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Winter and Wine Terps: Hidden Track Bottle Shop

Downtown Phoenix is a place of wonder filled with the unexpected, as the right turn or side street can lead you to a trove of treasure tucked away from the constant movement of the city. That treasure found, is usually a gem of knowledge, indulgence, or revelry to be had with those you hold closest. Hidden Track Bottle Shop is one those gems that you show to friends, lovers, or family; as it is an atmosphere of kindness and knowledge that charms those new or familiar with our city. My time as a fine dining chef pairing wines with my menu designs, along with a hobby of crafting wines, meads, beers, and spirits with my father; led me to Hidden Track’s unique faire, only for me to be charmed with their staff who are both friendly and extremely knowledgeable. With my attention caught, I was able to delve into their mission, which is to stand out and provide amazing hand-curated products to the community. The focus of quality, and hand-sourcing the best available products are a similarity that our magazine will regularly explore in dispensaries around the valley. With the holidays approaching, the advantage of finding a good wine for a family dinner was important, and the ability to relate cannabis at the dinner table was an added bonus.

Delving deep into my research for terpenes in wine, I find first that a cultivation for cannabis and a vineyard have much in common, even in the use of similar techniques to maximize the quality of their material. For example, a vineyard of notable worth will have extensive trellis systems as well as nutrient control so the plant growth is the very best it can be, so what goes in, comes out. Regular trimming is carried out so that light can reach all areas of the emerging fruit or flower. The final result is only the beginning for a wine worth your time, as I find out more of the techniques, variables, and tricks of the trade that create the wines of great quality found at Hidden Track. I take some time with our host to further my limited knowledge of international wines, as well as take advantage of his extensive knowledge to explore the terpene profiles of his wines and beer. The aromatic nature of wine gives ways to identify terpene profiles since testing is not common practice, but study of widely available information has been found to show that terpenes form in the skin of grapes and develop further during fermentation. As the wine ages, these terpene profiles grow rich and extensive with a new spectrum of effects to enhance your wine or beer.

Hidden Track Bottle Shop

We explore these terpene profiles with a tasting, in which we asked Hidden Track owner Craig Dziadowicz to curate the wines tasted with a focus on terpene profiles of compounds like Linalool, Geraniol, and Nerolidol. Our first drink explores the terpene profile, Geraniol, as we taste a 2015 Domaine Gerard Fiou Sancerre Blanc that has a heavy scent and taste of lemongrass. Craig instructs on how to taste, with a focus on our senses, we look for clarity or bubbles to indicate any presence of gases, we smell (nose in the glass) to sniff out for any faults; similar to cannabis, a mildew smell can indicate a faulted wine, and finally the taste, which again like cannabis, the smell should match the palate. The Sancerre has the heavy scent and taste of lemongrass, but with some time, a sweet taste of pear comes through. Our next wine is chosen for a terpene profile of Nerolidol, which is often found in ginger, jasmine, and tea trees; this terpene has anti-oxidants, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties that is known widely for an occasional glass of wine to carry the benefits of.

We move on to taste a bottle of 2018 Forlorn Hope, Dragone Ramoto Pinot Gris, a copper colored wine, actually a white wine that keeps the grape skins in contact during fermentation for added benefit and color. The smell is herb, ginger, and spice; the taste carries those but also has surprise sweetness with tart rhubarb that lingers but delights as well. We are also given the opportunity to taste a Hidden Track produced Cabernet Franc, this 2017 this red wine from AZ; smells of flower, pepper, and fruit, but carries the taste of candy, peppers, as well as a medley of garden produce. The wines are excellent, and I come away with far more knowledge of wines than I started with.

HIdden Track Bottle Shop

Finally, to explore the terpene profile often found in hops, which is often directly referenced or compared to cannabis; we ask if we might try something that is heavy with Linalool aesthetics. We are transitioned to beer which we taste in a similar fashion to the wine, but we are given a side by side tasting. We are poured local Brewery Wren House Dankworth Nelson hopped Double IPA, and a Saint Archer Hazy IPA, both of which are phenomenal, the Hazy brewed to bring out the sweetness of hops taste with elements of fruit or candy. It was in sharp comparison to the Double IPA’s heavy hop taste that also had some tangerine elements with heavy malt elements.

