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.
Summer 2020 has been consistent with the rest of this challenging year. In fact, we can track the mayhem, as it pertains to wine anyway, back to last October when growers across the state of Colorado experienced an early frost which took its toll on many of the grapes and grapevines. This fall frost along with the April frost led to the loss of a substantial amount of fruit, including grapes. As you visited farmers' markets around the state, you may have noticed a shortage of cherries and other early season fruit as well. the grapes ripened quickly with the unseasonably warm spring and into the scorching hot, dry summer months. Ideally for wine the grapes need good acidity and sugar content, despite the stress grapes are looking good this season.
Late summer is harvest time at the vineyards, and just last week we saw the first of the Sauvignon Blanc being harvested in Palisade, CO. This year's harvest came 24 days earlier than last year's, but we were ready for them! Palisade may be famous for its peaches, but the same climate that lends itself to sweet, juicy, gorgeous stone fruit also lends itself to some excellent wine grapes! Right now we have our rose and that sav blanc fermenting, and they are both smelling and tasting great!
We recently visited some of the vineyards and saw that the red grapes still on the vines are looking wonderful! The growers shared some concern about this storm that we're seeing today, but are hopeful that the temps won't drop too low in those regions of the state. While we aren't seeing quite the bounty this year as we have in years past, our plan is to procure enough Colorado grapes this year to keep our production moving in an upward trajectory to meet the increasing demand that we're seeing. This year we'll be doubling production of our PétNat, so if you loved it there will be more, and if you missed it you'll have another chance to taste it this coming spring. We're excited to continue producing our wines with this year's grapes and then to share those wines with you!
If you joined us for First Fridays Art Walk in July or August, you may have noticed a series of linoleum block prints adorning the walls. These are just a few of the pieces that local Crested Butte artist John Fellows has created throughout his carreer. Inspired by his international travels as well as his home in Colorado, John calls on motifs of nature, folkloric characters, and his sense of adventure to create layers of shapes and imagery that come together in his hand-cut block prints. Each print is created by first sketching an image, then tracing it backwards, then cutting and etching each and every line into linoleum, and finally sculpting them together into a block. The linoleum block then serves as an exquisitely detailed rubber stamp which is used to print the final image onto paper. Fellows loves using found objects including antique maps and letters that date as far back as the 1880's as the backdrops for his block prints. Once printed, the layers of the linoleum block come together for a clean finish, but in fact the piece is far more multidimensional than the vintage paper it is printed on. The process is long and sometimes tedious for the artist, but - as you'll see next time you visit our tasting room - the result is intricate and beautiful. John's work has been featured on festival posters, and on products by companies such as Smartwool, Element Skateboards, and other major outdoor brands. We are pleased to exhibit his work in our Gunnison tasting room throughout the summer and fall.
To celebrate the Summer Solstice this year, I attended a backyard wine tasting. I am so grateful for the generosity and creativity of my friends who hosted the occasion - what a fun evening! Buckle Family Wine brought their entire catalog of Colorado wines, ranging from a refreshing and flavorful rose to a deep, bold cabernet blend. At the request of the host, each guest brought a dish to pair with one of the seven varieties. Joe Buckel and his wife Shamai guided us through our tasting, describing the varietals and the creation of each wine, and each guest then presented their paired dish. Over the course of about three hours, we ate and drank, chatted and learned about the incredible variety of wine that is possible with 100% Colorado-grown fruit.
I was impressed by the affordable price point of Buckel Family Wines, which seems to average about $20 per bottle. In the past I have been disappointed to purchase a bottle at other tasting events, only to bring it home and realize that the ambiance and company of the event had added flavor to an otherwise flat-tasting glass of wine. This is not the case here! Last night, paired with slow roasted pork spare ribs from Calder Farm and a crisp salad from our backyard garden, we opened a bottle of the Cabernet Franc that I purchased at the Solstice tasting. The bright cherry color was equally as vibrant in my glass at home, and the bold yet mellow flavor profile was just as delicious in my kitchen on our mix-matched dinner plates as it was outdoors, surrounded by good friends, on the longest night of the year.
Consider having Buckel Family Wine at your next event... virtually or in your backyard!