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Fall wines shows offer new tastes

By Dave Buchanan
Wednesday the Republic National Distributing Company hosted its annual fall review of new wines and spirits and several of the presentations caught our eyes. Republic National is the second-largest distributor of wine and spirits in the U.S. with more than 4$ billion in annual over 20 states. As such, the company carries many of the wine brands you’ll see in area liquor stores, and the company’s size and reach are both a blessing and a curse to wine drinkers looking for that something extra in their wine choices. Customers enjoy a wide selection of the better-known brands and big companies such as Republic National always a push to have the latest vintages, particularly those receiving high marks from critics. The downside, however, is the smaller wineries easily get lost in the crowd when competing against the Gallos and Franzias and Beringers and others, and it’s often difficult to find an off-brand or little-known wine, even if it happens to be your favorite. Because Colorado still in the throes of the three-tier distribution system (producers, distributors, retailers), a lot of small wineries opt to save a few dollars by doing their own distribution (Bennett Price at DeBeque Canyon Winery is an example) or elect to go with a smaller company (Classic Wines out of Denver, for example) that carry fewer brands and thus promises more exposure. Still, there’s plenty to enjoy when the fall shows begin, and last week’s Republic National show at the DoubleTree Hotel gave retailers and restaurant owners a chance to sample new vintages of old favorites. Here are few of the better wines I found during the two hours or so I wandered around the Grand Ballroom, chatting up winery representatives and some of the smoothest liquor salespeople you’ll ever meet. We’ll talk about more wine selections in the next blog. Prices are estimates, and because some of the wines may not have made it to your local store, if you see a wine you’re interested in, ask your retailer if it’s available. Moshin 2005 Pinot Noir Lot 4 Selection, $36; Moshin 2004 Merlot Russian River Valley $21; Paso Creek (Paso Robles, Cal.) 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, $14; Flora Springs 2006 Soliloquy Sauvignon Blanc, $20; Flora Springs 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, $26 Martin Ray 2006 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, $19.