Tool frontman opens wine bar in Old Town Scottsdale

Maynard James Keenan, owner of Merkin Vineyards wine bar in Old Town Scottsdale. (Submitted photo)

From the farms, fields, pastures, vines and trees of Arizona, comes the newly opened Merkin Vineyards wine bar in Old Town Scottsdale.

The farm-to-table, vine-to-glass concept only serves and pours what can be grown and produced in the state, primarily by Merkin Vineyards owner and head winemaker Maynard James Keenan and his team in the Verde Valley, according to a press release.

Mr. Keenan oversees 110 acres of vines in northern and southern Arizona for Caduceus Cellars, Merkin Vineyards and his new Puscifer-branded canned bubbly wine, all of which are for sale at the new Scottsdale location.

Mr. Keenan, who is also a Grammy award-winning vocalist for bands Tool, A Perfect Circle and Puscifer, said the new wine bar is meant to educate guests about the robust Arizona wine industry.

“In order to truly understand Arizona wines, we feel it is essential to visit these magical regions and experience them firsthand,” Mr. Keenan said in a prepared statement. “However, not every visitor to the greater Phoenix area has the extra time to visit these semi-remote areas. The Merkin Vineyards location in Old Town Scottsdale is meant to be an introduction to that magic.”

Executive Chef Dirk Flanigan curated a vegetable-driven tapas menu that will be largely influenced by what’s growing at the Merkin Vineyards Greenhouses, Gardens and Orchards by Mr. Keenan’s father, Mike, and Randee Larremore.

A sample of the current menu includes beet “tartare,” vindaloo-spiced cauliflower, a crisp Berkshire pork belly served with smoked ricotta and a Verde Valley salad with butternut squash, pickled chilies, toasted grains and seeds, and cheese and charcuterie plates offer sharable bites.

The storefront has a revolving supply of sundries from the Merkin farms, including olives, apple butter and jam as well as house-made gelati and sorbetti inspired by seasonal ingredients.

Whether on-tap, in a can, or from the bottle, the high-elevation wines served at Merkin are produced by Mr. Keenan, his wife, Jennifer, and winemaker Tim White, the press release stated. The wine bar also serves beers by Arizona craft breweries Helton and 1912 on tap and will feature a different Arizona Vignerons Alliance member’s wine monthly in its storefront.

The 1,600 square-foot wine bar is at 7133 E. Stetson Drive, suite 4.

The wine bar is open Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
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