Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Wines in Colorado struggle to reach outside the state’s borders. Sometimes the local vino will appear on a New Mexico wine list. Every now and then, the reach extends to a major U.S. city such as Chicago. That’s about it.
Outside of the country? Forgot about it.
What about a wine hotbed such as Paris? Pffft.
Well that all changed in March when the U.S. Department of Agriculture hosted a tasting at the U.S. Embassy in Paris. And wouldn’t you know it that four wines made with Grand Valley AVA grapes made it all the way across the pond for the pouring that included French critics, writers and restaurateurs and other prominent people.
Varaison Vineyards in downtown Palisade brought three wines and Boulder Creek Winery took another. So the French got a taste of Colorado wine, and from all accounts were impressed by the limited samples.
But I couldn’t take their word for it. What to French wine snobs know about wine? Oh, yeah, centuries worth of tasting, growing and making. That said, I was still excited to recreate the Colorado portion of the tasting stateside to see what all the buzz was about.
The 2006 VIP Reserve ($35) from Boulder Creek Winery is a 50/50 blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The grapes are all from the Palisade region. This is the type of wine that can make the entire valley proud. Balanced oak, vanilla and strawberry flavors make this wine fantastic on its own or with food. This is one of the best Colorado wines on the shelves today.
Two merlots from Varaison Vineyards in downtown Palisade made the pouring too. The 2007 wines are differentiated only by the East Orchard Mesa vineyard that the grapes come from. Bin 3115 is slightly fruiter than Bin 405 (both are $35 at the vineyard), which showcases strong flavor profiles from its oak. Both wines have extremely long and powerful finishes of coffee and chocolate flavors.
Varaison’s unique Crème Brule was also poured in Paris. This is 100 percent chardonnay here, yet the wine resembles nothing like the varietal we’re used to. Oaked for an almost unheard of 36 months, this wine tastes more like its name. Heavy caramel flavors and a long finish make this much more suited for dessert than dinner. It can actually be dessert on its own or paired with a treat like baklava.
So now Paris knows a little something about Colorado wine. Do you?
Check out the VIP Reserve and Crème Brule being featured on WineGuysTV:
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.