Wine Openers - Blog

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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 ...

Honesty shows in the bottle

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, May 19, 2008

Earlier tonight I was sitting across from my pal Sal Sassano, sharing a bottle of his 2006 Cabernet Franc. You won't find this wine in any store, since Sal is strictly small-time, a transplanted Sicilian with a love for the grape that must be DNA-connected. It's light-colored, as cab franc should be, with a delightful bit of acidity because Sal doesn't over-ripen his grapes. As typical in our get-togethers, we were chatting about wines and winemaking and the assorted truths and ...

Passion about wine in literary form

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, May 18, 2008

This week's open bottles include a Domus d'Uby Colombard/Ugni Blanc from the Cotes de Gascogne, a clean and refreshing white that my friends at the Boulder Wine Merchant describe as "pure, clean, lively and exhilarating ... (A) stellar example of the difference modern winemaking technology has made in a formerly vinous backwater of France." Clean and bright, full of fresh tropical fruits, melon and peaches, it's been perfect for these quite-suddenly hot spring nights. And at $9 a bottle, ...

Tackling the wines still open

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, May 6, 2008

It's been a while, hasn't it? Wish I could say I've been away, say to Friuli or slipping along the Grand Canal in Venice but instead it's only been time passing by. Don't pay the ransom, I've escaped. What do I have open at home? Let's see, as I rummage through the fridge. A 2007 Grand Valley Riesling ($12) from Nancy Janes at Whitewater Hill Vineyards, crisp, clean, a beautiful white tasting of honey and flowers just right for afternoon sipping while wondering where I'm going to plant ...

Spring takes early fling at wineries

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, April 28, 2008

Saturday and part of Sunday were spent traipsing around the sixth annual "Barrel into Spring" wine tasting sponsored by the eight member wineries in the Grand Valley Winery Association. This year the event again has a second two weekends, with the next coming May 17-18. There might still be tickets ($65 each), call Two Rivers Winery at 255-1471. The event usually sells out, it's capped at 380 attendees to keep numbers manageable for the sometimes cramped quarters where winemakers are ...

Keeping ‘the land’ in Italian wines

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, April 8, 2008

VERONA, Italy — It only took two days to figure out traffic patterns at Vinitaly, billed as the world's largest gathering of wine producers, held this year April 3-6. With 5,000 winemakers and an expected 150,000 attendees, well, if you learn of anything bigger, let me know. It's a four-day, once-a-year opportunity to taste wines from each of the 20 Italian wine-producing area and you could spend a whole day working your way through just one of the 11 pavilions, each about the ...

Italian varietals that stay home

By Dave Buchanan
Saturday, April 5, 2008

VERONA, Italy - It's Day 3 of VinItaly, possibly the world's largest gathering of wine producers and it's all Italy. With 5,000 producers and maybe 150,000 visitors over the fair's four-day run in the city made famous by the fantasy of Romeo and Juliet, Vinitaly is a once-a-year affair that offers unexpecting visitors tastes of Italian wines you'll never see in the states. Yesterday I tasted raboso, a dry and very acidic red wine that spends 2 years in wood, including a year in chestnut ...

Holding on too long

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I’ve been opening some old wines recently, thanks to a going-away reminder. When chef and restaurateur Dave Dame decided on Bisbee, Ariz, as his new home, we marked his going by opening a three-liter bottle of Beringer’s 1997 Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The bottle was part of a fortuitous purchase seven or so years ago when the winery offered the limited big bottles for what now amounts to pocket change for a big-name California cab. Big bottles age more slowly ...

Lodi isn’t Bordeaux, you know

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I was wandering around the French wine section in a liquor store in Steamboat Springs last week when one of the clerks, I guess he was a clerk, anyway, broke my reverie by asking. “So, you interested in wines?” Given that I was perusing some recent Bordeaux and had a 2003 Chateau Le Grande Clotte in my hand, I wasn’t too offended that he guessed correctly. But then he said, “We’re tasting some wines from Lodi in the tasting room, a couple merlots and ...

State ‘wine guy’ featured on CPR

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Steve Menke, the state's new enologist, will be featured today on Colorado Matters, the Colorado Public Radio show, at 7 p.m. You can access the show here or listen tomorrow to an archived broadcast here. Menke, aka "the Wine Guy" as he puts it, is working out of Colorado State University's Orchard Mesa Research Station alongside state viticulturist Horst Caspari. The two will assist growers and winemakers in growing not only better grapes but market share, as well. Menke officially is ...

In praise of austerity

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, March 3, 2008

In the most recent issue of Wine Spectator magazine, columnist Matt Kramer reported that at a recent tasting one guest described a wine as austere, saying, "And that's not a good word in my book." Perhaps, mused Kramer, today’s wines taste (and are made) the way they do because austere is considered a pejorative. So what’s wrong with austere? I’m not sure I want a wine that tries to convince me in the first 30 seconds. I want it to wait for the right questions instead ...

Analog wines still out there

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Not everyone wants a hot wine (meaning one with a high alcohol content, 14.5 percent or more) although it’s hard to prove simply by looking at what’s available. Here’s an article out of the L.A. Times that offers some opinions on both sides of the argument, although there is so much more to what’s being done to wine than can be covered in a single-page story or blog. California winemakers revel in having optimal climate conditions winemakers in other areas, ...

Wine sales up, imports still strong

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

From the 2008 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium held Jan. 29-31 in Sacramento, Cal. comes these notes, courtesy of several sources. Bob Krauter at Capitol Press in Sacramento reported wine interest continues to soar in the U.S., where consumers last year spent $30 billion buying 314 million cases of wine, a 4 percent increase over 2006. Wines sales of bottles costing $12 or more (the so-called super-premium level) jumped 20 percent although domestic wines didn’t keep up with imports, ...

Next generation might be outsiders

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A few weeks ago I ventured the guess that most of Colorado’s oldest wineries won’t be under the same ownership/management within 10 years because the current owners are nearing retirement age and there aren’t any family members coming up behind to take over. Now, a study reported on the Decanter Magazine Web site says “most American family wineries” aren’t making plans for an eventual transition and that leaves them “prey to corporate ...

Two more affordable 2005s

By Dave Buchanan
Thursday, February 14, 2008

Continuing the search for affordable 2005 Bordeaux, we found a couple here in town that were under $20 and very drinkable. Chateau Bellevue Rougier ($10, imported by Great Lakes Wine Co. and the Baum Wine Group, Bensenvile, Ill.) is from Entre-Deux-Mers, the expansive forested area between the Dordogne and Garonne rivers. Curiously, the appelation Entre-Deux-Mers only applies to the area’s white wines, so the reds all are labeled either Bordeaux or Bordeaux Superior. But ...

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