A four-hundred-year-old Tuscan saying observes “where peaches grow, vines thrive.” Peaches grow well at High Country Orchards and Vineyards. Ask the bears! Both bears and humans concur: these are great peaches. Some of them even end up in the White House and others are shipped all over the country. Even though the bears cause some damage at night to the orchards, tearing off branches and gulping the luscious fruit, they don’t seem to like the extra work involved in filling their stomachs with tiny vinifera berries found in the adjacent vineyards, so the grapes escape the predator’s hunger, leaving the pleasure to us. I wonder where else in the wine-world bears visit the vineyards? All I can tell you is that the wild boars have been caught eating the grapes in the Mosel region of Germany, so what makes Colorado bears so finicky?
With wine you are supposed to dream, not of bears without respectable taste buds, but of great vineyards. These vineyards are the result of a dream and the enjoyment of their wines will no doubt stimulate your dreams too. It’s the ethereal aspects of human expectation that fuel the enjoyment of any food or wine lover’s mind and cause them to prematurely salivate. But I also like to know something about the food or wine before I taste it. The knowledge I’ve shared in my book, Experiencing Colorado Wine, may increase the possibilities of your sensory pleasure as you taste. How some people can gulp and eat without thought of where the food comes from and how it was grown seems to me like throwing an impressive measure of pleasure away. It was intriguing to follow vineyard owners, Scott and Theresa High’s, logic and reasonably calculated hopes for their vineyards as we rode together.
Now, you have waited too long for a verbal taste. Scott pours a good sample and the depth of color strikes me. It’s dark, very dark. Yes, and it’s 95% Cab from Theresa’s Vineyard and 5% Cab Franc from Katie’s Vineyard, if you were wondering. Vanilla, blackcurrant, dark cherry fruit (which for me, fortunately, falls short of “plumminess”), and a very distant note of minerality are some of the flavors in the process of courtship. I can easily predict a greater complexity as they marry. No, I can’t get the aroma of peaches or the bears!
Picking at the point of ripeness, they have avoided the all too common herbaceousness of unripe Cabernet — a throwback to its parent, Sauvignon Blanc. This is a typical New World Cabernet from a warm ripening climate, fruit-forward, lush and powerful, a succulent mouthful of sensory pleasure. Loads of ripe fruit and complex flavors cower in the glass, a little reserved to show themselves as you would expect from a grape that is not highly aromatic. However, this is perhaps a Cab that borders on expressiveness, meeting you rather willingly, not as in a Grand Cru Bordeaux where the flavors lie under a blanket of tannin and acid waiting for age to fully release them. This Cabernet holds the tannins to a respectable display and sports the flavors.
All this is presented by the makers of this wine with what I find essential in any great wine: balance and appealing mouthfeel, but please, not without a character and an expression of the place and a sense that an artist (either human or creative nature itself) has somehow been involved. The intense, bold character of this climate and the strength that nature demands of all that would grow in this demanding land is imaged in this wine.
You won’t find another Cabernet quite like this one, and that makes me thankful. True individuality is the extra enjoyment for the senses in a wonderful wine. The flavors linger to complete a rewarding, long finish and, like me, you will put down the glass and ponder the miracles that happen in a vineyard that is nurtured with care.
Without becoming a monster, this is a full and ripe expression of Cabernet Sauvignon that will dress that roast lamb or buffalo steak with the flavors of vibrant berries and dark fruit and you will taste the magic of this promising vineyard.
Tasting Panel notes: awesome package and presentation … great nose … great with grilled meats.
The above article is an excerpt from my book, Experiencing Colorado Wine. You’ll find many great Colorado wines described in it and you’ll find the description of the pairing of several with a great recipes by great Colorado chefs. Order your autographed copy, Experiencing Colorado Wine at Square Market.