Saturday, May 5, 2012

The #DLW12 Nomacorc Twitter Taste-Off: "Where's the Gewürztraminer?"

One of the highlights of all DrinkLocalWine.com conferences is the Twitter taste-off, where participates sample wines from the host state and immediately share their impressions online. This year was no exception with the Nomacorc-Colorado Twitter Taste-off where we tasted and tweeted using the #colwines and #drinklocal hash tags. And at the end of the tasting the media and general public voted on their favorites.

This is actually a grueling affair, speeding drinking (spitting) 42 wines from 21 Colorado wineries. Initially I tried to stick with just whites, then roses, then reds; but eventually I felt like a novice festival attendee and just stuck out my glass and asked "what do you got?"  My first impressions were that there were several very good wines, and conversely, several not so good wines exuding volatile acidity or shrouded in oak. My second impression, "Where's the Gewürztraminer?". For all the talk we heard previously that this may be Colorado's - or at least the Western Slope's - signature grape variety - not a single winery chose to pour a Gewürz.

Oh well, here are my favorites of the day. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed both offerings from Canyon Wind Cellars, the Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, perhaps influenced from our pre-tour visit. Boulder based Settembre Cellars was pouring the identical varietal wines and continued to impress. Another winery that I really enjoyed both offerings was Snowy Peaks Winery, who were pouring a Petite Sirah and the Elevee Blanc (60% Viognier & 40% Roussanne). Once again, kudos for evening producing this Rhone blend. Finally, another favorite were the wines from Denver based The Infinite Monkey Theorem. Their white was a local alcohol refreshing IMT Riesling whereas their red, the IMT 100th Monkey is a unique blend of 40% Petit Verdot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Syrah and 20% Petit Sirah. The catch, $42 - now I know why some locals complain about price points.

Now for the winners. For whites, not only was the Four Corners based Guy Drew Vineyards Pinot Gris voted best White Wine, but also the Media's favorite wine. Wrong. How could my colleagues completely mess this up. In fact, the best White Wine, was the Guy Drew Vineyards No Oak Chardonnay. Seriously, Guy can make some quality wine. And with both of these wines priced at $16, this shows why I think Colorado has several excellent value wines. For reds, the Ruby Trust Cellars Smuggler, a Cabernet Franc blend, was voted Best Red; but I preferred the 100% varietal Cabernet Franc from Creekside Cellars. I mean, this was Cabernet Franc - it smelled like CF, it tasted like CF, and the peppery finish lingered like CF.  And it was better than most Virginia Cabernet Francs I've tasted. The downside, need to get over the $35 retail price. Finally, I agreed whole-heartedly with the People's Choice Award - the best wine - wasn't even a wine; but a dry-hopped mead from Redstone Meadery: "Nectar of the Hops". No longer called a Braggot since there's no malt, this style makes a a fun, refreshing beer-ish beverage that contains the clean finish of many dry-hopped IPAs with the sweetness of honey instead of malt. Nicely done. And it may be available in the DC area.

There you have it. Looking forward to next year's DLW Twitter taste-off; wonder where it will be???
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