Wine Openers - Blog

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Chill out – Saké flavors open when served chilled

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, September 29, 2014

As a reminder, Oct. 1 is Nihonshu no Hi, or International Saké Day. Most Americans pay little heed to saké, unless they stumble on it at a Japanese restaurant where they sip hot saké served in a small white pitcher. Sadly, that's also where most Americans end their saké education. “I think education is the key” to appreciating Japan's 1,300-year old traditional spirit, said restaurateur Chris Boyd of No Coast Sushi, now with locations ...


Napa earthquake damage still being tallied

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Winemakers in general are a resilient, optimistic lot and it's going take a bit of both before the Napa Valley is back to normal. The earthquake that hit the area in the predawn on Aug. 24 caused an estimated $362 million damage, according to figures released last week by Napa County officials. That's just in direct damage, however. Some unofficial estimates put the actual total at more than a $1 billion, when you figure in lost revenue since the quake, measured at 6.1 on the ...


Mid-summer brings the best in food and wine, North Fork style

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, July 17, 2014

Mid-July is heating up and not just the temperature. The North Fork Valley is flexing its presence as Colorado's vortex for fine local-grown foods and wines and it all starts Friday night (July 18) with Chef Dava Parr at Fresh and Wyld Farnhouse Inn and Gardens, stirring the pot with the much-awaited return of her Friday night dinners. Gourmet meals made with (mostly) local organic and sustainably grown ingredients (rarely can you catch striped bass out of the North Fork River) ...


Taking the natural way with wine

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, July 17, 2014

I was breaking down some boxes for recycle when the lettering on one caught my eye. “Natural wine,” it read. “No sulfites.” An interesting claim, if true. First because the federal government, which regulates winemaking and labeling, has no official definition of a “natural” wine, although many people would like to make and drink them; and second, because you can't make a wine without sulfites. You can make a wine without adding sulfites, ...


Colorado Urban Winefest draws engaging crowd

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I stopped along the runoff-swollen Colorado River a few nights ago while on the way home from the Colorado Urban Winefest in Denver, just to listen to the voice of the river. A calm minute was appreciated after the hectic but fun Colorado Wine Week 2014 (June 1-7), a week that featured wine-related events every night (especially if you count the 50 or so restaurants offering the Sips and Snacks small-plate pairings for $20 and under) and a few quiet moments alone were welcome. The ...


June turned loose with Colorado Wine Week

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Grand Valley Winery Association wrapped up its annual Barrel into Spring Tasting May 17-18 and the event, again a sell out, is a good segue into June as a Colorado wine month. Not simply for Colorado wines, although there will be plenty of those, but a great month of exploring explore wines from all over. The grape-centric festivities kick off with Colorado Wine Week June 1-7, so declared by Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2011 and this year presented by Alpine Bank. Information and ...


Edesia redux and the rise of a signature Colorado red grape

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A quick turn a few weeks ago around Edesia 2014, which subtitles itself “A Palisade Culinary, Wine and Spirits Adventure,” revealed a lively crowd intent on making the best of a windy day best described as typical of spring in the Rockies. Jazz filtered through the cooking-scented air of the Wine Country Inn, the regular host for this annual food- and wine-tasting fundraiser for the Marillac Clinic. Along with the paid guests, although perhaps with a bit more serious ...


Growing market for Colorado wine won’t dim lure of Grand Valley

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wine writer Fred Tasker recently noted that Americans drank more wine last year for the 19th year in a row, up 2 percent to 360 million 12-bottle cases, according to wine consultants Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates. And second, Americans love American wine: California makes 58 percent of all the wine we drink. That’s not surprising, considering California produces about 90 percent of all U.S. wine. That’s 207.7 million cases worth an estimated $22 billion in retail ...


BookCliff Vineyards keeps Colorado in the Cups

By Dave Buchanan
Friday, December 20, 2013

As I noted earlier this week on (both???) my Facebook page(s) – which is a frustrating story all its own – John Garlich and Ulla Merz of BookCliff Vineyards in Boulder recently won their third Jefferson Cup award, the top prize in the annual Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition. That makes three (2010, 2012, 2013) wins in five years for BookCliff, with other Colorado wineries winning in 2009 (Boulder Creek) and 2011 (Canyon Wind Cellars). This year’s winning ...


State wine industry worth hefty $144 million

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Colorado wine is showing up on more tables and consumers are willing to pay more it, according to a report released Wednesday by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board. The report, done by Colorado State University for the CWIDB, says that not only are Colorado wine consumers drinking more wine than their national counterparts – 3.41 gallons per year compared to the national level of 2.7 gallon – they are drinking more Colorado wine. The report also notes that that ...


Books lead the list of wine-related Christmas gifts

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Oh, the weather outside is … Well, yes, this is a family column so let’s leave it at “brisk but Christmas-like.” Already the holiday season has been festive: Parker Carlson (Carlson Vineyards) enjoyed packed-house attendance last week during his three-day 25th Anniversary Holiday Open House and Eames Petersen (Alfred Eames Cellars) had his wine cave rocking with the Madrigal Choir during his Holiday Open House Dec. 1 at the Puesta del Sol Vineyards in ...


Take your time, enjoy the Thanksgiving wine

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, November 18, 2013

That fully loaded, sag-in-the-middle Thanksgiving table might be the biggest source of stress in a wine drinker’s year. A big roasted bird (or ham or wild beast), sweet dishes, sour dishes, tofu dishes, roasted, fried or canned vegetables, an assortment of relishes and finger food, the list goes on. And then someone tells you, “I can’t drink red wines, they give me headaches.” We call that a hangover, but you get the idea. You could serve Coke or Coors ...


Food and wine pairings bring new look to Colorado Mountain Winefest

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Colorado Mountain Winefest presented by the First National Bank of the Rockies continues to evolve and one of this year’s more-noticeable changes is the food-and-wine pairings featured Sept. 19-22 at a handful of restaurants in Grand Junction and Palisade. Gone, for the most part, are the popular but challenging “winemaker’s dinners," those sit-down gatherings that at times turned, well, exuberant, shall we say. In their stead are these more-intimate and ...


Blind tasting offers chance to taste-test against the judges

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Just as a mother can identify her unseen child by its laugh, a winemaker can pick out her or his wine without seeing the label. “I’m pretty sure this is my rosé,” said Brooke Webb, winemaker for Mesa Park Vineyards on East Orchard Mesa, while peering and sniffing at a glass of strawberry-red wine during the recent Best of Fest blind tasting sponsored by the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology. Even though the wine came from a bag-shrouded bottle, ...


The time to train: Off year gives growers window to next season

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

With an exasperated sigh, state viticulturist Horst Caspari grabbed at yet another untrimmed grapevine hanging from a trellis and wove the emerald fuse between two wires. “I know there won’t be many grapes this year in most of these places, but that’s no excuse not to be out here taking care of the vines,” said Caspari, midway through a morning tour of several Grand Valley vineyards. “You have to spend time in the vineyards this year so you get a good crop ...


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