Category Archives: wine

Winery: Crash, Not Crush

Wayward truck destroys Aspen Peak Winery.

aspenpeakwinery-logoEvery time I’ve come down the steep hill into Bailey on U.S. Highway 285, I’ve been astonished that no one has plowed into the that has been housing the Aspen Peak Cellars & Winery. Now someone has.

Terrifying runaway truck barreled into the Aspen Peak Cellar and Winery in Bailey.
Terrifying runaway truck barreled into the Aspen Peak Cellar and Winery in Bailey in the middle of the night.

Around midnight on Monday, the driver of a semi-trailer fell asleep or lost control or something and slammed into the winery , destroying the building and rendering the operation a “total loss,” according to authorities and the owners.

At this time of year, wineries typically think about the grape harvest and crush. Marcel and Julie Flukiger began making wine as a hobby before starting the Aspen Peak Winery, first in Conifer, where they operated restaurant and winery. After the restaurant’s event venue, a 140-year-old barn, burned, they moved the winery to this vulnerable property in Bailey. Let’s hope that if they relocate again, that the third time’s the charm and the next location doesn’t suffer some unforeseen disaster.

Denver Food & Wine Fest

Eat, drink and celebrate local chefs and winemakers.

denverfoodwinefest2016-logoThe Denver Food + Wine Festival is six days events celebrating the good life at the table. It takes place downtown on the Pepsi Center grounds, Metro State and he Curtis Hotel. Here’s the roundup. Click here for details and to buy tickets.

Tuesday, September 6. Culinary Cinema Night,  part of the ongoing Culinary Cinema Series, a partnership between the Colorado Restaurant Association and Denver Film Society, the Denver Food + Wine Festival will kick off with an evening comprised of great food, great drinks and a great movie. An exclusive screening of an engaging culinary film will be paired with wine, cocktails and bites from Denver’s notable chefs.

Wednesday, September 7. Dinner Under the Stars, which is new for 2016, celebrates the best of what Colorado’s culinary scene has to offer. Each course of the curated, five-course prix fixe meal is designed by a different acclaimed chef and served in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Continue reading Denver Food & Wine Fest

‘Gourmet on the Gore’ Fest on Labor Day

10th annual food and wine festival in Vail.

GourmetOnTheGore-logoA Taste of Colorado, the long-running Labor Day Weekend tradition of food, entertainment, carnival attractions and vendors galore, packs ’em in to Denver’s Civic Center Park. But an option in the mountains holds more epicurean appeal –.away from the Front Range’s late summer heat. The commonality, in addition to being in Colorado, is that entry to both events is free. You pay for what you eat.

The 10th annual Gourmet on Gore, a comparatively new classic culinary festival, takes place in the heart of Vail on Labor Day Weekend (September 2-5) and features gastronomic creations from some of Vail’s most renowned chefs, sips from world-class vintners, exceptional beers and events that highlight the natural beauty of Vail. In short, you won’t fine BBQ turkey legs or funnel cake.

In addition to the open-air tasting with wine, beer and spirits selections and  food from the Vail Valley’s top restaurants, Gourmet on Gore offers also offers a variety of additional pairing events and outdoor activities throughout the weekend. The Tasting Tour kicks things off on Friday, September 4, and Open-Air Tastings take place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5 and 6, from 11 a.m.  to  6 p.m. Brunch on Bridge Street closes the weekend on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Find a full schedule of events, lodging packages and other details or purchase Tasting Tour tickets online, FoMoInfo: 970.476.6797 x712.

Governor’s Cup Awarded to Top Wineries

Governor Hickenlooper presents “his” wine honors.

ColoradoWineGovCup-logoColorado’s robust wine industry celebrated its best wineries, cideries and meaderies (and I just made up those last two) at the Governor’s Cup do at the History Colorado Center. Governors do not always appear at this annual event, but Governor Hickenlooper was there, wineglass in hand, to announce winners of the wine competition for wines, ciders, meads and fruit wines produced in 2015.

