One last wrap on the Colorado Urban Winefest
DENVER – Gee, I survived almost too-much-fun Friday night at Row 14, waded through the 1,500 or so wine enthusiasts that kindly showed up for the third annual Colorado Urban Winefest on Saturday (where I paired a grilled PBJ with smoked bacon on whole wheat with a Boulder Creek 2010 Cabernet Franc) and then took a serious stumble Monday when I
screwed up misstated the facts in my column for my real job at the The Daily Sentinel.
Arrgghh, as pirates would say.
I got confused, or distracted, or just simply wasn’t being mindful. Fortunately, you don’t have to see the crash, although there are a few readers in Grand Junction and elsewhere who this morning are mightily surprised to find out several winemakers have moved to new digs, courtesy of my writing.
So, ugh, let’s move on, shall we?
Overall, Colorado Urban Winefest continues to improve with age, not unlike the Colorado wine industry itself. Final attendance numbers for Saturday’s third annual Colorado Urban Winefest presented by Westminster Total Beverage came out Monday and indicated around 1,500 wine enthusiasts showed up Saturday at Infinity Park in Glendale.
When I spied Kyle Schlachter of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board schlepping a bit of lunch through Saturday’s crowd, he mentioned strong last-minute tickets sales and healthy walk-up traffic as contributing to the pleasant turn-out.
“I’m really happy with the turnout ,” said Cassidee Schull, director of the Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology and it seems everyone else was, also. It’s also likely the temperate weather (unlike 2012 when the thermometer was topping out at around 102) – Saturday’s mix of sun and clouds with a cool breeze along with the extensive acres of grass fields – kept fest-goers and winery representatives comfortable all afternoon.
“Yeah, this is a great place,” agreed Mike Thompson of Boulder Creek Winery, one of the 36 wineries present. “I really like the layout here.”
Among the selections Thompson was pouring was the Boulder Creek 2011 Colorado Dry Rosé, which Friday was one of the dry rosés competing for the Governor’s Cup Wine Competition.
Many people familiar with rosé automatically drift away from what they think will be something sweet but a recent trend among Colorado winemakers (Canyon Wind Cellars and Garfield Estates also offer dry rosés) to produce a dry rosé with great fruit has revived interest in the wine.
“It takes a little education, and you have to get them to taste it, but once you do, it’s really popular,” Thompson said. The winemaker is his wife, Jackie Thompson, whose wines always show well in competitions.
The competition must have been close, but the 47-Ten 2012 Grand Valley Rosé from Canyon Wind Cellars was named Best Rosé at the Governor’s Cup. Jay and Jennifer Christianson of Canyon Wind Cellars also won a Double Gold for their 2010 Grand Valley Petit Verdot.
Michelle Cleveland of Creekside Cellars also produces a delightful dry rosé but it’s light-gold in color, similar to a pinot grigio. I wasn’t able to talk with her during Saturday’s crush of people but will get back to you on that item.
As we mentioned Sunday, Michelle was the winner of the Governor’s Cup Wine Competition with her 2010 Grand Valley Cabernet Franc, which I diligently paired with that grilled PB&J with smoked bacon on whole-grain wheat. Highly recommended.
Around 225 wines were judged by the tasting panel of experts including restaurateurs, sommeliers, writers and chefs, most of whom seemed quite pleased with their task.
“They showed tremendous excitement over all the Bordeaux red grapes produced in Colorado, including merlot,” said Doug Caskey, executive director of the CWIDB. No, I don’t know why he singled out merlot, but you can ask him.
One of the judges, wine blogger Jeff Siegel (“The Wine Curmudgeon”), noted the competition “was easily the best showing from Colorado in the decade or so I have judged its wines.”
I appreciate Jeff’s remarks, since he’s attended several Drink Local Wine conferences and has a good idea of how the “other 47” are doing in their wine production.
I just hope he doesn’t read my newspaper version of this column. Arrgghh.