Connect with us

News

Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes, tastings and experiences

Published

on

Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes, tastings and experiences

Dry, off-dry or medium-sweet? Apple/pear, citrus or tropical? Baked bread? Bitter? Acidic? Oaky?

I stared, perplexed, at these and other wine descriptions printed on the piece of paper in front of me at The Little Nell’s Wine Bar on a sunny afternoon this summer. I sniffed, sipped and swallowed the splash of mystery white wine in my glass for a second time, then peered at the page-long list of adjectives again, trying my best to determine what, exactly, I was smelling and tasting.

Eventually, I had to write down my guess (chardonnay) before moving on to the other three unknown wines in my queue. All told, I correctly identified two of the four wine styles on the same test taken by would-be sommeliers hoping to prove their deductive tasting abilities and become certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, the global group that sets widely accepted standards for wine professionals.

The Aspen hotel’s new blind tasting experience, led by one of its staffers, was a fun, laid-back way to learn about wine without even realizing it. Wine can be pretentious and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. And with Colorado’s wine industry growing each year, it’s a good time to demystify this tasty, wildly diverse beverage made from fermented grapes and get up to speed on all of its nuances, from ground to glass.

From formal courses to casual tastings you can book with friends, here are some of the best ways to learn about wine in Colorado.

Try a sensory tasting

Kellen Brewer, wine manager of Carboy Winery, pours wine for guests while holding a private wine session at the winery on Oct. 3 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

If you’ve ever wondered how wine experts can somehow magically detect notes of “freshly cut grass” or “toasted bread” from a glass of wine, when all you can taste and smell is, well, wine, you’re not alone. This is a super tricky skill to learn, one that takes sommeliers years and years of practice to master. But you have to start somewhere, and Carboy Winery’s sensory tastings can help.

Offered at their Denver and Littleton locations, the tastings are led by wine club manager and corporate trainer, Kellen Brewer, who walks participants through how to identify different smells and flavors in wines. To do this, he uses a special kit that’s full of little vials of smells like vanilla, lemon, smoke and caramel.

“Most sommeliers will tell you the best way to learn how to identify certain smells is to go down the produce aisle at the grocery store and just smell things,” said Kevin Webber, Carboy’s CEO. “This kit just makes that easier.

More info: ​​carboywinery.com or 720-617-9410

1633698850 578 Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes tastings
Kellen Brewer, wine manager of Carboy Winery, center, talks about wine with guests Anneliese Ornelis and her husband Jason, right, while holding a private wine session at the winery on Oct. 3 in Denver. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Blend your own wine

While wandering up and down the vast wine aisles at the liquor store, maybe you’ve noticed labels that say something like “red blend.” In fact, many popular types of wine are actually an amalgamation of different grape varietals, expertly selected by the winemaker to achieve the desired flavors and aromas. You can re-create this step — and learn something about your own palate in the process — by blending your own wine.

At The Hillside Vineyard in Fort Collins, a winemaker will help you choose between five different wines to make your own blend (then help you bottle and label it to take home!). Breckenridge’s Continental Divide Winery offers a similar two-hour blending experience with four pure red wine varietals; participants make their own custom blend, then bottle, cork and label it to take home. But be forewarned: You might enjoy your session so much that you decide to quit your job and take up winemaking full time, like Continental Divide founders Jeffrey and Ana Maltzman did.

“My introduction to winemaking began 25 years ago when my wife and I did a blending experience at a winery in Napa,” said Jeffrey Maltzman. “That experience truly changed our lives. We had so much fun that we began making wine ourselves.”

More info: thehillsidevineyard.com or 970-520-2617; breckwinery.com or 970-771-3443

Go back to school

1633698850 660 Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes tastings
Bottles of wine for sale at Carboy Winery on Oct. 3 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Of course, one of the best ways to learn about wine is to go back to school. If you’re really serious about understanding wine, head to Grand Junction, where Western Colorado Community College (a division of Colorado Mesa University) offers a viticulture and enology associate degree program, the first of its kind in Colorado.

Led by Jenne Baldwin-Eaton, an award-winning Colorado winemaker with more than 20 years of experience, the program includes hands-on and classroom-based courses in sensory analysis, winemaking, lab analysis, viticulture, fermentation and wine marketing, among others. On top of the associate degree, the college also offers technical certificates that take just one or two semesters to complete; Baldwin-Eaton also teaches seminars at festivals and through the university’s continuing education program.

For something a little more casual, Denver’s Noble Riot offers an array of hour-long “Wine School” classes at its RiNo wine bar. Noble Riot’s classes promise to cut through any “high brow nonsense” associated with wine, according to co-owner and sommelier Scott Mattson. Popular offerings include “Wine 101,” a monthly session that covers how wine is made, how to taste wine for structure and acidity, how to detect secondary flavors and more.

Other courses are more specific, going in-depth on certain wine styles (like natural wine) or specific wine regions (like Italy’s Valle d’Aosta).

