Friday, July 30, 2010
Image: Infinite Monkey Theorem Logo.
Petit verdot can be like drinking ink. That is if you can actually find it in a bottle of local wine.
It’s one of those blending grapes that garnered respect in a Bordeaux as a 5 percent grape. On its own? It’s just not that common. Colorado is no exception – and that’s too bad.
There are some reasons it’s not widespread in Colorado. First, it has a longer growing period than even cabernet sauvignon. That means an early fall frost or cold snap can doom the grapes. Beyond that, it’s a tough sell since no one knows what the heck petit verdot is anyway.
We’re here to tell you it’s a fun grape that is absolutely stellar on its own. Petit verdot is developing somewhat of a cult-like following in the Grand Valley AVA. More local producers are even making wines featuring this purple, dark and inky grape.
They are some of the most interesting wines around, and although very few are available in the bottle today, it is worth seeking them out.
Canyon Wine Cellars might be the only Grand Valley winery selling it right now. Its petit verdot is peppery and pungent, tasty and complex. It has a mile-long finish that sits on the palate like a coffee-flavored cigar. Open a bottle, take a sip, then decant. This wine needs a little air to let the grape speak on its own without overwhelming.
When blended with other Bordeaux grapes but still given the lead, the results are even more appealing. Canyon Wind’s IV is a prime example. Although this bottle retails for $100, it is a stellar wine worth considering. Its finish is one of the longest in the state of Colorado.
Infinite Monkey Theorem in Denver just released an excellent one in early July and will likely sell out quickly (the winery is already dry). Be prepared to pounce on a bottle if you see it. It’s petit verdot ($36), sourced from Palisade fruit, is tannic with some nice blackberry fruits hiding beneath. With air, the finish just keeps growing. Infinite’s 100th Monkey blend (leading with petit verdot and including cabernet franc, malbec, petit syrah and syrah) has wine of the year written all over it. It will sell for about $50 and is expected out any day now.
Guy Drew Vineyards out in Cortez is another rare vintner with petit verdot available, but a few more versions should hit retailers this summer.
Reeder Mesa has some in a barrel right now, and winemaker Doug Vogel is getting excited about its potential. See if you can convince him for a barrel sample next time you are in the tasting room!
I don’t expect petit verdot to dominate the Colorado grape-growing landscape. It’s such an intense grape that it will never be a true crowd pleaser on its own. It will have its hard-core fans and others who just don’t care for it. Count me in the former crowd. It’s unique flavors and deep colors are simply fun and are worth a try if the opportunity presents itself.
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.
Friday, July 23, 2010
When it comes to pairing wine and food, sometimes the stars align. The same could be said for the match-up of internationally known chef Juan Cruz Anon and the extensive, innovative cellar of Talon Winery of Palisade for an exclusive wine dinner at Wine Country Inn during Colorado Mountain Winefest Sept. 17, 2010.
Chef Anon’s credentials are impressive. After earning Le Grand Diplome de Cuisine e Pattiesserie from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, he embarked on a 26 year career in haute cuisine, including early stints assisting such culinary luminaries as Paul Bocuse. With 19 years as executive chef, Anon has directed the kitchens of fine restaurants, cruise ships and resorts around the world.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Anon is a life-long hunter and sports fisherman. Growing up in a sports minded family, he also had an early introduction to food preparation with hands-on experience in his family’s restaurant.
His base is in Edwards, CO, where he is Executive Chef for The French Press restaurant, but he also holds positions with an American fishing club and a Guatemalan lodge’s pro fishing team. Well known as a professional hunter and fisherman as well as chef, he has been featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles around the world.
Chef Anon has a great zest for food and adventure, whether fly fishing in croc and hippo infested Zimbabwe River waters, wade fishing the Amazon River or hunting big game on various continents. He also been known to take on cooking challenges that other chefs would avoid.
He confesses that his heart belongs to the world’s ethnic foods, their respective native fish and game and the ancient techniques to prepare them. He currently is working on several cookbooks, including one on fish and game.
His international experience and affinity for nature’s bounty and locally available foods definitely influenced the menu he created to compliment Talon’s wines. He plans to utilize the abundant fresh fruits and produce available from Palisade growers.
For example, Anon pairs Rocky Mountain Trout Ceviche with Talon Reisling, and Pan Seared Foie Gras (served with Bread Pudding, Braised Palisade Peaches and Port Wine Glaze) with Talon Wingspan White.
“We are excited to showcase Chef Anon’s considerable skills at our wine dinner. His menu is innovative, but very approachable,” observes Glenn Foster, Talon Owner/Winemaker.“ I think his pairings are going to be outstanding.”
Foster, who grew up in California wine country, knows his way around the wine business. He learned his trade at Sonoma’s highly regarded Ravenswood Winery, which his father founded. He has 17 years professional, hands-on experience in winemaking. He has been in Colorado 15 years.
After working several years in Colorado wineries, Foster and his wife Natalie opened their Colorado Wine Room in Fruita in May 2005. They purchased St. Kathryn Cellars and the Meadery of the Rockies in January 2008. Over the years, their wines have consistently medaled nationally and internationally.
Foster, who good-naturedly offers to tell his story to anyone interested, says Talon Winery may be Colorado’s most versatile because of its broad spectrum of traditional and innovative wines. Besides Talon, his wine businesses include St. Kathryn Cellars, Confre Cellars, Meadery of the Rockies and the Colorado Wine Room.
The Talon Wine Dinner, which is limited to 48 persons, will cost $125 plus tax and gratuity per person. A Grand Reception will precede the 7 pm dinner in the Inn’s Vineyard Ballroom. Advance reservations are required. To purchase tickets, please contact Joe Scanlon at Ext. 425, Wine Country Inn, 888-855-8330 or 970-464-5777.
Menu Talon Winery Dinner
September 17, 2010
Rocky Mountain Trout Ceviche,
With Watercress and Citrus Dressing
Talon Wingspan White
Pan Seared Foie Gras,
With Bread Pudding, Braised Palisade Peaches and Port Wine Glaze
With Blackberry Brandy Sauce, Seasonal Vegetables Confiture and Sweek Potato Nest
Talon Wingspan Red
Colorado Rack of Lamb,
With Eggplant Caponata, Grilled Polenta Napoleon
topped with Montrachet Goat Cheese and Lavendar Demi-Glace
Meadery of the Rockies Chocolate Cherry Satin
White Chocolate Rissoto and Sour Cherry Compote
Drizzled with Balsamic Reduction