Premier fine dining and special event venue the Wrigley Mansion (wrigleymansion.com) boasts a prestigious wine program of over 16,000 bottles. Here, CEO and wine director Jason Caballero gives his tips for building a premium collection, upcoming trends and a few of his favorites.
Do you have any advice for readers looking to start a collection?
It’s fine to look to professional wine guides and get a lot of expert opinions about what’s worth collecting, but it comes down to having faith in yourself and what you like. It’s not about how much you spend on a bottle; it’s about focusing on finding what types of wines you like and then digging deeper and exploring all the different expressions of individual wine. It’s a much stronger catharsis and feeling when you’re passionate about what you have versus spouting someone else’s opinion.
Favorite region or year?
Bordeaux’s 1982 vintage is famously considered one of the best ever, but the 1983 is truly a sleeper. Each time I’ve compared 1982 and 1983 with multiple producers, the 1983 was just in a better place. It was more fresh and expressive, and the best part is it’s not nearly as expensive as the 1982 counterparts.
What does a well-rounded collection look like?
When first building out your collection, it’s important to focus on the classics and wines that really represent the major regions or winemaking styles. That way you can discover which wines and regions you are really passionate about—what speaks to you personally, not what someone tells you to collect. Once you’ve explored the basics, you can start to build your collection around your favorite region and really explore the intricacies of what you like.
Any trends you’re seeing for 2024?
One interesting trend is a return to prominence of classic Bordeaux wines. For decades they were considered the pinnacle of winemaking, but eventually, there was a backlash—people didn’t want to drink the same wines as their parents or wanted to try new, more obscure wines. Lately there has been a bit of a reassessment and appreciation that these wines are still delicious and memorable.
What are some of your favorite local wineries?
Caduceus Cellars is doing incredible things up in Northern Arizona. And down south, I really enjoy the wines from Dos Cabezas, Rune Wines and Ken Callaghan of Callaghan Wines. And, of course, you can’t forget about Scottsdale’s own Pavle Milic of FnB restaurant and what he’s doing with his Los Milics wines.
Name your favorite wine of all time.
A 1974 Ridge Monte Bello, which was a California wine that helped blow away any misconceptions about California wines not aging to a world-class standard. Absolutely stunning and ethereal and complex. Of course, I was at the winery drinking with Paul Draper, so that’s always an important aspect of any great wine experience. Where you are, who you’re with, what you’re eating or soaking in the views, it all makes the experience more memorable.
Photography by: COURTESY OF WRIGLEY MANSION