New York reviewer wowed by Colo. wine

When Guy Drew gets attention, he gets the right kind.

The affable and award-winning winemaker from McElmo Canyon near Cortez recently picked up some well-deserved national acclaim when the irrepressible Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV and Daily Grape gave Drew’s 2007 Metate an unqualified “Wow.”

Vaynerchuk, who calls his daily online wine reviews the “Internet’s most passionate” wine show, was in Denver recently for a book-signing when he was gifted a bottle of the Guy Drew Vineyard’s 2007 Metate.

“I haven’t had many Colorado wines,” Vaynerchuk said, noting that Colorado isn’t often thought of when considering the major U.S. wine regions.

He poured the wine, gave it his signature “sniffy sniff” and approvingly said the nose carried a hint of kirsch with some “black licorice reduction.”

After his initial taste and swallow, his eyes widened.

“Wow, this is surprisingly good,” he said. “There is no way you are having this wine blind and you’re underestimating it.

“This is really darn good, actually.”

Vaynerchuk seemed genuinely excited about his initial foray into Colorado wines.

“Great fruit, great structure and at 20 bucks, this is an exceptionally good wine,” he said.

Drew, for his part, knew as little about Vaynerchuk as the New Yorker knew about Colorado wines.

“I had no idea who he was until I got this email from this lady” from Colorado Springs, said Drew on Monday.

“She said she and her husband were going to the book-signing and decided Vaynerchuk might enjoy a bottle of Colorado wine,” Drew said.

The couple selected Drew’s Metate based on a store recommendation and the $20 price point, he said.

Drew said the wine, which Vaynerchuk rated at 89-plus points, retails for $20 at the winery but may be found for $17 elsewhere.

The attention from Vaynerchuk is having an impact on his wine sales, Drew said.

“I’ve already shipped out 10 cases this morning, all around the country,” he said.

There were only 300 cases of the wine made, Drew said.

There might not have been a Metate in 2007 but for Drew’s desire to experiment.

“I really liked both the cabernet and syrah by themselves but decided to do a trial blend anyway, and I really liked that,” he said.

The two wines separately spent 18 months in barrel and Drew, who likes his wines to meld their flavors prior to bottling, opted for an additional six months in barrel after blending.

Most Colorado winemakers can’t afford keeping their wine in barrels for two years because it disrupts the cash flow, he noted.

“I wasn’t sure I could afford it either, but I did it anyway,” he laughed. “I was really happy with the final wine.”

So was Vaynerchuk, who tastes several hundred wines each week.

“There is a very significant reason why you should go out and try the Guy Drew 2007 Metate,” he urged his audience. “This wine is seriously well-made.

“It clowns a lot of $20 Cabs from California,” he said. “This is stunning for me.”

He asked his viewers to ship him Colorado wines so he could review more of this state’s wines, but Colorado’s neolithic wine laws will make it difficult to ship wines to Vaynerchuk’s New York address.

Apparently, a winery can send samples for review but can’t send wines to private buyers or wine stores.

Drew, who also makes wines under the Crooked Creek label, said the attention paid to his wines is good for the entire Colorado wine industry.

“It has to help,” he said. “Having someone like Vaynerchuk appreciate a Colorado wine says so many good things about our industry.”

You can see the video at dailygrape.com/videos/26-colorado-wine.

Freeze warning alarms growers: With temperatures around the Grand Valley forecast to reach the mid-20s Tuesday night, you can be sure fruit growers had a sleepless night.

According to the Orchard Mesa Research Center’s cold hardiness scale, chardonnay grapes in the Grand Valley could sustain a 30 percent loss if temperatures dropped to 25 degrees and 75 percent if it reached 20 degrees.

Syrah grapes could see a 35 percent loss at 25 degrees, the scale said.

Many of the valley’s vineyards still are struggling to recover from the several severe frosts of 2009 and 2010, and there aren’t many wineries holding any extra wine in their tanks as they did last year.

A sizeable crop loss this year would again make it extremely difficult for winemakers who buy their grapes to find enough grapes to make wine.

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