Colorado wines -- are they any good?

I’m a fourth-generation native Coloradoan, and while I knew we’ve had wineries and vineyards over on the Western Slope for a number of years, I never gave them much thought. After recently returning from a vacation in the San Diego area, where we toured some popular tourist-oriented wineries and discovered the wonderful pastime of wine tasting, my wife and I were told that Colorado wines compare favorably with California’s best, and we could go to wine-tasting events in western Colorado almost all summer long. We’re excited about pursuing our newfound hobby right here in our home state.

Any serious wine aficionados out there who can give me an intelligent assessment of Colorado wines, compared with the wines we tasted in California? We visited Orfila, Belle Marie and Ferrara, if anyone is familiar with them. Any recommendations for Colorado?

My cousin used to write a oenophile newsletter. He lived in Colorado, and thought their wines were good, to the extent that he tried to start a winery himself. Unfortunately, not enough other people felt that way, and it failed.

Can’t give you any of his recommendations, though, and I don’t know enough about them, myself. Sorry about that.

I read an article (found it! ) a few months ago about the growing wine industry of Colorado, and the plan to heavily market it as a wine destination, which made me curious about the wines. Every January I attend a wine symposium in Sacramento that affords me the opportunity to taste wines from all over the world, including all over the US.
This year my focus was on South Africa, Long Island (NY), and Colorado.

I tried 2 wines from CO, a red and a white, and both were really wonderful wines.

The white was a riesling from Plum Creek and was the real winner. Sweet but not cloying, floral and fruity, with peach, apple and citrus notes. I think some wineries in the state have real potential with Alsatian style wines like riesling and gewürztraminer.

The red was a merlot from Woody Creek Cellars. Nice berry notes, strawberry, plum, and a medium length mineral finish. I really liked the label design on this bottle as well. (Hooray for tasting notes!) :wink:
PS - for a couple of nifty online sites to keep your tasting notes, check out cork’d and logabottle.

I’m not familiar with the wineries you visited in CA, but Colorado wines seem to be a good value based on the tiny sampling I tried, and if you’re a resident of the state, definitely do support your local wineries and have fun with your new hobby as often as possible.
And honestly, they don’t *have *to compare to CA wines. Just go out there and taste, find out what you like, learn about the wines, and enjoy yourself, that’s really all that matters.

As for recommendations, look at this website that has lots of resources like winery names, maps, etc.

Thanks, psycat90 – great info. I’m really excited, now.

I’m glad you like the riesling – my wife and I developed a taste for rieslings when we were in Germany back in the 1970s. We were disappointed when we returned to the states because it’s so rare to even find rieslings here, so it’s great to know we have some good ones right here in Colorado.

The Woody Creek Cellars mention is kind of ironic. As a journalist, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Hunter Thompson, and my younger brother (a disc jockey and radio personality) has a passion for Thompson’s writing. Hunter S., of course, hung out at Woody Creek all the time, and will forever be identified with that place. I can’t wait to have a Woody Creek label in my wine rack.

No problem!

And look at what popped up in my inbox earlier this afternoon - Colorado’s wine industry boosting state economy

I thought you’d be interested in this article as well. It basically says the same thing the other one does, but it’s a bit more compressed.

Hail, fellow Coloradoan jeffrice .

I know two things about wine: jack and squat. Would love to get into it as a hobby, though.

However, I can tell you:

I recently recevied a bottle of Woody Creek merlot as a gift, and have it set aside to make with some nice prime rib. My benefactor tells me that this particular wine is one of the most popular wines in Aspen at the moment. I’ll tell you if all the buzz is well deserved once I open it and try it. :slight_smile:

Also, may I recommend the wines of Carlson Vineyards , outside of Grand Junction. Their Cherry wine is simply delicious. They refer to it as “cherry pie in a glass”…a very accurate description.

I wish I had seen this thread before my sister’s birthday party last Sunday. She and my BIL are into good wines, something I know little about. I could have got her wine instead of the stupid gift card I bought.

Well, there’s always Christmas. This will give me time to look around. There’s a pretty good wine store here in Topeka, I’ll check it out.

I hail from the area of Northern CA where psycat90 resides (wine country of Sonoma County) and currently live in Denver. I’m into wine enough to taste at wineries I pass by on roadtrips, and I’ve tried quite a few Colorado wines both at wineries and from just taking a chance and buying them at the local liquor store.

My favorite CO wine is a Cabernet Franc from Plum Creek, and I’m fond of the Trail Ridge Zinfandel. I know I’ve had others, but those two have really stood out. The Colorado “wine country” is the Palisade/Grand Junction area and since I’ve lived in Denver the past 3.5 years I’ve seen a big rise in marketing that area as a tourist destination, akin to Napa/Sonoma in California. I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say the wines from CO are as good as wines from N. CA - but then again, good wine is whatever you like. It’s definitely worth trying, and wine tasting is always fun.

I’d like to also mention one of my favorite places in Palisade that isn’t actually a winery, but a meadery (Meadery of the Rockies, formerly known as Rocky Mountain Meadery). I really only see two of their wines (made from honey rather than grapes) in most liquor stores, but they have several interesting and good products, including fruit/mead hybrid wines, hard ciders made with apple juice and mead, and port-like “chocolate raspberry” and “chocolate cherry” wine. I stopped in their tasting room last week driving back to Denver from Grand Junction and tasted lots of good stuff. My favorite of their commercial meads is the Lancelot, an off-dry mead.

I’m another one who knows nothing about wine, but I live in Grand Junction, and have been to a few of the local wineries from time to time.

It’s true that most of them are located in Palisade, but don’t leave out Two Rivers Winery in the Redlands area of GJ.

The last time we went to any of them (a couple of years ago), the tastings were free. There is at least one (Carlson, IIRC) that require appointments. Most, if not all, will ship to states that allow it.

The local limo service offers wine tours, so you don’t have to worry about getting a DUI.

There was an article in the local paper last year about one of the wineries winning some sort of medal in France (I think. I’m running on memory here, sorry!).