Having first met in Crested Butte, fallen in love in Colorado, and cultivated our passion for making really good wine here in Colorado, there’s no place we’d rather be. There’s something about this land, the people, and the way time passes here. You can see it in the vibrant sunsets, draping the sandstone cliffs that tower over the Western Slope’s orchards and vineyards, feel it while shaking hands and exchanging laughs with a farmer as you load up the season’s harvest, and taste it while taking that first sip of a new vintage, as fall’s cooler air funnels into the valley and golden aspens glow in the low-angled afternoon sun.
Colorado is truly a special place, and we aim to share as much of it with you as possible. From the terroir, to the history, and the adventures that await, come back here often for our family’s favorites of Colorado and Crested Butte.
In the last few years Cabernet Franc has become one ofthe featured red varietals in Colorado. The grape is consistent year to year, producing high quality wines that show raspberry, strawberry, cassis, plum, bell pepper, tobacco, and spice. Cabernet Franc fares well in Colorado’s altitude, dry climate, and shorter growing season. It historically has enjoyed success in sandy soils, which is prevalent in Colorado, producing a more robust wine. It is early to bud break and early to ripen. This can be challenging in the spring during frosty evenings in late April and early May, but allows for full maturity at harvest in late September.
Through DNA testing it has been confirmed that Cabernet Franc has its origins in Bordeaux, where it is used extensively in blending. The aromatics of Cabernet Franc are unmatched, making it a lovely component in red wine blends.
Shortly after it was originally planted, cuttings were taken to the Loire Valley where the varietal thrives. A 100% Cabernet Franc wine is more common from the Chinon area of the Loire. The rosés from Chinon are also made from Cabernet Franc. So in that vein, Colorado has used more of a Loire style of utilizing the famed grape as a single varietal wine.
Fun Fact: Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc are the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Palisade Café recently said, ’Holy shit - we’re all LOVING your Cabernet Franc. WOW!’
The warmer temperatures are here, and spring is inevitably on it’s way. On the western slope of Colorado the cherries and apricots are starting to bud out, with a litany of fruiting trees and vines to follow. The grape vines have been pruned and are ready for bud break, which typically occurs around April 20th.
Last year at this time our landscape looked very different, the land was parched and dry, very dry. The snowpack was at record lows throughout Colorado and the entire west, naturally leading to dusty lands, fewer wildflowers, stressed trees and vines, smaller amounts of water in our rivers, and reservoirs that look empty.
In fact, Colorado Reservoirs are going to be starting this spring at their lowest levels since being originally filled, even with the above average snowfall this winter. It was exciting times for the ski towns of Colorado, as we saw historic avalanches running all around us. The above average snowfall will begin to fill the reservoirs, which in turn can be used for farming and growing produce on the Western Slope of Colorado.
These two regions supply much of Colorado with fruit, such as peaches, apples, plums, and of course grapes for making into wine. This is great news for Colorado and meeting our water needs within the state. Although most water managers believe we will not fill our reservoirs this summer due to the parched earth from previous years, increased water usage, and down stream shortages.
How might all this impact grapes within our state? Well thats hard to say. We do know that water is vital for shoot growth, vine health, and optimal leaf conditions. All of these factors ultimately impact the quality of the fruit, which directly relates to the quality of the wine.
In the wine world folks often refer to the ‘Goldilocks Condition,’ where the earth is the perfect distance from the sun, allowing for the right water balance on earth to sustain all life… plant and animal.
THE BEST DRINK IN CORTEZ~
The Nitro Cold Brew Coffee craze is literally found in every Colorado town, much like cannabis dispensaries. The very best cup of nitro cold brew can be found in the southwest corner of the state. Not in the hip towns of Durango and Telluride, but in the drive through farm town of Cortez. This quintessential four corners town rests on the edge of Colorado, with Utah, New Mexico and Arizona all within an hours drive. Right smack in the middle of this town is The Pie Marker, a local favorite with amazing bagels, hand pies, cookies, cupcakes, and pecan pie. They also happen to serve up a cold brew that tops any I have tried in presentation and taste.
This Nitro Cold Brew is special, served up to look more like a Guinness then a coffee! It is delivered with so much foam that is tastes like it has cream in it! Try pairing it with the chocolate torte for an extra decadent treat,
Next time you head to the southwest corner of the state for a spin at Phil’s World and a lap on the Rib Cage, stop in for a Nitro Coffee @ The Pie Marker!
The Pie Marker ~17 N. Harrison Street~Cortez, CO~970.560.6039~http://www.piemakerbakery.com
Two of our favorite growers in the Grand Valley AVA are Black Bear Orchards and Colorado Vineyard Specialists. Joe has had the pleasure of working with these guys for a decade.
Black Bear Orchards is run by Brain and Rebecca Cox. They have over 150 acres of fruit orchard, including Cherries, Peaches, Plums, and Wine Grapes. In our opinion he produces some of the best Colorado Fruit, often organic and now found in Krogers/City Markets across the state. You can also purchase from them directly. Brain is a 2nd generation farmer in the Palisade region.
Kaibab Sauvage owns and operates Colorado Vineyard Specialists. He has been in the vineyard most of his life and farms over 50 acres of wine grapes in the Grand Valley.
When in Palisade be sure to check out the Palisade Café, and our favorite spots in Grand Junction, Bin 707 Food Bar, and Taco Party with Josh Neimenberg.
1 lb 80% lean beef meat
1 tsp soy sauce/tamari
1/2 tsp salt
1 pinch pepper
1 small clove garlic
1 tbl wine
butter to taste
4 american singles/cheddar cheese
4 leaves of butterhead lettuce
4 slices of heirloom tomatoes
Choosing a favorite trail in Crested Butte, is not for the faint-hearted. The high alpine meadows, aspen forested hills, and rocky outcroppings provide endless opportunity. Weather and season will most definitely factor into your decision of where to roll on any given day.
One of our favorite bike rides is Snodgrass. When Joe and Shamai first met in Crested Butte eons ago, this was the backyard ride. The trail has just enough shade on hot sunny days, a couple gnarly root sections, fun flowy downhill, wildflowers galore, and tackiness after a rain. TIP: Check for season closures before you ride.
With so many trails to choose from do not get lost in finding the best one, just get out there and play!