Merkin Vineyards is on a mission to celebrate the culinary greatness of Arizona–and it’s tasting room offers a delightful experience. Merkin Vineyards Old Town Scottsdale is one of four Merkin Vineyards tasting rooms throughout the state, serving Arizona-grown wines and featuring a rotating menu based on in-season ingredients.
Merkin Vineyards was founded by MJ Keenan, a Grammy award-winning vocalist for the internationally revered music acts Tool, A Perfect Circle and the multimedia cabaret troupe Puscifer.
Merkin recently hired a new executive chef, Steven Zimmerman, to help create the ever-changing menu embracing the farm-to-table concept. The fruits and vegetables featured throughout the menu are farmed by Randee Larremore and Maynard’s father, Mike Keenan, in their Verde Valley greenhouses, gardens and orchards. What they cannot grow, the culinary team at Merkin Vineyards source from local Arizona farmers.
The menu features the traditional wine bar staples of breads, meats, cheeses and other delicious small bites, but tasters will also enjoy the culinary creations within the “harvest features.” Patrons can expect the spring dishes to feature in-season produce including beet and mushroom sliders, Brussels sprouts with bacon, and shishito peppers. The winery also features seasonal desserts including house gelatis, sorbets and warm squash blondies.
As for the wines, Merkin Vineyards carries high-elevation wines of Italian and Spanish varieties, the vast majority of which are produced from fruit grown on their Vineyard in Willcox. Keenan founded Merkin (and sister Caduceus Cellars) alongside his wife Jennifer and winemaker, Tim White, and today they produce roughly 8,000 cases per year.
The Old Town tasting room will undergo a kitchen renovation enabling the culinary team to expand the menu with pizzas, pastas and more creations that continue to highlight Arizona’s growing wine and food scene.
Merkin Vineyards Old Town is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Visit www.merkinoldtownscottsdale.com to check out the current menu.