Heading to DLW 2012 with wines in hand
In a day or so I’ll be heading to the Front Range for the DrinkLocalWine 2012 conference Saturday in Denver, and as part of the festivities I’ll be taking three bottles of wine from western Colorado.
As I noted recently in this space, the DrinkLocalWine.com movement was initiated by wine blogger Jeff Siegel (The Wine Curmudgeon) and Washington Post wine writer Dave McIntyre, both of whom want to see more attention paid to U.S. wines not coming from California, Washington or Oregon.
Since the conference attracts bloggers from around the country, there will be a lot curiosity about Colorado wines, and I’m sure there will be many Colorado wines standing around, trying to get our attention.
The hosts asked a number of us to bring some local wines to share and since this isn’t my first rodeo I know three bottles of wine won’t go very far when you hang around with people who drink wine for a living.
The great news, however, is that with everyone else also bringing three bottles to share, a lot of really great local wines, from Colorado and elsewhere, will be uncorked and passed around, each one trying to win the Miss Congeniality award.
Deciding which three wines to take was the hardest part. I previously decided on three pre-requisites: the wines had to be made with Colorado-grown grapes; they should be varietals that have shown they do well in Colorado; and (hopefully) they came from different parts of the Western Slope. I shopped at Fisher’s Liquor Barn because of its wide selection of Colorado wines and stumbled almost immediately after discovering many local wines I haven’t yet tasted, an oversight I hope to correct eventually.
Second, my plan was take one wine from the Grand Valley, one from the North Fork Valley and one from the Four Corners. However, the Four Corners wine I was seeking, Guy Drew Vineyards’ red blend Metate, was gone, a blank space deep as my arm (I know because I stuck my arm back there, hoping a bottle was stuck way in the back) staring at me from the shelf. Instead, I chose a Reeder Mesa 2008 Grand Valley Cabernet Franc ($18.99), reasoning the Doug Vogel’s vineyards near Whitewater were sufficiently far (like 9 miles) to qualify as non-Grand Valley.
The North Fork selection was a bit easier: Alfred Eames Cellars 2008 Colorado Syrah. I talked recently with Alfred Eames winemaker Eames Peterson who confided his opinion that the 2008 syrah was the best he’s ever made. Color me sold.
The Grand Valley selection was the most difficult. The area has such a great range of excellent wines, from a lot of talented winemakers, that I wanted to lug a dozen bottles up to the checkout. I already had two reds and was looking for a distinctive white wine, something a bit different than the corral of chardonnays, sauvignon blancs and rieslings lining Fisher’s shelves. I hemmed and hawed, went back and forth, picking up bottles and setting them down again, for so long one of the customers asked me if I worked there.
Finally getting the hint, I decided on Whitewater Hill’s 2009 Grand Valley Gewurtztraminer, a grape that does surprisingly well in the hot climes of the Grand Valley.
You can participate in the conference (9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Metro State College, tickets start at $35) without bringing your own wine. Check it out here. You also can follow the festivities on Facebook, Twitter and countless wine blogs, including this one.