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.
Things are getting busy here in the winery this spring!
Bottling the reds-
Much of the winter was spent preparing our red wines from previous vintages for bottling. We ‘racked’ each wine, moving it from barrel to tank, and allowed the wine to settle before bottling. We don’t fine or filter our red wines, so careful racking and time for tank settling help us achieve bright, clear reds with a lot of aromatics and mouthfeel. Once the wine has settled in the tank, we are ready to bottle.
This winter we bottled the 2019 Pinot Noir, 2019 Cinsault, 2019 Cabernet Franc and the 2018 Red Blend. We have a small bottling machine in the winery that allows us to bottle everything in house. Bottling days can be long and repetitive, but we have a great team of volunteers to make it fun, and we always enjoy a delicious lunch paired with our newly bottled wine.
Preparing the Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc-
Along with getting all of our red wine ready to bottle and sell this summer, we’ve also been working on our 2020 Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, especially now with the warmer weather! Right now, we are cold stabilizing our Rosé and Sauv Blanc to prepare them for filtering and bottling. Cold stabilizing is a winery process in which the wine is chilled to just above its freezing point for about two weeks. During this time the tartrates crystallize and precipitate. Once this process is finished, we can then rack the clean wine to a new tank and leave behind the crystals.
Most of this winter has been preparing our new releases for the summer season, and we’re very excited about them. Keep your eyes out for the new vintages to try this spring and summer and let us know what you think!
Pronounced, ‘san-so’, Cinsault is a red grape varietal that is known for its light body, fruit forward characteristics, and aromatics. Cinsault is from the south of France, most commonly found in the Languedoc region, southern Rhone, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Cinsault can be found around the world, but it is often called other names such as Ottanvianello in Italy, Black Prince in Australia, and Hermitage in South Africa.
Most often in winemaking Cinsault is used for rosés or as a blending wine because it adds freshness, fruit, and aromatic qualities to heavier reds like Carignan, Syrah or Grenache. Some argue that because Cinsault is a high-yielding grape with lower tannins, it should just be used as a blending tool, but we definitely don’t see it that way. The lightness in body, acid, fruit forwardness and touch of spice create a wine that is incredibly drinkable on its own and ready to open in its youth. Cinsault is also very drought tolerant, can withstand high winds, and ripens earlier in the season (avoiding fall frosts), which make it a varietal that is very well suited for Colorado. We source our Cinsault from Black Bear Orchards in Palisade and they do a great job of farming the fruit!
Because it’s so drinkable, you can honestly pair our Cinsault with whatever you’re cooking! I personally recommend it with a stew or braised meat, but it is also delicious with pizza, seafood, cheese and more. It’s also a wonderful summer wine to have outside, with friends, served slightly chilled. Cheers!
Last week we had a virtual tasting in which we paired a bottle of our newly released 2019 Cabernet Franc with three different chocolates locally made by Crumb de la Crumb bakery here in Gunnison. It was great to see all of our neighbors on Zoom and we were able to learn so much from Shelby about the process of chocolate making, and how it affects the flavor profile of the wine we are drinking. The dark chocolate bar gave the Cab Franc a very earthy profile while the milk chocolate vanilla truffle brought out the wine’s fruit flavors, and while the salted caramel tart was beyond delicious, I ultimately decided that maybe one of our white wines might suit it better. It was a very fun and delicious experiment.
So how should you pair wine and chocolate?
First, choose high quality chocolate.
We learned a couple tips for choosing the right chocolate. Everything from looking at where the cacao was sourced to the percentage of cacao in the chocolate bar will let you know both the quality level and how dark the chocolate will be. We also learned that shinier chocolate bars that break easily with a clean snap are higher in quality. Another test is to rub chocolate between your fingers, if it starts to melt then it is good stuff! This is a fun way to use all of your senses while tasting chocolate, a lot like we do with tasting wine!
Second, choose the right wine.
Red wine and dark chocolate can both have intense, at times bitter flavors. So pairing a very dark chocolate with a highly tannic wine can overwhelm your palate. We learned from this tasting that choosing a softer, more fruit forward wine can enhance the chocolate flavors. Or conversely, choosing a milk chocolate can enhance the fruitiness of a more tannic wine.
Third, have fun and play around.
This tasting really surprised me in how three separate pairings can alter the taste of the same wine so differently. I had a lot of fun comparing the chocolates and learning more about the similarities and differences between chocolate making and winemaking. The best part is that there is endless chocolate and wine to mix and match, and you really can't go wrong.
If you missed our virtual tasting pick up a bottle of our Cab Franc from us, find some chocolate and try it yourself! Also stay tuned to our website where we will post future events with more good food and great wine.