Wine Openers - Blog

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Open houses and special tours offer break from between-holiday stress

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The days between Thanksgiving and Christmas often prove uncommonly strenuous, a period when the demands of housework, cooking, cleaning, and shopping merge to make what should be a joyful time one of stress and worry. One way to relax – other than locking the front door, turning off the lights and hiding under the blankets – is to get out and enjoy the holiday celebrations at some of the local wineries. This weekend in particular offers several opportunities for you and ...

Beaujolais Nouveau takes the stage at Thanksgiving

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It’s the third Thursday in November, which means Thanksgiving is near and Beaujolais Nouveau is here. It’s hard to miss notice of the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau, the vin de primeur so renown it has its own release date and coming out parties, sort of a Fat Tuesday (on the third Thursday of November) for wine. Noting the success Beaujolais Nouveau producers have had with their up-front “How do you like me so far?” introduction, other wine regions now have ...

Trying a wine the winemaker doesn’t like

By Dave Buchanan
Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ken Dunn laughs when you ask him about rkatsiteli, the curious white grape he grows in his Hermosa Vineyards on East Orchard Mesa. He pours a visitor a taste of the pale-gold wine but refrains from one himself. “I’m not a big fan of rkatsiteli,” he says with a shrug, happily admitting he prefers red wine. “I can’t stand it but the customers seem to like it.” Perhaps that's a bit of a lukewarm endorsement for this ancient grape whose roots go ...

Grape growers watching weather as final ripening nears

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The basil is gone, the tomatoes are drooping and there’s a bit of hope (but fading fast) for the last of the chard. That’s just in my garden. Thank goodness I don’t have acres of grapes to worry about. But worry they will, as grape growers are wont to do, as they watch and wait for what’s remaining in the 2011 harvest to get as ripe as possible before picking. “We’re about half-finished,” said Nancy Janes of Whitewater Hill Vineyards on a ...

Why no Colorado wines? Don’t blame spoilage

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Excuse No. 71: "I used to live in Carmel and I got spoiled drinking California wines." Excuse No. 35: "I had a Colorado wine four or five years ago and wasn't impressed." Excuse No. 64: "They don't taste like wines from California." Excuse No. 11: "They're too hard to sell: Our customers don't know anything about them." Or why I don't carry Colorado wines in my restaurant/liquor store. I heard these excuses within the ...

Which one? I liked them all

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, September 26, 2011

The queries, or rather "the Query," began only a few hours after the wrap-up of the 20th anniversary Colorado Mountain Winefest. "Which was your favorite wine?" came from many sides. Gee, that's like, "Daddy, which of us do you love most?" We've done this a dozen or more times, you and I, and so you understand that no answer is possible, because after tasting 100 or more wines over the course of 6 hours, it isn't easy to pick the best or ...

Reporter’s Notebook from Colorado Mountain Winefest

By Dave Buchanan
Friday, September 23, 2011

Reporter’s Notebook from the 20th Colorado Mountain Winefest: So many wines to taste and stories to tell. The crowd was late-arriving Saturday for the opening bell of the 20th anniversary Colorado Mountain Winefest but don’t call it a fashion statement. Unless your fashion tastes include gum boots and Gore-Tex jackets. The morning rain doused the riders on the Tour of the Vineyards and undoubtedly caused many people to hesitate before committing to the Festival in the ...

Breckenridge Brewery serves up Autumn Ale, Vanilla Porter and, yes, the Peachfork is back.

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

We expect mid-September to bring a change in weather, but with a week or more of summer officially remaining, it's unlikely anyone expects to see a forecast for up to 6 inches of snow for the higher mountains of Colorado. We won’t see the white stuff down here ( although we may see it from here) but it reminds us that as the seasons change, so do our diets and the way we drink. Salads and light meals aren’t discarded but they become less frequent as more substantial ...

Spit with the best or wear dark clothes

By Dave Buchanan
Tuesday, September 13, 2011

With Colorado Mountain Winefest and the justly popular Festival in the Park just hours away, it’s time to make a decision. Spit? Or swallow? Do you help yourself to everything poured or do you want to remember the wines? No matter how good you think your memory is, even the best tasters can’t remember after 50 wines. And with 50 wineries each pouring four or more wines, there is no way you’ll get through that many without spitting. How do you know when to spit? ...

A little of everything – even the romance – at Colorado Mountain Winefest

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It’s early afternoon in mid-September as I write this, and the the pewter-colored clouds draping rain across Pinyon Mesa add to the sense that summer is about at its end. While no one is rushing into winter, September and October might be the best months in western Colorado for wine enthusiasts. This month, as you already know but I’m going to remind you anyway, brings the Colorado Mountain Winefest, set for Sept. 15-18 in Palisade with wine-related events across the Grand ...

Hybrid grapes may be key to Colorado’s wine-making future

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When I die ..., Chances are things won’t be this good. Telluride Ski Resort and Rodney Strong Vineyards of Sonoma County have teamed up, bringing together world-class skiing with world-class wines. What’s not to like? According to Telluride spokesman Tom Watkinson, Rodney Strong Vineyards and Telluride will partner for special events at Telluride’s flagship restaurant Allred’s and at the “who-needs-alcohol-when-you're-already-this-high” ...

A rush to ripen as growing season enters final months

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grand Valley grapes are rushing to catch up with a summer that’s soon to end. The catching up comes as a result of a long, cool spring, which included a frost at the end of April that killed some of the valley’s grape crop and set back the rest. That, in addition to damage still lingering from the killer cold weather in 2009, has dropped the valley’s prospective grape crop by 30 percent or more. “It was the 27th of April to the first or second of May and May ...

Salt this away: Boulder bistro serving Colorado wines

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The wrap-up of an intense three-day workshop in Boulder found several of us searching for a dinner place open on Sunday night, a task that can be fearsome in early closing Grand Junction but one that offered many entertaining options in Boulder. We ended at Salt the Bistro on the east end of the famed Pearl Street Mall. One of our small group recommended Salt, in the former Tom's Tavern building, and we weren't disappointed in the reasonable prices, wonderful food and a ...

West Elks Wine Trail flows Thursday thorugh Sunday

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, August 1, 2011

It’s August, which means every garden on the Western Slope is going crazy (even if your tomatoes are a little behind this year) and the winemakers of the West Elks Viticultural Area are looking for some company. Thursday through Saturday is the third annual West Elks Wine Trail featuring nine wineries in the North Fork Valley from Hotchkiss to Paonia. Designed with an emphasis on the bounty of great foods available from a wide range of North Fork farms, gardens, orchards and ...

DrinkLocalWine bringing its message to Colorado

By Dave Buchanan
Monday, July 25, 2011

We (meaning you and I) have known this for several months but now it’s “official”: the Internet-based is bringing its annual conference next year to Colorado. Well, Denver, anyway, since there’s no indication of any formal activities planned for what really is Colorado wine country. Here’s what the press release says about Colorado hosting DLW’s fourth annual event: “The state’s industry is one of the most unique in ...

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