Food & wine showcased in Southwest Colorado event.
I 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.
Downtown Boulder food event spotlights restaurants.
The weather forecast for this coming weekend is uninspiring, but I hope the weathercasters are wrong and this Sunday afternoon is dry. The seventh annual Taste of Pearl is a picaresque event with 15 Boulder restaurants paired with 15 Colorado wineries that are hosted in 15 of downtown Boulder’s best boutiques and galleries.
Attendees will enjoy a stroll from one location to the next a lot more if it is not raining. It takes place on April 17 from 2 to 6 p.m. in the heart of what is called “America’s foodiest town.” Click here for participating restaurants and here for participating wineries.
VIP tickets are sold out, but some general tickets are still available for $65 if bought online, and a limited number may be on sale for $70 the day of the event at the Visitor Information Center(1301 Pearl Street in front of the courthouse).
- Samples of food and wine from all participating restaurants and wineries.
- Keepsake wine glass.
- A re-usable wine carry bag.
- A compostable, re-usable wine plate to hold your wine glass while tasting the food.
- $5 off a bottle of wine from one of the participating wineries.
- Special Offers for event attendees at hosting retail locations (including drawings, free gifts with purchase, discounts and more).
New location for 12th annual festival.
The Denver International Wine Festival has moved around metro Denver locations from the University of Denver to the Omni Interlocken, but this year, it will be at yet another venue, the recently opened Westin Hotel at Denver International Airport. The 12th Annual Denver International Wine Festival is a three-day wine and food festival showcasing the largest selection of international and domestic wines of any Grand Tasting in the Rocky Mountain region. Mark your calendar now.
- Wednesday, November 2. Grand Vintners Dinner, a multi-course winemaker’s dinner. Featured winery TBA.
- Thursday November 3. Pairsine Chefs Fine Food and Wine Pairing Competition, with 10 celebrated chefs (TBA) will each have been assigned two of the gold-medal-winning wines from the 2016 Denver International Wine Competition. They must create a food pairing for each wine, giving attendees a chance to same 20 food and wine pairings. It’s my favorite part of the festival. A new VIP ticket allows one-hour early access, a raw seafood bar, premium cocktails and a meet-and-greet with the chefs.
- Friday November 4. The Grand Tasting of International Wines and Food from 4 to 9 p.m. (VIP) or 6 to 9 p.m. (general admission). This is the region’s largest wine tasting event for consumers, media and trade, with more than 80 wineries and distilleries, plus delectable food and wine tastings, food products, wine accessories, a silent auction and fine art.
Cost: $95 to $175 depending on event and ticket type. Other details to come.
Single-vineyard wines + single-estate chocolate a fortuitous pairing.
Single sourcing seems to be a thing these days — single-vineyard wines and single-estate coffee, tea and now chocolate are capturing connoisseurs’ fancy. Boulder’s Settembre Cellars hosts a Valentines Weekend pairing of four of its own single-vineyard wines with four sweet bites of Boulder’s Fortuna Chocolates — two bonbons made with single-estate cacao and two ganaches.
I’m familiar with Settembre Cellars’ traditional, Italian-inspired wines, and I learned about Fortuna from a Daily Camera piece called “For the Love of Chocolate.” The take-away is that cacao beans grown in the shade of mango trees possess unique flavor characteristics that have captivated the trio that runs Fortuna Chocolate in its “mobile chocolate lab,” which is a glamorous way of describing a trailer
Frankly, this might all be too subtle for me, but I will rely on the refined tastebuds of those who can judge the merits of single-sourced chocolate or, for that matter, single-vineyard wines. Meanwhile, I do know that nothing says Valentines Day like the combo of wonderful wine and divine chocolate, regardless of the provenance. The Settembre Cellars tasting room is hosting this inspired local pairing this weekend — Saturday and Sunday, February 13-14 from 1 to 4 p.m. The cost is $17 online or $19 at the door. The tasting room is at 1501 Lee Hill Road, Boulder.
Settembre Cellars puts a colorful spin on wine tastings.
I didn’t pay too much attention to the adult coloring book phenomenon until I heard a piece about it on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered,” and now, I notice the fad/fashion/trend all over the place.
Blake and Tracy Eliasson, the owners of Settembre Cellars, also noticed. The winery in north Boulder hosts adult coloring sessions every Sunday afternoon from 1 to 6 p.m. Participants can bring their own coloring books or make a selection from Settembre’s library. While they’re coloring, guests can enjoy they winery’s elegant and balanced wines, available by the glass or flight — or bottle (to take home). I just wonder whether people get wilder as they imbibe — or whether they have problems staying within the lines. If they do, they probably don’t really care.
The tasting room is open Thursdays through Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring picnic fare while they sample the wines. 1501 Lee Hill Road, #16, Boulder; 303-532-1892.
Two gourmet mountain dinners & weekend après-ski at slopeside.
It seems that 23 is becoming a lucky number for Aspen foodies. Noteworthy dinners on Aspen area mountains this winter are special evenings at Buttermilk and Snowmass on the 23rd of each of the next three months (and one on the 22nd).
The Cliffhouse at Buttermilk hosts three full-moon dinners (January 23, February 22 and March 23). Guests must skin/hike up the designated uphill route on Tiehack and ski/snowboard/hike down on the designated route. No sleds of any kind are permitted. Headlamps and reflective clothing are strongly recommended. The cost is $145.
Ride a snowcat to the Lynn Britt Cabin at Snowmass holds two specialty dinners: a $145 four-course cheese-pairing dinner with Laura Werlin on January 23 and a $185 four-course American Chophouse Dinner (i.e., steak featured) by chef de cuisine Robert McConnell with paired wines selected and presented by Master Sommelier Jay Fletcher on February 23.
If these dream dinners are not in the budget (and they certainly aren’t for most of us), affordable après-ski comes to the Lynn Britt Cabin every Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning Friday, February 12 through the end of the season. Guests can go local with $6 Woody Creek Distillers Gin & Juice Cocktails with food specials starting at $5. Entertainment is to include DJ Naka G and Guest DJs, giveaways and a fire pit with outdoor lounge seating.
Metro area wine festival for a song.
I plan to be at the upcoming Denver International Wine Festival for several events. I am again honored to be a judge at the October 29 Parisine wine/food pairing competition, when 10 leading regional chefs will vie for honors in their creativity in preparing dishes to pair with 20 gold medal-winning wines from 2015 Denver International Wine Competition. I’m always blown away by the creativity these chefs exhibit.
The Grand Tasting is the highlight of every wine festival, and organizers of the metro Denver event have dropped the price on entry to the Grand Tasting on October 30 — more than 400 wines, beers and spirits, plus small food samples and food for sale — for three indulgent hours, 6 to 9 p.m. To buy tickets for just $45 each — regularly $75, including a logo glass, go to <https://www.facebook.com/Denverwinefest/app_143103275748075> .
The Festival takes place at the Omni Interlocken Resort in Broomfield, conveniently just off US 36 whose upgrade is almost complete. Spend the night at the Omni for only $99, take a taxi, use Uber or have a designated driver so you can fully enjoy the evening.