This is a continuation of my post about our April 2012 three-day tour of Southeast Arizona. On day-one, we visited the ghost towns of Pearce, Courtland, and Gleeson east of Tombstone with a short side trip to Rattlesnake Crafts & Rocks.
Then we continued south to the Slaughter Ranch east of Douglas; then north, ending the first day at Portal Peak Lodge in Portal, AZ. Here we ate in the cafe, slept in a small room, and most importantly, acquired a 25¢ map that showed the back road over the mountain.
Day-two was mostly spent in the Chiricahua National Monument along Bonita Creek and through the Wonderland of Rocks. This is where we got the picture of an elusive coati.
Around 1 PM we headed north so as to arrive by 6 PM at our overnight destination, the historic Simpson Hotel B&B in Duncan, AZ.
After lunch at Big Tex BBQ in Willcox (excellent ribs), we stopped at the Coronado Vineyards for some taste-testing. We have tried I-don’t-know-how–many Southern Arizona wines to date (2012), but unfortunately have found none to recommend.
Neither have we found a wine steward or sommelier who will recommend even one. But we thought, “What the heck, it’s on the way.”
Coronado Vineyards is just off the I-10 (exit 344) a few miles east of Willcox. To our delight, they had a great wine-tasting offer. Six different wines to sample plus the wine glass for only $7.00. Now, if the wines are any good, this could be a bonanza.
Both Ms. Karen and I like Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly with whatever we barbeque. But neither of us liked this Cab … kinda sour. Although, the RN at the bar next to us said she really liked it. You’ll have to taste it and decide for yourself.
Nevertheless, we did discover two others to our taste. One is a 2009 Syrah. Very good. This is a Rhone-style wine, slightly spicy with subtle notes of blackberry, plum, and oak.
The other was one I did not expect to like because Rose’ is generally too sweet. I much prefer the drier whites, such as Sauvignon Blanc. The best-for-the-buck come from New Zealand, such as Kim Crawford or Nobilo.
This Coronado Vineyard’s 2011 White Sangiovese has a bit of a cherry taste but is very light and will serve as a fine summer wine around the pool.
Upon leaving, we purchased 6 bottles each of the Syrah and White Sangiovese. The two no-stem wine glasses, which Ms. Karen particularly liked, were free.
Duncan, Arizona is small-town Americana. Not much happens here and, from what we could determine, that’s the way most locals want to keep it. Our main reason for coming to Duncan is that it’s close to Clifton, Morenci’, the Black Hills Country Byway, and the Gila Box.
As planned, we arrived at the Simpson Hotel B&B around 6 PM. We had experienced two adventure-filled days that also included a lot of driving. We were both tired and ready for a couple of drinks and a good night’s sleep.
We were greeted by, Deborah, our innkeeper. Beginning in 2005, she had spent 6 months demolishing all but the foundation, walls, windows, and doors, then two years of re-construction. She has faithfully restored this historic building to its 1914 origins, with modern plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning. And in the process made it cozy and comfortable.
We asked her to share a glass of wine with us and tell us about the places she thinks we should see on our next day’s tour of Greenlee and Graham Counties. Deborah is both worldly and exceedingly knowledgeable about this area, as you can see from her extensive website. Three hours later, we were still chatting when Deborah had to leave for a party and we were totally ready for bed.
We told Deborah that we intended to leave before breakfast is served in the morning. She insisted on making us a breakfast we could take with us when we leave. Now that was nice. But we do want to go back because we hear she serves a delicious, healthy breakfast.
For a quick dinner, Deborah recommended we order pizza or calzone from Humble Pie across the street and bring it back to the hotel dining room. Which we did.
Good pizza. As good as my all-time favorite pizza place, the Velvet Elvis in Patagonia.
Our room was on the main floor with a private bath … very comfortable. The Simpson is everything we could ever want in a B&B. Highly recommended.
Clifton, Morenci’, Black Hills Byway, and Roper Lake. The saga continues here...