Monday, March 22, 2010
By JACOB HARKINS
It’s officially spring, and since temperatures never dip this time of year (as you read this a snowstorm is probably rolling in) it’s time to start drinking those whites without any reservations. Big reds do well on cold nights by the fireplace and crisp, fruit-forward whites pair well with a late spring or summer sunset in the Grand Valley.
If you haven’t noticed, Colorado does whites pretty well. Three varieties, in particular, are helping put us on the map— Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Viognier. So during your next stop to the wine store, try one of these three selections, all grown from Palisade-area grapes:
Riesling is becoming Colorado’s “It” white. The grape most often associated with Germany is perfect for the Western Slope’s hot days and cool nights. Boulder-based Bookcliff Vineyards has a 33-acre plot in the Grand Valley AVA, and Riesling is one of its top grapes. Its 2008 Riesling ($15) is an off-dry version that is light on alcohol and strong on aromas and flavors. It starts with a pleasant burst of fruit, notably apples. Its bouquet is intense with smells lingering. This Riesling is about apples, fruit and sweet. Its sugars are not overpowering, though.
We all know Parker Carlson of Carlson Vineyards as one of the grandfathers of the local industry. He’s also pretty adept at making whites. His Riesling has won the best in the world before, and his Gewürztraminer is no slouch, either. Gewürztraminer is also a classic German variety that seems to have found its place in Colorado. Carlson’s 2008 Laughing Cat Gewürztraminer ($11.50) is classified as an off dry, but it borders on full-blown sweet. With strong hints of peach cobbler and perfume on the nose, and apricots, peaches and sugar in the mouth, this is a wine that loves warm weather.
Garfield Estates has been making some of the best wines on the Western Slope for the last decade. Now the Front Range is getting a heavy dose of Garfield as it recently opened a tasting room in Denver as part of Colorado Winery Row. With Rainer Thoma dong the wine making, Garfield’s vino ($22) takes on a lot of his German, Old World style. They are dry but complex. The 2009 Viognier, which was just released in March, is a prime example. Aged in neutral barrels, a technique that owner Jeff Carr fell for during trips to Oregon wine country, this wine takes on more complex flavors without being oaked. It has a tropical nose, which starts with pineapples. It finishes dry and smooth with nice a nice acid balance. (For my review of their 2007 Fumé Blanc, Click here).
1501 Lee Hill Road #17
461 35 Road
3572 G Road
About the Author: Jacob Harkins is the founder and editor of ColoradoWino.com. He is being remunerated by the Wine Country Inn for his contributions to this blog.