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What you get when you invite a wine goddess to dinner

By Dave Buchanan

It's not what you think, and maybe that's a good thing.

The wine goddess in this case is Edesia, and she's the namesake of the Palisade's “Edesia, a Palisade Culinary, Wine and Spirits Adventure” on March 18 comes to the Wine Country Inn.

Edesia is said to be the goddess of banquets and food preparation and she usually hangs with partner Bibesia, goddess of drink, the two ensuring any party they hit is a great time. They certainly are benevolent goddesses, since the only sacrifice they ask might be to your diet.

A day of culinary events feature chef Glenn Smith, chef in residence at the Cooking School of Aspen, hosting hourly cooking demonstrations in the Vintner’s House on the Inn’s courtyard. And you can expect many of the region’s restaurants, wineries and distilleries also will be well-represented.

The premier sponsor of the event is Rémy Martin, the esteemed Cognac maker dating back to 1724. Rémy Cointreau USA, the American branch of the French parent company, will showcase Piper-Sonoma brands of sparkling and still wines and top-rated The Macallan Scotch whisky.EDS: “The Macallan Scotch Whisky” is CQ, no matter what the press release from WCI says.

“We are excited to have such a prestigious company whose products are known worldwide join us in presenting Edesia,” says Jerome Strack, general manager of the Inn. “Their presence will take Edesia to a whole new level and offer wines and spirits that will compliment those that are produced locally.”

It’s not all sip and nibble: The event is a fundraiser for the Marillac Clinic, which provides health care to low and moderate income Mesa County residents. “It is a great cause, and an enjoyable way to sample the best food and wine available,” Strack said. “Last year we were happy to present Marillac Clinic a $7,000 check. We hope that amount will be much larger this year.”

Tickets are $45 each and available at Wine Country Inn or through the Edesia website here.

Local winemaker tabbed to judge national wine competition

One of this writer's favorite winemakers, award-winning Jenne Baldwin-Eaton (pictured) of Plum Creek Winery in Palisade, has been selected as one of 28 judges for the inaugural U.S. National Wine Competition April 9–12 in Sonoma, Calif.

She's the only judge coming from Colorado and probably the only one making wine at 4,500 feet.

The new competition, sponsored by Vineyard and Winery Management magazine, is asking for wines from all 50 states, and a press release said the three-day competition is aimed at exploring the diversity of wines made across the country, including vinifera, hybrid and native grapes. According to Vineyard and Winery Management magazine, the early response was so overwhelming the entry deadline was extended a month.

Baldwin-Eaton, whose 2009 Grand Valley Merlot won a gold medal at the 2011 Colorado Mountain Winefest, said the three days of blind tasting should prove rewarding both in her personal winemaking as well as seeing how Colorado is doing in regard to other winemaking regions.

“For me personally, it’s a good exposure to wines from other regions, which I rarely have the opportunity to visit,” she said. “I know where I want to go in my winemaking personally and this lets me see where other areas are going.”

Plus, the national competition falls soon after VinCo, the multi-day winemaking, grapegrowing and horticulture trade show in Grand Junction that allowed Baldwin-Eaton to sample most Colorado wineries.

“I tried a lot of different wines, and it was a good opportunity to see what everybody is doing and be able to talk about Colorado wines,” she said. “So (the national contest) will be an opportunity to see how Colorado is doing against other regions.”

She won’t be judging her own wines, however. Jenne said she and Plum Creek owner Sue Phillips “wanted to at first but then decided it would be too much of a clash, with me judging and all,” Baldwin-Eaton said. “But maybe next year.”

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