In addition to a Hickenlooper handshake and a plaque, a dozen winning wines from grapes are part of the year’s Governor’s Cup Case, used for VIP occasions to promote the state’s wines and related beverages.  Colorado Wine Industry Development Boardnotes that there are currently 140 wineries in the state, The award event included small plates from some of the Front Range’s leading chefs. Here are some pix:

Chefs Samir Mohammed of the History Center's Café Rendezvous and function space and Daniel Asher of Boulder's soon-to-open River and Woods.
Chefs Samir Mohammed of the History Center’s Café Rendezvous and function space and Daniel Asher of Boulder’s soon-to-open River and Woods.
Getting ready to set out small plates wiith big flavors.
Getting ready to set out small plates with big flavors.
Menus at each tasting station were wine-forward with food secondary.
Menus at each tasting station were wine-forward with food secondary.
Summer beets, Morbier cheese and black garlic and mint vinaigrette from Mark Mark Reggiannini of Denver's Café Marmotte.
Summer beets, Morbier cheese and black garlic and mint vinaigrette from Mark Mark Reggiannini of Denver’s Café Marmotte.
“Not bad for a software engineer,” commented my husband, who once worked with Nancy James shown here with Governor John Hickenlooper. Nancy and her husband’s Whitewater Hill Vineyards captured three awards for its remarkable reds.

Governor’s Cup Honors Colorado Wines

Denver event to honor winning wines, plus top chefs’ food sampling.

ColoradoWineGovCup-logoGovernor John Hickenlooper was famously a beer guy, opening the Wynkoop Brewery with three colleagues back in 1988, the year that I moved to Colorado. He now presides over a state with a robust wine industry too, and on August 4, the winning wines from the annual Governor’s Cup are revealed in a public tasting event at the Colorado History Center.

The Colorado Wine Governor’s Cup is the only statewide wine- making competition exclusively for the Centennial State’s wines, including 236 wines from 33 local wineries.  The panel of such experts as sommeliers, chefs, writers and wine experts annually evaluate the submitted wines to select the 18 (12 grape wines and 6 cider/mead/fruit wines). They are assembled into the “Wine Case” used to promote Colorado’s best.

The Governor’s Cup celebration on August 4 provides the opportunity to taste all the medalists  paired with small bites prepared by some of the area’s best chefs. These include Elise Wiggins (formerly Panzano and soon opening Cattivella) , Mark Reggiannini (Cafe Marmotte), Ben Davis (Tony’s Market Dry Creek) and Ashlea Tobeck (Escoffier School of Culinary Arts).

VIP entry ($90) is at 6:30 p.m. and includes a chance to sample 2015 winners paired with an extended menu by Chef Samir Mohammad of the History Colorado Center’s Café Rendezvous. General admission ($45) begins at 7:30 p.m.  The event ends at 9:30 p.m. Governor Hickenlooper presents the awards to the wineries. FoMoInfo or tickets, call 303-869-9177 or click here.

Don’t expect to see Canyon Wind Cellars, which is closing on July 31, having planted its first grape vines in 1991, early in the current Colorado wine era.  The owners and wine-makers, Jay and Jennifer Christianson, are retiring. I wish them well.

Pinot & Proseco Featured at Keystone Wine School

Wine and jazz at mid-July festival.

KeystoneWine&Jazz-logo.jpgThe Ps have it at the wine school featured at the Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival returning to River Run Village on July 16-17.  Pinot and Prosecco (the first two Ps) and are featured with “professor” is Joel Peterson, the engaging founder of California’s Ravenswood Winery (and the third P). Peterson is also known as “the Godfather of Zin” (think Zinfindel).

Offers what organizers call  “an enhanced lineup of wine seminars.” But the biggie, as always, is, as well as the two-day Village Grand Tasting with over 300 varieties of wines, preceded by a Reserve Wine Tasting on Friday evening that kick off the festivities.  Saturday’s festivities start at noon with free jazz music and the wine will be poured Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.

Wine tasting tickets range from $60 for a one-day wine tasting pass with food tickets to $100 for a two-day pass with food tickets.  At the door, a one-day wine tasting pass is $65 and a two-day tasting pass is $120.

Durango Wine Experience This Weekend

Food & wine showcased in Southwest Colorado event.

DurangoWineExperience2016-logoI seem to remember being at the very first Durango Wine Experience a decade ago. If not that one, I must have been at the second. In any event, it was an early one and it was terrific. Seminars and tastings, chefs and winemakers occupied Durango‘s charming Main Street. It’s kicking off today for the 10th time. Wish I were there.

Half-dozen educational seminars start today. The Walk-About Durango, the signature tasting event, provides attendees to enjoy a casual, multi-location stroll in downtown Durango tasting wine, beer, spirits and drinking in the artsy atmosphere. It takes place tomorrow, Friday, May 6 from 4 to7 p.m.

The Grand Tasting is grand indeed, with top local chefs and scores terrific wineries, distributors, breweries and distilleries from around the world featured on Saturday, May 7 from 3 to 6:30 p.m. If you can still make it, click here for tickets. If not, put it on your radar screen for 2017. I am.