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Which one? I liked them all

By Dave Buchanan

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 even remember some of the early ones.

Sure, I took notes - lots and lots of notes - but interspersed with the wine tasting were hours of conversations and interviews, an odd sniff and spit here and there and even a chance or two to sit down (thanks to Sarah Catlin and the Winefest crew) in the VIP tent and enjoy a bit of wine and relaxation.

There are some more-memorable wines, most because they were so good and well-made and others because, well, they were memorable.

There was the lavendar wine made by Glenn Foster at St. Kathryn's Cellars, a rose´-based wine with a hint of lavendar on the nose and just a faint blush of lavendar across the tongue.

Foster said it took him six months of blending to arrive at the flavors he was seeking, something not too overwhelming but still true to the lavendar itself.

It proved extremely popular, mostly among the female side of the Winefest crowd, and while I can't think of anything to pair with it, if you are among the many enamored with all things lavendar, you should try this delightful wine.

Parker Carlson's Dry Gewurtztraminer remains among my favorites and he urged me to try also the dry Gewurtztraminer produced by Brent and Karen Hellickson at Stone Cottage Cellars.

"It's really good," promised Carlson, and he wasn't wrong.

The Stone Cottage version is a bit drier than Carlson's, which retains the slightest touch of residual sugar to catch the "sweet-but-dry" crowd.

Both are delicious and I hope a sign that winemakers finally are starting to notice that not all wine drinkers want a soda pop wine.

I know they already know that but there has been the appearance in recent years of sweet red wines, a tasting room phenomenon we should talk about soon.

Another attention-getting wine was the Palisade Festival white wine by Plum Creek Winery.

Winemaker Jenne Baldwin-Eaton blended Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc into a wine that broke across the palate into many layers of flavors, each recalling a different varietal.

After the severe winter and spring frosts of these recent years, many winemakers are struggling to find enough grapes to make their wines.

Jenne, whose red and white blends always have been noteworthy, made the Palisade Festival "to highlight the different grapes" because in some cases she didn't have enough to make a full vintage of one varietal.

A bit of history is involved, also. Seems the last time a Palisade Festival white appeared was in 1996. It dropped out of sight for a long time but this year's revival was worth the wait.

"I thought it was time to try it again," Jenne said. And we're glad she did.

There are so-o-o-o many more. Spero Winery's Vino e Buono 2008 Cabernet Franc and Stone Cottage's 2009 Syrah, both double-gold medal winners; John Balistreri's 2010 Grand Valley Sangiovese (gold); and Alfred Eames' 2008 "Noche," a silver-winning, muscular dessert wine of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; all of these and more.

And that's quite enough for now.






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