Posts Tagged ‘Colorado Urban Winefest’

One last wrap on the Colorado Urban Winefest

DENVER – Gee, I survived almost too-much-fun Friday night at Row 14, waded through the 1,500 or so wine enthusiasts that kindly showed up for the third annual Colorado Urban Winefest on Saturday (where I paired a grilled PBJ with smoked bacon on whole wheat with a Boulder Creek 2010 Cabernet Franc) and then took a serious stumble Monday when I screwed up misstated the facts in my column for my real job at the The Daily Sentinel.

Arrgghh, as pirates would say.

I got confused, or distracted, or just simply wasn’t being mindful. Fortunately, you don’t have to see the crash, although there are a few readers in Grand Junction and elsewhere who this morning are mightily surprised to find out several winemakers have moved to new digs, courtesy of my writing.

So, ugh, let’s move on, shall we?

Overall, Colorado Urban Winefest continues to improve with age, not unlike the Colorado wine industry itself. Final attendance numbers for Saturday’s third annual Colorado Urban Winefest presented by Westminster Total Beverage came out Monday and indicated around 1,500 wine enthusiasts  showed up Saturday at Infinity Park in Glendale.

When I spied  Kyle Schlachter of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board schlepping a bit of lunch through Saturday’s crowd, he mentioned strong last-minute tickets sales and healthy walk-up traffic as contributing to the pleasant turn-out.

“I’m really happy with the turnout ,” said Cassidee Schull, director of the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology and it seems everyone else was, also.  It’s also likely the temperate weather (unlike 2012 when the thermometer was topping out at around 102) – Saturday’s mix of sun and clouds with a cool breeze along with the extensive acres of grass fields – kept fest-goers and winery representatives comfortable all afternoon.

“Yeah, this is a great place,” agreed Mike Thompson of Boulder Creek Winery, one of the 36 wineries present. “I really like the layout here.”

Among the selections Thompson was pouring was the Boulder Creek 2011 Colorado Dry Rosé, which Friday was one of the dry rosés competing for the Governor’s Cup Wine Competition.

Many people familiar with rosé automatically drift away from what they think will be something sweet but a recent trend among Colorado winemakers (Canyon Wind Cellars and Garfield Estates also offer dry rosés) to produce a dry rosé with great fruit has revived interest in the wine.

“It takes a little education, and you have to get them to taste it, but once you do, it’s really popular,” Thompson said. The winemaker is his wife, Jackie Thompson, whose wines always show well in competitions.

The competition must have been close, but the 47-Ten 2012 Grand Valley Rosé from Canyon Wind Cellars was named Best Rosé at the Governor’s Cup. Jay and Jennifer Christianson of Canyon Wind Cellars also won a Double Gold for their 2010 Grand Valley Petit Verdot.

Michelle Cleveland of Creekside Cellars also produces a delightful dry rosé but it’s light-gold in color, similar to a pinot grigio. I wasn’t able to talk with her during Saturday’s crush of people but will get back to you on that item.

As we mentioned Sunday, Michelle was the winner of the Governor’s Cup Wine Competition with her 2010 Grand Valley Cabernet Franc, which I diligently paired with that grilled PB&J with smoked bacon on whole-grain wheat. Highly recommended.

Around 225 wines were judged by the tasting panel of experts including restaurateurs, sommeliers, writers and chefs, most of whom seemed quite pleased with their task.

“They showed tremendous excitement over all the Bordeaux red grapes produced in Colorado, including merlot,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of the CWIDB. No, I don’t know why he singled out merlot, but you can ask him.

One of the judges, wine blogger Jeff Siegel (“The Wine Curmudgeon”), noted the competition “was easily the best showing from Colorado in the decade or so I have judged its wines.”

I appreciate Jeff’s remarks, since he’s attended several Drink Local Wine conferences and has a good idea of how the “other 47” are doing in their wine production.

I just hope he doesn’t read my newspaper version of this column. Arrgghh.

Colorado Wine Week Challenge, Day 1

This is the first day of Colorado Wine Week 2013, a weeklong (or did you know that?) celebration of this state’s vibrant wine industry and the best opportunity you may have to sample Colorado wines.

And great food.

CO wine week No. 1

Two first-day selections for Colorado Wine Week Challenge 2013.

And Colorado wines and great food, together.

While the week is sort of, kind of, a statewide thing, its really designed as a Front Range get-together, which for those of you who don’t live in Colorado (that’s fine, don’t move here) means everything east of the Continental Divide.

Which really means the event is aimed the 8 jillion or so people in the urban strip from Fort Collins (north) to Colorado Springs (mid-state).

My blogging and Colorado wine colleague Jacob Harkins of Godot Communications and Local Winos Media has been doing the heavy lifting, which means trying to herd cats with press releases, emails, etc and etc.

You can get all the information you need here, but in short, the week culminates in the third annual Colorado Urban Winefest (presented by Westminster Total Beverage, I have to add), which this year roosts at Infinity Park in Glendale, an innr-suburb of Denver, which obviously is THE place to be Saturday. Around 46 wineries, including many you need to know, pouring their hearts out to please your palate.

That is, if you like Colorado wine, are curious about Colorado wine or know someone who is either or both.

As for me, here’s my contribution – A Colorado Wine Week Challenge: Open and share a Colorado wine every day this week.

Yeah, I know it’s already Sunday but give it a try.

Tell you what. I’ve already opened two local wines, so you can use one for your starter (there’s a glass or two left in the bottle). The rest of the week is up to you.

My first-day choices are the 2012 Pinot Gris from Stone Cottage Cellars ($22) and the 2006 Pinot Noir ($26, if available) from Terror Creek Winery. Both are West Elks AVA wineries and situated near each other (like 500 feet apart) just west of Paonia, high above the valley of the North Fork of the Gunnison River.

And when I say high, I mean that Joan Mathewson of Terror Creek is making her elegant and thoughtful wines at 6,417 feet, making hers the highest winery in the north hemisphere.

And Stone Cottage Cellars Pinot Gris has a body and heft, hints of melon, fig and almonds, that recalls how well-made pinot gris tasted before the demands of the market onslaught ruined it, just as the same overweening push for profits ruined merlot. Thank you, Brent and Karen Helleckson of Stone Cottage Cellars.

That’s the end of the Sunday sermon.

Take the week to explore some of the restaurants and bars offering food and Colorado wine pairings, menus available here.

Keep me posted on what you’re drinking, and tomorrow I’ll share the Day 2 selections for the Colorado Wine Week Challenge.

Let’s see, where is that corkscrew??????