By Meghan Sepulveda, Special for wranglernews.com
If you’ve ever visited Napa Valley, which is among California’s premier tourist destinations, you can appreciate fine wine. From merlot and cabernet sauvignon to chardonnay and rosé, California Wine Country made its name.
But traveling 800 miles to get there may not be in the cards. Instead, you can experience world-class wine, along with contemporary cuisine, a Napa Valley-style tasting room and retail market in your West Chandler backyard at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants.
Founded in 2005 in Orland Park, Ill., by Tim McEnery, Cooper’s Hawk was inspired by his approach to exploring and appreciating wine. Guests are encouraged to sip, learn, dine and share in well-appointed tasting rooms and meticulously designed restaurant spaces.
There are 47 Cooper’s Hawks across the country, including two in Arizona: one in West Chandler, which opened last September at 3325 W. Chandler Blvd. near Chandler Fashion Center, and one in Scottsdale. A third is set to open in Gilbert this year.
The Cooper’s Hawk wine collection, comprising 72 varietals, is designed for all palates.
“Our goal is to make wine approachable to a novice or expert drinker,” said Kelsey Vargo, general manager of Cooper’s Hawk.
Featuring the finest grapes from around the globe that are grown and harvested in both New World and Old World regions — including Italy, France, California, Chile, New Zealand and Australia — the winemaking team works closely with growers, nurturing the fruit for each wine according to individual needs.
Not sure what to try from the dizzying array? The Tasting Room is a great place to start. Select from dozens of traditional reds, whites and sparkling, as well as sangrias and hard seltzers. One of Cooper’s Hawk’s highly trained staff will offer suggestions based on your preferences and guide you through your wine journey.
You might go for the wine, but you’ll stay for the food. A comprehensive menu features a variety of shareable appetizers, such as chicken pot stickers and Asian pork-belly tostadas, along with flavorful soups and crisp salads.
“One of the most popular items on the menu is the crispy Brussels sprouts with cashews, mint, sweet Thai chili and a sesame-siracha aioli,” Vargo said.
Main courses include savory pastas and risottos, mouthwatering burgers, steaks, pork chop chicken and fresh seafood. A Life Balance menu is ideal for those looking for mindful portions (dishes that are 600 calories or less) and gluten-free options are available.
Every item on the menu includes a wine recommendation.
“Instead of pairing wine with food, we do the opposite,” Vargo said. “We select the wine first and then source ingredients. The wine is the star of the show.”
Specialty cocktails, martinis, beer and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages also available.
Kids are welcome and can choose from filet medallions, spaghetti and house-made meatballs, soy ginger glazed Atlantic salmon, or flatbread cheese pizza.
Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy dessert classics, such as key lime pie, flourless chocolate torte and salted caramel crème brûlée.
An outdoor patio is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations for the dining room are strongly recommended.
Like any winery in Napa, Cooper’s Hawk features a market, filled with unique gifts and merchandise for the wine lovers in your life.
You can join a wine club for $21.99 a month for one bottle or $41.99 a month for two bottles. Members get 10 percent off carryout and 10 to 20 percent off additional bottles purchased in the Tasting Room. Members have access to special wine-club dinners and events, and can join unforgettable trips to wine destinations across the US, Europe and Australia.
More information: chwinery.com.