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Talon Wine Brands wins 21 medals at Denver International

By Dave Buchanan

You rarely will find winemaker Glenn Foster at a loss for words.

However, the ebullient second-generation winemaker and driving force behind Talon Wine Brands hesitated just a second when asked recently about his awards from the Denver International Wine Competition.

“Our what?” he asked his caller. “To be honest, I haven’t even checked. Let me call you back.”

And it wasn’t very much later when Foster, who makes wines under three labels – St. Kathryn’s Cellars, Meadery of the Rockies and Talon Winery – was back, on line and in form.

“Man, this is exciting as hell,” said Foster, whose wines pulled in the second-highest number of awards at the Denver International. The 21 medals included including 10 gold, five silver and six bronze, including a bronze medal for label design.

“This is the first time we’ve entered the Denver competition and we’re really pleased with how well we did,” Foster said.

Among Foster’s gold medals were three from his Talon brand (2011 Chardonnay, 2011 Viognier and 2011 Talon Rosato); four fruit wines from St. Kathryn’s Cellars (Golden Pear, Strawberry Rhubarb, Blueberry Bliss and Sweet Scarlet); and three meads (King Arthur, Lancelot and Cherries N’ Honey). His St. Kathryn line won a bronze medal for its eye-catching label.

Four other Colorado wineries also won medals, including Grande River Vineyards (gold – 2011 Viognier and 2009 Meritage White); Balistreri Vineyards (gold – 2011 Sangiovese, silver – 2011 Petite Verdot, bronze – 2010 Petite Sirah); Boulder Creek Winery (silver – 2010 Syrah); and Graystone Winery (silver – 2004 Port IV).

Foster was especially pleased to see how his wines fared in the $15 and under competition.

“We were thrilled that our Talon Chardonnay and Viognier won gold in the $15 or less category,” he said. “It says these wines are outstanding and a good value in that price range.”

Perhaps of greater note is the respect shown for Colorado wines in a competition that included wines from across the U.S. and 12 foreign countries, including Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Argentina.

“I think it’s great they have judges savvy enough to recognize great wine when they taste it,” said Foster, in a unsaid nod to the fact that lesser-known wine-regions often get ignored in major trials.

“I think the fact that Colorado wineries did so well may have more of our wineries entering that competition,” Foster said.

Of course, winning 21 medals in a single competition begs the question, just how many wines does Foster make under his three labels?

“Forty,” he said with a laugh. “And we’re going to add two more next year, a Muscat and a Gewurtztraminer.”

He makes about 2,000 gallons each year of his top wines and lesser amounts of the others, depending on how well they are selling.

“We try to make a two-year supply of each wine we have because you really can’t do that many bottlings each year,” he said. “We could run day and night shifts but there‘s more to life than that.”

Overall, his meads won six medals, and when asked about the growing acceptance of mead in wine competitions he said it’s only a matter of time.

“I did some calculations and the number of meaderies in the U.S. has grown six times in the last three years,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s quite mainstream yet but it’s going that way.”

According to says Vicky Rowe, owner of Gotmead.com, which describes itself as "the Internet's premier resource for everything to do with mead,” the number of meaderies in the country has tripled to around 150 in the last decade.

“It’s all about what people want,” Foster pointed out, once again with just the right words.

 

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