“Our team felt like Denver needed a place where people from all backgrounds could come in and get fired up about wine,” said Mattson. “The goal with our education program is to offer great content taught in a non-pretentious, relatable way, creating a comfortable space for our guests to discover and fall in love with all kinds of wine.”

More info: coloradomesa.edu/wccc/programs/viticulture-enology.html or 970-255-2600; nobleriot.com/ or 303-993-5330

1633698850 498 Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes tastings
A view of Carboy’s new Palisade winery and vineyard located at Mt. Garfield Estate. The tasting room will debut in the fall. (Provided by Carboy Winery)

Visit a winery

On a recent visit to Grand Junction, Two Rivers Winery and Chateau owner Bob Witham shared some easy-to-remember tips and tricks for figuring out which types of acid are present in a particular wine. Though he doesn’t offer formal classes or lessons to individual wine-drinkers, Witham and the team at his tasting room are more than happy to casually share insights while you sip on a glass or try some of their offerings, as are nearly all winery owners and staffers across the state.

google news

News

Coach John Harbaugh says Ravens pass rushers feel ‘sense of frustration’ after roughing call against LB Tyus Bowser

Published

on

Coach John Harbaugh says Ravens pass rushers feel ‘sense of frustration’ after roughing call against LB Tyus Bowser

Ravens coach John Harbaugh described a “sense of frustration” among his pass rushers after linebacker Tyus Bowser was penalized for roughing in the team’s 16-10 win over the Cleveland Browns.

Defenders around the NFL have complained about inconsistent interpretations of the rules designed to protect quarterbacks from late and dangerous hits. In an otherwise brilliant performance, Bowser was called for roughing Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on a play that did not appear to involve a late hit or a helmet-to-helmet strike. He was visibly perplexed as game officials marked off the 15-yard penalty.

“When you hit the person not late, in the strike zone — not in the head or neck area — you don’t expect that to get called,” Harbaugh said at his Monday news conference. “Or you expect it to get cleaned up by the replay official. So there was frustration with the one last night. I can’t say that there wasn’t. But I think that’s all across the league.”

Harbaugh was also asked about the review of Cleveland tight end David Njoku’s touchdown catch late in the third quarter. Replays appeared to show Mayfield’s pass hitting the ground as it settled between Njoku’s hands in the end zone. “They said it wasn’t definitive,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what they said, that it wasn’t definitive enough to overturn.”

google news
Continue Reading

News

Opinion: “Elbow season” in the West is now packed full of tourists and pandemic pandemonium

Published

on

Opinion: “Elbow season” in the West is now packed full of tourists and pandemic pandemonium

Moab on a mid-fall weeknight was full. All the motels, RV parks and tents sites had “no vacancy” notices. Every food provider from Denny’s to the organic, locally-sourced artisan places had limited hours and limited menus due to lack of staff or food shortages.

On the southernmost tip of Utah, things got worse. There was no avocado toast left at the Kanab Creek Bakery. At the news, vegans and foodies looked visibly wan. The staff feigned patience. I settled for coffee that oddly came from being roasted at the extreme north end of the state, in Logan, Utah.

This felt like what travel has become these days — lots of tourists, strained services, and everywhere, Help Wanted signs. And weekdays didn’t seem mainly for retired people. We got to Chaco Canyon National Park on a Tuesday afternoon, and the campground there was sold out.

Fall used to be shoulder or at least elbow season; kids were back in school, people commuting to work, some campgrounds closed, and some attractions boarded up. In the few all-season campgrounds, you had your pick of sites. The pandemic problematic abnormal has changed that, and now there are rearrangements of everything everywhere.

Tanja, who spells it that way, let us in the Circleville, Utah, RV Park and Kountry Store for free. “It’s my campground and I can do what I want,” she said before making her rounds on her ATV.

The Cottonwood RV Park in Bluff, Utah, was not free and ready to close for the season. It’s near the Navaho Nation and many people were wearing masks. Nancy, the manager, tells us from a safe distance that she personally knew 40 people who died of COVID-19 in the last two years. She also gave us directions to the semi-secret petroglyph panels in Bears Ears National Monument; the same panels that the Friends of Cedar Mesa group would not mention.

google news
Continue Reading

News

Westminster officers justified in fatal shooting of 37-year-old man, DA determines

Published

on

Sheridan officer allegedly uses a chokehold on a shoplifting suspect

Three Westminster police officers will not face criminal charges after shooting and killing a man in September who, authorities allege, fired at law enforcement during an attempted arrest.

Denver District Attorney Beth McCann determined the three officers — Anthony Stroup, Chris Neal and Kevin Flores — were justified in shooting 37-year-old Drew Lucero on Sept. 3 at a house in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood.

“Once Mr. Lucero exited the house, produced a weapon and fired it, it was impossible for these officers to apply nonviolent means prior to resorting to physical force,” Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said in a news release announcing her decision. “Nonviolent means would have been ineffective in preventing an imminent threat of serious bodily injury or death to these officers. In this perilous situation, these officers’ decisions to shoot Mr. Lucero in defense of self and each other was justified under Colorado law.”

google news
Continue Reading

Trending