Celebrate the best of Colorado wine

Wines from Alfred Eames Cellars near Paonia, Colo. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

The quality of Colorado wine continues to increase dramatically.

This fact was on display recently as 18 wine professionals, chefs and writers sat in judgment of 251 Colorado wines submitted from 43 wineries.

Hosted by the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, part of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the panel selected 14 wines to make up the “2019 Governor’s Cup Wine Collection.” And the judges were impressed with the variety.

“Overall, the scope of wines entered this year provided a great snapshot of the incoming paradigm shift in the quality of Colorado wine,” said Clara Klein, sommelier for Boulder restaurant Frasca. “Wineries have hit home with several varieties, such as riesling, cabernet franc and syrah. All of which, when treated with a deft hand, thrive in the continental mountainous climate of Colorado. No longer just a region to have on one’s radar, but rather on the table.”

The winning wines are:

  • Bonacquisti Wine Co. (Denver) — 2018 Tempranillo
  • BookCliff Vineyards (Boulder) — 2016 Graciano
  • BookCliff Vineyards (Boulder) — 2016 Ensemble Red Blend
  • Carlson Vineyards (Palisade) — Cherry Wine, Montmorency cherries
  • Carlson Vineyard (Palisade) — 2018 NSFW White Blend
  • Colterris (Palisade) — 2017 Petit Verdot
  • Plum Creek Winery (Palisade) — 2016 Cabernet Franc
  • Qutori Wines (Paonia) — 2017 Syrah
  • Red Fox Cellars (Palisade) — 2017 Nebbiolo
  • Snowy Peaks Winery (Estes Park) — 2016 Petite Sirah
  • The Storm Cellar (Paonia) — 2018 Dry Riesling
  • The Storm Cellar (Paonia) — 2018 Riesling
  • Vino Salida (Poncha Springs) — Vino Vermouth di Salida Rosso
  • Whitewater Hill Vineyards (Grand Junction) — 2018 Moscato

Local wine advocate Jeff Siegel said, “One of the most difficult things for regional wines to do is improve year after year ... they always hit a plateau and level off and have to start again. So far, Colorado hasn’t hit the plateau.”

The 14 wines will be available to taste alongside chef pairings during the annual “Colorado UnCorked” public tasting event Nov. 15 at History Colorado Center. This event will be the only opportunity to try the award-winning wines at the same time. The wines will be paired with small bites from restaurants such as Julep (Denver), Bin 707 and Taco Party (Grand Junction), Logan Street (Denver) and Woodie Fisher (Denver).

Tickets are $45 ($85 for the VIP experience) and can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/colorado- uncorked-tickets-73492753805.

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