Home > Colorado wine, wine appreciation, wine fun, wine ratings, Winery > Drink Local, Colorado Edition (and Don’t Lose Hope)

Drink Local, Colorado Edition (and Don’t Lose Hope)

I’m an eternal optimist. Even when I’m worrying about something, deep inside, I still believe that everything will be okay – one way or the other (sometimes we really have to look for this “okay”, but this is a subject for the whole other post).

This “life’s attitude”, of course, reflects on my approach to wines. Particularly, a belief that in today’s world, good wines can be made everywhere and anywhere – not only in a few places we know can produce the good wines. And anywhere I travel, I’m always looking to prove myself right – which I call “drink local”.

This time, my travel took me to Denver, Colorado. Colorado sounds as good as any other state in the US to be able to produce wines, so once I situated at my hotel in downtown of Denver, off I went to the closest liquor store in Denver.

While walking to the store, literally few steps before it, I saw a sign for the “Wild Women Winery” – I couldn’t even believe my luck, to find a city winery short walking distance from the hotel, also with a very cool sounding name. So I walked in and situated at a bar table, looking at the bottles with super-creative, super-colorful labels.

Talking to the bartender, I learned that while the winery is located in the Colorado (downtown Denver, to be precise), they make wines from the grape juice which they get from California Central Valley, as the winemaker believes that local Colorado grapes are too young to produce a good wine. Fine – the proof is always in the glass, right?

I decided to try 3 wines for $5 (happened to be an extremely wise decision, as opposed to trying 7 for $10, you will understand why in a minute).

The first wine was Viognier – a touch of overripe Apple with sage on the nose. Good fruity palate nice acidity, golden delicious apples. Not my favorite, but not bad. Not amazing, but drinkable.

My next choice was Cab/Merlot blend and that wine really threw me off – too sweet all around, no balance, no acidity, just a sweet fruit. Don’t remember when was the last time I disliked the wine so intently.

At that point I realized that all of the wines the winery offers are non-vintage wines, so I tried to discuss it with the bartender, but unfortunately, she didn’t know what “vintage” means, and I had to face the issue that certain basic concepts we, oenophiles, take for granted, are not so easy to explain in the simple terms. Nevermind.

The last wine, Petite Sirah, had a sweet chocolate nose, bitter-sweet type. Sweet fruit compote on the palate, definitely too sweet, but more acidity than the previous wine. Mostly plum notes with the equivalent acidity of just ripe, but not overripe plum. A marginal improvement.

This visit really left me at the feeling of deep disconcert – I see a lot of passion on the labels, but the soulless concoctions inside the bottles were really conflicting with the bright images.

I gladly left the winery and headed over to the liquor store. Here I had another surprise – a sticker shock. I understand that the wine store is located in the downtown of Denver. But Colorado wines aren’t that well-known, aren’t they? There was a good selection of the local Colorado wines present, none of them cheaper than $20 (okay, $19.99 if it makes you feel any better). Really? On my recent trip to Canada, I had a phenomenal selection of tasty wines under $15. Now, especially after the first tasting fiasco, I had to spend $20+ for a bottle which I might just have to pour down the drain?

After going back and forth and trying (unsuccessfully) to obtain an advice of the store clerk (”I tasted only this one wine”, “yeah, yeah”, “huh, you don’t like sweet wines? Really?”), I settled on the bottle which looked the most Colorado-authentic while still staying in the low $20s- Two Rivers Syrah – at least the information on the back label suggested that the grapes were harvested in Colorado.

Two Rivers Syrah Colorado

The wine was definitely an upgrade over the previous experience, but still no cigars. As this was nevertheless a better wine, here are my typical-style notes:

2015 Two Rivers Château Deux Fleuves Vineyards Syrah Mesa County, Colorado (14.1% ABV, $22.95)
C: dark garnet, nice visible legs
N: blackberries, tar, tobacco, sage, medium to high intensity
P: sweet berries, tobacco, good acidity
V: 7-, it is drinkable, but sweetness too prevalent.
7 on my the second day – sweetness subsided a bit, and roasted meat notes showed up. Still, the finish is mostly sweet fruit with a touch of tobacco.

On the last day before leaving Denver, I still had a bit of the free time and decided to give Colorado wines one more try. I found another wine store, still within short walking distance from the hotel, with good reviews on Google, and took 20 minutes walk. This store had a much smaller selection of Colorado wines, but a little bit better prices (by a few dollars, nothing major), and incomparably better, knowledgeable service. I left with the bottle of The Infinite Monkey Theorem Cabernet Franc – The Infinite Monkey Theorem is another city winery – but unlike Wile Women Winery, this one I would be happy to visit if I had more time.

Infinite Monkey Theorem Cab Franc

Remember I told you about eternal optimism? It finally worked, as this Cabernet Franc was well worth of writing home about:

2015 The Infinite Monkey Theorem Cabernet Franc, Colorado (12.9% ABV, $21)
C: dark ruby
N: tobacco, sweet bell peppers, freshly crushed blackberries
P: bright, fresh, freshly crushed berries, intense sweet tobacco, a touch of pepper, clean acidity, vibrant.
V: 8, outstanding. Would gladly drink that every day.

There you have it, my friends – my first real encounter with Colorado wines. I was happy to prove myself right and find a good wine made in Colorado. As a collector of experiences, I was also happy to add another checkmark to the list of states I tried the wines from – if you are like me, feel free to compare your records 🙂 Have you had the wines from Colorado? Express yourself in the comments section below. Cheers!

  1. August 21, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    I’m glad you found one wine to enjoy. And I’m happy it was a Cab Franc! Thanks for doing the hard research so the rest of us don’t have to. Cheers!

    • August 21, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      I’m glad I found one too – it would be a very sad post otherwise. I love research, especially the one which benefits the community – aren’t we all conducting it together for the each other’s benefit? 🙂

  2. August 21, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    Recently had a similar experience at a winery tasting room… every wine… horrible and overpriced. The worst thing about it was trying desperately to say at least one thing nice to the gal pouring. Talk about challenging! Yikes!

    • August 21, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      I hear you … It is hard to find the good words sometimes…

  3. August 21, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    A grand experience for you. I have never been to Colorado, but I would have done the same as you. It is fun to try. I also enjoy the label art and you showed some rather unique labels. All in all, a very informative article. Thank you as always.

    • August 21, 2017 at 4:38 pm

      Labels were definitely unique and creative. I wish the wines would match them better.
      I have to make it to Michigan one day… As well as to the other 37 states I never visited the wineries in 🙂

      • August 22, 2017 at 5:27 pm

        A gentleman of your stature will always be welcome and appreciated in Michigan. – John

        • August 22, 2017 at 7:47 pm

          Thank you, John, you are so very kind! Really hope to met you in person one day!

        • August 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

          Anatoli, the pleasure would be all mine.

  4. August 21, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    After all that I’m happy to hear you found a local wine that you liked. How disappointing though on the first two counts. I love the label on the Monkey wine. It sounds wonderful.

    • August 21, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      I was very happy to find a good wine there. Would be a disappointing experience otherwise. The label was for sure very cool.

  5. August 21, 2017 at 11:33 pm

    yeah Cab Franc! I love that label!

  6. August 22, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    You just made me remember tasting Ten Bears last year (melsmosaic.com/2016/10/12/co-wine/). I was trying to be nice in my post about it. I’m moving to CO in a couple months. I will be beer land. I’m just happy that I will be much closer to amazing CA/OR/WA wine than DC.

    • August 22, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      🙂 they know they beer in CO, yes – and now also weed 🙂 definitely a good access to the best wines in the USA – may be you just don’t want to buy them in Denver…

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