Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Carlson Vineyards - Palisade, Colorado

For quite some time, we've wanted to review one of Carlson Vineyard's wines, but just couldn't decide which one. So instead, we decided to select a few of our favorites from this Grand Valley winery. The Grand Valley is noted for its bountiful fruit production so it’s no surprise that Carlson Vineyards makes several excellent fruit wines. Their Cherry Wine is our favorite and we usually purchase 5 bottles a time – the maximum that Virginia allows for a single shipment. This wine is made from 100% Montmorency Pie cherries and is sweet and tart – sweet up front and tart at the finish. We drink it mixed with seltzer or sometimes as Carlson recommends, in a glass laced with chocolate. They call it “chocolate cherry pie without the crust”.

For white wines, our favorite is their Laughing Cat Riesling. In our trip to the Grand Valley, we were surprised to find that the local Rieslings were very similar to those made in New York’s Finger Lakes. Not surprisingly, Carlson’s 2003 Riesling was the 2004 Riesling Champion at the 2004 International Eastern Wine Competition. Their latest vintage is a semi-sweet wine full of apricot flavor. The finish is nicely acidic and tart which is a perfect balance to the fruit.

Finally, we can’t forget their T-Red Lemberger. This wine is made from 100% Coloradan grown Lemberger grapes and is made with a light body from aging just lightly in oak. This process creates a full berry flavor, with a surprising spicy finish – reminiscent of a Syrah. The low tannins also provide a very smooth finish.

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