006, he co-founded Arizona Stronghold Vineyards with the goal to bring more affordable Arizona wines to consumers and in 2013, he launched the annual Tilted Earth Festival, a two-day celebration of craft drink, food, art, and music in the Verde Valley. Just last year, Glomski introduced his newest and most affordable label, Provisioner, which offers the first Arizona made wines under $10 a bottle.
Today, he dishes on the most memorable wine he's ever tasted and why Arizona wine is going to take over the world.
My go to place for food and drink in Phoenix is…well…I am old school and know that there are all kinds of new and exciting places that have opened or are opening in the Valley (I enjoyed the amazing drinks but not the noise levels at the Ostrich recently, Okra and the Smokehaus are both killer comfort scenes, and I will never pass up a good pie the likes of which Craft 64 is sliding), but I still feel you can’t beat the raw creativity, atmosphere, and chartreuse-laden cocktails of Kazmierz (and Counter Intuitive). Peter Kasperski is the man. After, and before it all, Cartel Coffee is my savior…
The best kept secret in Arizona is — there are SOOOO many! Have you been to Clever Koi? Jared Porter is one of the most creative guys I know. I love the format, the constant change, the introduction of new ingredients and flavors – and the cocktails are also killer!
Arizona wine is going to take over the world because no one sees us coming, and we are actually producing classy, cool climate wines. Yes, cool climate. I have vineyards as high as 5,400 feet and many of my colleagues are growing above 4,000 feet. We have warm days but VERY cool nights. Give it all a little time. It will happen. (And don’t forget the PROVISIONER!!)
The most unique wine I've ever made was...my stickler step-father would give you a hard time for modifying unique. It’s either unique or it’s not. Not "most" unique – unless, of course you are calling something “wicked” unique, which is acceptable because he’s from Boston. This is hard one…I can’t tell you how many wines I have made in the last 20 years of my career. If I had to nail one, maybe it would be the “Pergola Riesling” from 2010. Back when we still co-owned the historic Arizona Stronghold Vineyard (previously Dos Cabezas) we harvested Riesling from some of the oldest vines in the vineyard, and we dried them on top of a pergola that covered the end of our winery bocce court. We then pressed the yellow raisins to make the most concentrated, deep, and effusively aromatic dessert wine I have ever tasted. My only regret is that I didn’t stash more away and now it is all gone. The most memorable wine I have ever had was with my good friend Corey Turnbull of Arizona Stronghold and Burning Tree Cellars. It was a 1989 Chateau Angelus. The two of us literally took hours and hours drinking this one bottle. We marveled at the complexity, the balance, the color, the way the wine changed in our glass and was so seamless. It was truly amazing. Corey and I both have a serious love for good wine and this one changed us. (The bottle still sits in a small shrine on the window in my kitchen among other empty bottles such as Latour, Petrus, Mouton Rothchild, and La Landonne — but none are its equal.)
My favorite place to getaway in Arizona is... again…there are so many! It was my 48th birthday this past weekend, and my wife and I hiked up the inner basin of the San Francisco Peaks. It was windy and the Aspens (still leafless in mid-May) swung back and forth as much as ten feet at the top. It was amazingly beautiful and almost dizzying. We love to hide out in Prescott and stay at old hotels like the Hassyampa or the haunted Vendome. Kayaking in Watson Lake and walking the rocky trails in the Dells brings back so many memories (I went to Prescott College back in the late 80’s and early 90’s). Finally, Portal (and our Colibri Vineyard) in the Chiricahua’s is the place I find peace. We have a small historic home there surrounded by national forest that is tucked miles back into a canyon. Black bear, wild turkeys, coati, and more hummingbirds than you can possibly imagine make us feel like the ones who are outsiders. It is a wild place where humans do not dominate. Arizona is truly amazing ,and we are lucky to call this part of the planet home.
The 2016 Tastemakers so far:
100. Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis and Phoenix Public Market Cafe
99. Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
98. Debby Wolvos of DW Photography
97. Anibal and Salem Beyene of Café Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant
96. Bo Mostow of Uptown Farmers Market
95. Julian Wright of Pedal Haus Brewery
94. Stephen Jones of The Larder + The Delta
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