As I have said, emotion and wine are inseparable. We taste with our emotions, so what does that mean to us? Trying to separate a wine from your emotional responses robs wine, or any food for that matter, of its magical touch. S’mores, for example, toasted over a campfire in the forest, taste so much better than the same treat at home in front of the fireplace. Candlelight improves a wine too. Colorado wine consumed in Colorado’s scenic wonders will go down in your memory as one of your greatest wine experiences.
When in Grand Junction, you should take time to experience wine in this way. You might visit the Tilman Bishop State Wildlife Area on the East Orchard Mesa for a similar site or drink wine on the edge of the Mesa at the Avant Vineyards, their wine of course.
Try this. Driving to Terror Creek and Stone Cottage is an experience that will test your nerve and thrill your senses, but you will discover world-class views of the massive West Elks Mountains that are akin in drama to the Alps of Switzerland. Artfully sculpted wines from these two wineries make it all the more exhilarating. Step outside the tasting room and soak up the drama of the landscape. You will be entertained with emotions that a dinner table will never be able to emulate.
Tasting Colterris Wines’ full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or their Cabernet Franc, with their lush fruit and balancing acids, in their famous peach orchard, replete with the aromas of both, will not leave you without a sense of connectedness to nature and its mutual harmonies. Vineyards and orchards unite to emulate a taster’s dream at Colterris. Experience both — peaches and wine.
The clear blue skies, the bulk of the mountains, and the canyon’s breezes will make Canyon Wind’s wines exhibit a real sense of place. Slow down at their simple picnic spot and sip their wines.
Stop at Maison la Belle Vie’s for their wine and cheese. The pairing is ancient, but sitting under the trees at the winery is relaxation at its best. The owner is French; the winemaker is an Aussie; the place is Colorado, and the wine, satisfying. If you know what to look for, you’ll find reminders of both France and Australia in the way the wine is made, while the brogues will make you wonder where you are. Perhaps soon you can expect a restaurant, as John wants to flesh out the experience of wine with more food.
Stay in luxury at the Two Rivers Chateau in Grand Junction. Waste away the last hours of the day on the balcony of the Chateau, overlooking the vineyard and the Grand Valley with a bottle of wine selected from the display in your room or purchased at the tasting room. While the sun bids farewell, kissing the tops of the Book Cliffs, your experience will be complete.
Is it lunchtime and are you on the front range of Colorado? Then don’t miss Creekside Cellar’s winery and restaurant in Evergreen, where the wines at the table are the same price as the wines you purchase at the counter — no markup. A fabulous chef and an outside balcony suspended over Bear Creek will surely hit the spot and make a memory you could want to make a habit. Yes, bears and elk visit here too. There are photos to prove it. You may be lucky and have a sighting while you are there!
It’s a small, self-guided tour, but with glass in hand you can learn the basics of winemaking at Boulder Creek’s winery, and those wines are among the very best in Colorado. Tour the winery and sip.
In medieval days, the monks made wine and grew the grapes on the land surrounding their Monastery. Holy Cross is a spectacular Abbey that reminds you of wine’s Christian heritage. It is the pride of Cañon City and The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey offers a large and well-stocked gift store. Indulge in their great wines at a table under the trees beside a small vineyard and think of those days when the monks made detailed notes of their vintages, viticulture, and winemaking, handing down to us the secrets of wine and terroir. Think also of the wine. It’s great!
And there are more (many more) sites, sounds, and tastes to return wine to its rightful place — stirring or calming our emotions. Create your own Colorado wine experience.
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.