Wine Openers - Blog

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Friday at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic

By Dave Buchanan
Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 2 at the Food & Wine Classic always is a test. It's the first long day, filled with seminars and Grand Tastings plus whatever private or reserve events you've arranged, all of which makes it a test of your endurance. And then there's the parties and media events set for tonight, many of which run until WAY past my bedtime, anyway. I've included another video, this one with shots of winemakers and chefs from Chile, Spain and the Pacific Northwest, talking of ...

Opening day at Aspen Food & Wine Classic

By Dave Buchanan
Friday, June 18, 2010

It’s getting late in Aspen but there’s always something to write about. The first night crowds at the 28th annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen were begging for more from Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio (The Dining Room, Pasadena, Cal.) and from José Andrés (famed for, among so many other things, cafe atlantico and bringing the Spanish concept of small plate dining) but for such different reasons. Voltaggio, a very modernistic chef who uses molecular ...

It’s a busy week in Aspen and Carlson brings home the gold

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This is the weekend thousands of wine and food enthusiasts anticipate all year, the annual Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen. This year is the 28th annual and I'll be among all the hundreds of wordsmiths and photographers covering this unique event that features who-knows-how-many wines from around the world and dozens of wine seminars, cooking demonstrations and special tastings of wines you probably won't may never see again. You'll find daily updates, photos ...

Wine(s) of the Week

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

This actually is a Wines of the Week entry. Three wines, three sauvignon blancs, two from Chile and one very California. They share some attractive characteristics: low alcohol (13-13.5 percent), bright citrus-lemon-white peach flavors, and the crisp minerally acidity that makes them perfect companions for those light, summer-time meals. As with most delicate warm-season whites and rosés, buy the newest vintage you can find and drink these young. The Californian is the ...

Local wineries boost medal count at competitions

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, May 24, 2010

Every spring, many winemakers eagerly await two things: the season’s last frost and the first news from various wine competitions. This week we finally may have seen the last of the frost and two Colorado wineries are deservedly boasting of their recent medals. Talon Winery in Palisade picked up four bronze medals at the 2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in Rochester, N.Y. The winning wines were Talon Riesling and Talon Wingspan White along with the St. Kathryn ...

It’s feast among the beasts at High Wire Ranch

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, May 18, 2010

If you've never dined among the beasts, here's your chance. I'm not talking about lunch at the local animal shelter but Yvon and Joanna Gros's third annual Wine & Buffalo Feast dinner at the always interesting High Wire Ranch. The ranch, owned by Dave and Sue Whittlesey, raises grass-fed buffalo and elk, and what you'll be eating might have been on the hoof a short time earlier. The address is 257512 North Road on the Redlands Mesa near Hotchkiss. The feast is ...

Wine of the Week

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, May 11, 2010

OK, it's got to be spring somewhere, so in celebration (it's rainy and windy here in Grand Junction) we're trying two new ready-for-spring releases from the Woodbridge line of Robert Mondavi. This is the line of wines Mondavi created in 30 years ago to bring everyday, affordable wines to the American table. You can read an interesting history of Woodbridge here. The first of my two samples is the 2009 California Pinot Grigio ($7.99 SRP) with hints of citrus and plenty of ...

Grape growers face challenges after repeated frosts

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, May 10, 2010

For many grape growers around the Grand Valley, it’s too late to save this year’s crop. Hit by repeated frosts, from last October to as late as this past week, many growers and winemakers now are thinking of the future, planning what needs doing to have something to harvest next year. There still will be grapes to pick and wines to bottle this fall, particularly in the east end of the valley. That’s where the steady wind, what Norm Christianson of Canyon Wind ...

Mother’s Day means wine, chocolate and, umm, buffalo sausage

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You'll never celebrate a Mother's Day such as the one planned for May 8-9 at Leroux Creek Vineyards near Hotchkiss. The weekend festivities include wine and chocolate tasting at Yvon and JoAnne Gros' Leroux Creek vineyards (12388 3100 Road) and Lilliputian Winery (31424 Colorado Highway 92), and a tour of the High Wire Ranch, where Dave and Sue Whittlesey raise buffalo and elk. Their buffalo and elk sausage and other products will be available, too. While at the ranch, ...

Wine of the Week

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Looking for a white wine but something different from the sauvignon blanc style, and inspired by a Vernaccia recently served at the home of winemakers Neil and Diane Guard, I stopped at Fisher's Liquor Barn and purchased a bottle of La Carraia 2008 Orvieto Classico DOC ($10). This is a crisp, dry white wine composed of Grechetto (40 percent), Malvasia (30 percent) and Procanico (30 percent), the latter a local clone of the Trebbiano grape, which reputedly is the second-most planted ...

Growers still cautious after December freeze

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Unruly stems shoot off in multiple directions, like lightning trapped in the veins of a plant. Normally, by this time grape vines are close-cropped and orderly, simply awaiting the hot days of spring to burst out of the winter doldrums and turn sunlight into grapes. But this year has been far from normal. Two frosts, one in October and a double-digit below-zero zapper in December, has made this spring a period of wait-and-see for valley grape growers. What they’re ...

April is the time to check your summer wine calendar

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

It’s mid-April but not too early for planning summer’s wine-related travels. There’s quite a lineup planned, from this month’s Spring Barrel Tasting to the Wine & Food Magazine Classic in Aspen set for June 18–20. I'm putting together a file of this summer's goings-on, but here is some early information about events I've heard about. The annual “Barrel into Spring” wine tasting will be April 24–25 and May 15–16 ...

Aspen Food & Wine Classic lineup shines

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I just received the lineup for the 2010 (and 28th annual) Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen (June 18-20) and the list of chefs includes Mario, Jacques, Giada, Thomas Keller, David Chang and other great names. The deadline for early tickets has passed but you can still find tickets (all three days, $1,185, includes seminars, demos and Grand Tastings) on the Web site here. That's a lot of money in this economy – heck, it's a lot of money in any economy – but ...

Winefest taking on social media role in outreach to fans

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, March 22, 2010

The Colorado Mountain Winefest is making the most of the surging popularity of social media by updating its Web site and increasing its public outreach through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The new Web site, said Elaine Matthews of the marketing firm Ryan, Sawyer & Whitney of Grand Junction, not only is more user-friendly but also allows guests to purchase Winefest tickets, find updated schedules and explore the many events planned for the Sept. 16-19 event. Colorado ...

Go Facebook to Facebook with Colorado Mountain Winefest

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, March 11, 2010

Colorado Mountain Winefest has joined the burgeoning world of social media by tagging into Facebook, Twitter and YouTube along with offering an updated and more user-friendly Web site at The Web site allows you to  purchase tickets to the September 16-19 Winefest, check out the latest schedules and take a peek at the events planned for the annual late-summer get-together. Plus, you can stay in contact with Winefest through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. ...

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