Whining: Where oh where is the Colorado wine?

Mitch and I just spent a glorious Sunday in the company of Jeff and Carol Carr, who own Garfield Estates Vineyard and Winery. They were visiting El Rancho sans Chihuahua in advance of the community radio station wine tasting/fundraising dinner for the Wet Mountain Valley's community radio station KWMV.

The event paired five of Garfield Estates wines with five small plates created by local valley chefs--the buttery fume blanc with crab-stuffed mushrooms from The Letterdrop Inn; the clean and to-the-point S2 (a semillon-Sauv Blanc blend) plus pan-seared tuna from The Feed Store; beef carpaccio with arugula, asparagus and a balsamic vinaigrette glaze sat on a parmesan crisp stood up beautifully to Garfield's food-friendly cabernet franc; Garfield's plummy, toe-curling syrah accompanied Uruguayan sausage, chimichurri and brined grilled elk; and finally a light-as-rain vin de glace helped us finish Marian's chocolate torte with whipped cream and fruit.

By now you knitters are going, there she is gassing on about food and wine. But even us knitters need sustenance.

The evening was a phenomenal success. Though I have the palette of a truck driver ("mmmm, that's good"), the people in attendance who know wine were gob smacked by the quality of the product. One of our friends declared the syrah, one of the best he's ever tasted.

I've loved the wines since we first tasted them. Jeff's rose, which is how I think of it, introduced me to the possibility that a rose could be something not served in a gallon jug--something that could make a sweltering summer evening--exceptional. And, of course, Jeff and Carol, well, they are just the coolest beings (Carol's a fellow English major, so you know...)

Which brings me to my harangue. I have just searched the wine lists of some of my favorite restaurants. These are establishments who tout their seasonality, their locovore cred. Many of these establishments have ghettoized Colorado wines, adding one or two "token" choices amongst their Italian, Californian, Oregonian offerings, as if this dispatches their responsibility to "buy local." If you as a restauranteur carry 40 wines from California, why not carry four or 14 from your home state? Especially when they are not only palatable but also delicious?

As people who venerate fiber, isn't it wonderful when we can find a local producer or dyer who creates a product we can love and use and recommend to friends? Isn't it equally as delightful to pair a week-night dinner of grilled salmon and salad with a wine, the grapes of which were grown a few hours away?

If you live near Denver and doubt me, visit Colorado Winery Row. There you can taste the efforts of at least five of the state's wineries. In a time when U.S. manufacturing is at a nadir, here are some stalwart folk who are getting the best from our high-altitude terroir.



Comments (1) -

June 30. 2010 12:33

Doug Simmons

In these days of economic woe, it's good to see locals supporting locals.  To this I say "Bravo" and pass me some of that white wine.  Remember no whining.

Doug Simmons |

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