Wine Openers - Blog

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No getting past the awards

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, August 11, 2008

A recent comment from reader Bob about my column on Dolce Vita getting an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine got me to thinking about wine awards, wine lists in this town and what both of them mean to the casual wine drinker. Bob's contention is that the Wine Spectator award ain't no big deal because anyone who sends in the money can get that award. There's more to it than that, of course, including having a comprehensive and imaginative wine list that pairs with your food. ...


Wine shop brightens downtown

By Dave Buchanan
Saturday, August 2, 2008

I received a few comments this week about Dolce Vita restaurant earning an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine and those comments simply substantiated what the award recognized. Rick and Sue Crippen have one of the city's best wine bars in town thanks in great part to Rick's never-ending curious nature about wines and to his desire to offer great wines at affordable prices. A few doors upstream at 420 Main St., Mike Chariton recently opened Planet Wines, the city's first wine ...


Award sweetens Dolce Vita’s appeal

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, July 27, 2008

Say what you like (or dislike) about the tentacles of Wine Spectator magazine stretching into every corner of the wine arena but until some better way comes along of recognizing the efforts of restaurateurs serious about wine, the Spectator's annual listing of restaurant awards is a good tool for the wine-lover's toolbox. Those readers living in large cities with numerous WS award winners will yawn at one or two more restaurants being added to the list. But those of us who spend most of ...


Cherries and wine, separately

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The view from Terror Creek Winery takes in much of the North Fork Valley. Some of the vines you see are more than 35 years old. PAONIA— I spent the holiday weekend camping along a small creek near here and on my way home (the bugs got so bad on the last day I left camp without rolling up my tent, just crammed it in the car and sped away) stopped at a couple wineries in the fruit-rich North Fork Valley. My first stop was Black Bridge Winery. It really wasn’t for wine but ...


Paonia wine festival a relief, a delight

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I wrote in today’s newspaper column about the Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival held Saturday at Orchard Valley Farms and Black Bridge Winery in Paonia. I’ll repeat myself a bit here but it’s unavoidable, given the readers of this blog might not read the paper. My column appears here on the The Daily Sentinel Web site. After spending three days at the chi-chi Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen, heading to Paonia for an afternoon of cool jazz, good food and some pretty ...


Sherry enjoys a rejuvenation

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, June 19, 2008

ASPEN — What’s old is new again, as a sage once offered, and that’s certainly true in regards to Sherry. You remember Sherry, that Spanish fortified wine that originated in Jerez (the proper pronunciation isn’t as easy as it looks but that’s where the Sherry name derived). Sherry enjoyed a long run but when tastes and drinking styles changes, it unfortunately was relegated to the kitchen cabinet. Ah, but now the merry-go-round turns and Sherry comes to ...


Wine fest offers taste of West Elks

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's not too late to add the fourth annual Mountain Vineyard Wine Festival to your must-do list on Saturday. The festival, which benefits the oncology department at the Delta County Memorial Hospital, is at Orchard Valley Farms in Paonia. The event runs 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. and features 11 wineries from the West Elks AVA and Delta County. Colorado wines have received some good exposure recently, including a booth at the recent Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Denver and a story today in ...


Day 3, Aspen: Colorado’s lack of consistency no exception

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, June 16, 2008

ASPEN - Colorado wines didn’t play much of a presence during the 26th annual Food & Wine Magazine Classic here. Not that they were expected to, since the Classic shows off an awful lot of competition from the world’s top wine regions. But several remarks over the course of the weekend reminded me that while there’s a future for Colorado wine, the road ahead still has some bumps. Even most Colorado residents pay little heed to this state’s wines. It’s the ...


More from Day Two at Aspen

By Dave Buchanan
Saturday, June 14, 2008

ASPEN - I first met David Lynch through his 2004 book “Vino Italiano: The Regional Wines of Italy”, although earlier I had heard his name after Lynch snagged a James Beard Award for wine writing while at Wine & Spirits magazine. But it was Vino Italiano, which he co-authored with restaurateur Joseph Bastianich, that helped open the doors to the multitude of wines offered from Italy, with its 300 official growing areas, more than 360 authorized grape varieties and literally ...


Pepins make fast food easy

By Dave Buchanan
Saturday, June 14, 2008

ASPEN - Early morning on Day Two of the Food and Wine Magazine Classic finds the father/daughter team of Jacques and Claudine Pepin teasing and sparring over techniques and cookery as they prepare for their demonstration titled "Fast Food Our Way." As you might expect, this isn't fast food you "Biggie size" but food that's seemingly complicated at first but surprisingly quick, tasty and good for you. In 42 minutes, three fewer than the time slot allotted, the Pepins teams to make ...


Rose sparkling wines brighten Aspen Classic opener

By Dave Buchanan
Friday, June 13, 2008

ASPEN - It's Friday the 13th and nothing but good luck for the 5,000 foodies descending on Glamour Gulch for the first day of the 26th annual Food & Wine Magazine Classic. What a place.Uncork your skiing technique in the morning and uncork a few classic wines in the afternoon. That, at least, is what Kelly Hayes of Aspen was doing when I ran into him during a lunch sponsored by Boston Brewing Co., the company that makes Sam Adams Boston Lager, among other delights. Aspen Skiing Co. ...


Utah’s liquor law may change

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, June 10, 2008

With the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen just two days away (be still, my beating heart) there is wine news all around us, from the Beehive State to the land of Sherry and artisanal wine producers in Italia. So here goes. According to a story filed this week by reporter Dawn House in the Salt Lake City Tribune, that state is perched on the precipice of major changes in its antiquated and little-understood liquor laws. There is a push on to do away with Utah’s confusing 1960s-era ...


It’s Classic time in Aspen

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, June 9, 2008

ASPEN — This week marks the 26th anniversary of the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen and as always there will be plenty of things to do and see. And taste, of course. From the 90-plus food seminars and cooking demonstrations to the 50,000 or so bottles of wine being uncorked by the more than 300 producers, you’d be hard-pressed to say “Sono anoiato” (I’m bored) and get even a hint of sympathy from anyone here. Everything kicks off Thursday (some ...


Time to make plans for Winefest

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just arrived in the mail is the brochure for the 2008 Colorado Mountain Winefest, set for Sept. 18-21 at Riverbend Park in Palisade. That means it's "officially" time to look for seats at one of the very popular dinners with winemakers. Seats are limited and this year might be fewer in number as some restaurants have cut back from two dinners to one. Although you're not supposed to make reservations prior to the publication of the brochure (an attempt to make sure everyone has the same ...


Spoof or Consequences

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Late last night, as I was heading home after a couple hours of tasting some wines that carried the deep flavors of local dirt and the devotion of an honest winemaker, I thought back on a tasting I had participated in just about a year ago this week. I was with a small group of writers skirting through Napa and Sonoma, looking at some wineries a publicity agent had lined up for us, and on the second day we were at a fancy house just upstream from Oakville, smack in the middle of the Napa ...


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