The terpene, Linalool, with aromas of lavender, hops, and herbs, that are also known to have sedative and neuroprotective properties, are all very pronounced in taste now as I drink. I start to think about the future of beverages and how legalization will change alcohol forever. My dream to walk to Hidden Track in downtown Phoenix for a medicated six pack will be nightly, and my daydreams until then will be on how terpene profiles will affect the quality of effects in these future THC beverages. I take time to ask Hidden Track’s Owner, Craig Dziadowicz about Hidden Track Bottle Shop, the future, and how cannabis will impact the future on all markets as reforms spark innovations. I want to know about the community he serves in Phoenix. The passion and quality of his business shines with every customer taking advantage of their wine club, but also the hospitality of the excellent service at Hidden Track. This is a special place if you are looking for a gift, something special to bring for the family dinner table, or just an adventure with someone special. 

What inspired you to start Hidden Track?

We decided to start Hidden Track Bottle Shop or at least the concept of it because we were frustrated with the lack of “Bottle Shops” that were available in the Phoenix area. There really weren’t any dedicated retail shops that curated a well thought out selection of wines and could offer an educated experience to consumers. We were inspired to help create community through Vitis Vinifera.

Where does the passion for good food and drink originate?

Not sure if I would call this a “passion,” but more of a moment creator. Let me explain. People have always used food and drink to gather and share a moment. That could be a long day of work, a celebration of some sort, or just the fact that you are hungry. Whatever the reason is, food and drink goes hand and hand with a conversation or a gathering and helps create moments and memories that develop our personal timelines. Since we are going to continue to eat and drink, whatever we consume better be good because I don’t want that experience to ruin a conversation or celebration that is earmarked on my timeline!  For instance, the wines and beer we just shared. I will remember the moment and expressions you had while tasting these beverages and the conversation we segued into.

The focus on quality inventory, and sourcing great food for the Downtown Phoenix community seems challenging, what has Downtown taught you?

I have to disagree with a part of this question. I don’t believe that there is a “challenge” to “source” great food and drink Downtown. I believe there is a challenge to be authentic or independent. If everybody has the same products then our beverage/food culture is not authentic. So we work with small independent wholesalers and Imports to figure out ways to bring in unique products that are not offered by any other retailer/cafe. This is how we stand out. One of my favorite reactions when a customer comes in for the first time is when they say “Wow, I have never seen these labels before,” or “this is a really interesting selection, how did you find these?“.

As to what Downtown Phoenix has taught us. We feel that Downtown is a very small community with many different circles. Our focus on creating a footprint that represents who we are while attracting the local residents, commuters, tourists, and entertainment seekers is a constant hustle. This hustle has paid off however with our growing community of customers who are seeking the experience what we offer.

What are your thoughts on hops being closely related to cannabis?

Hops being closely related to cannabis is just another example of Mother Nature providing. Just like Vitis Vinifera and Table Grapes. They are both closely related however wine is made from Vitis Vinifera and we consume or use Table Grapes differently.

It is fascinating how plants, animals, humans evolve.

Hidden Track Bottle Shop

The appreciation for fine wine is not unlike the appreciation for quality cannabis, do you think those with a developed pallet seek out excellence for a love of quality, or the search for what excites their senses?

Both, I think your senses get excited by simply thinking about love of quality product. Quality product is like a spa day for your senses.

Where can people find you, and any thoughts for the cannabis community reading?

Our original Hidden Track Bottle Shop and Cafe location is at 111 W Monroe. In July 2019 we opened our second Hidden Track Bottle Shop location inside of Practical Art at 5070 N Central Ave.

Final thoughts for the Cannabis community: At the end of the day we are talking about two agricultural products that have been with civilization for thousands of years. The history is intriguing.

If you are looking to learn about wine we provide a laid back, unpretentious approach. We offer free tastings three days a week at our two locations.

I owe many thanks to Craig and his awesome staff who have always been friendly, ready to help, or create a special experience. Hidden Track offers a Wine Club for $25 a month that showcases different varietals from different origins, 2 curated bottles of wine, and rewards members with a 12% discount off any item in the shop. Hidden track is located in the area of 1st Avenue and Monroe at 111 W. Monroe, Phoenix, AZ 85003, with a recently opened second location in Practical Art Gallery at 5070 N Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85012. For more information stop in, visit, or call 602-566-7932

Click here for more from Adrian Ryan.

#BottleShop #December2019 #Adrian #HiddenTrack #Ryan #Terpenes #Cactus #Terps #wine #approved


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