Friday, September 30, 2011

Colorado Fall Harvest Dinner at Delizios: recap

This past Monday, I helped moderate a wine dinner at Delizios Cafe and Wine Bar that featured Colorado wines and fresh Colorado ingredients. The owner of Delizios, Bob Mickus, is a home winemaker and wanted to pay homage to the hard working farmers (and yes grape growers are farmers) of the state. I worked with Bob to select a pair of Front Range wineries and a pair of western slope wineries to complement a specially prepared locally themed menu. The 13 diners who attended were enthusiastic and eager to taste Colorado.

The first course paired Boulder Creek Winery's 2010 Dry Rosé with assorted Colorado cheeses and fresh fruit. The wine paired beautifully with both the cheeses and the fruits. I especially enjoyed the Haystack Chile Jack (goat cheese), with roasted mild green chilies. This wine was the crowd favorite as even after all four
courses guests were still asking me about it.

Next up was the black sheep of the night. Both the mixed green salad with roasted Colorado corn and red peppers and the Jack Rabbit Hill 2008 M & N were good on their own, but the raspberry vinaigrette clashed with the unique blend of pinot noir and pinot meunier. A handful of guests enjoyed the wine, but most said that they weren't a fan of the pairing.

The main course of brandied peach pork chops was served with the Garfield Estates Vineyard and Winery 2009 Cabernet Franc. I was afraid that the wine might over power the dish, but the smooth and supple new release paired well and was a hit with all diners. While no official poll was taken, I'd say that the cab franc was the second favorite of the night just behind the rosé and closely followed by the last wine. After seeing how well this young wine showed, I can't wait to break into my 2005 Garfield cab franc soon!

Finally, we finished the evening with Infinite Monkey Theorem's Black Muscat along with peach cobbler topped with Di Crema gelato from Boulder Ice Cream. Though this was the only wine I did not taste of for some reason, the guests were impressed with it. A few diners that said they often did not enjoy sweet wines, found the IMT muscat to be balanced and complemented the cobbler perfectly. Overall, the night was a success and I think the guests left with a new appreciation for Colorado wines. I am looking forward to hosting more wine dinners at Delizios and even exploring wine regions other than Colorado. I hope to see you at one of these events in the future.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ben's Bubbly: 2008 Gratien & Meyer Saumur Brut Rosé Premium Millésimé

The weather in Denver has been quite warm of late, and there is nothing worse than getting a cold in the summer heat. Well, I guess it is now early autumn heat. Unfortunately, I passed my congestion and cough on to Ben and he's been quite a trooper with his first cold. Even though his stuffy little nose sounded like an angry bear as he tossed and turned at night, but he was his usual bubbly self when he woke up. He isn't a big fan of us trying to wipe his nose, but he put up with us trying to keep his face clean. We're wiping his face more frequently now that we've started feeding him solid foods. First up this past week were bananas. He was not impressed with his first taste of the milk and banana mixture, but by the second attempt later that day he seemed to enjoy his new delicacy. Next week we'll add rice cereal to his menu.

2008 Gratien & Meyer Saumur Brut Rosé Premium Millésimé

To escape the Denver heat, we enjoyed this pink French sparkler from the Loire Valley. This blend of 80% cabernet franc and 20% grolleau is extremely bubbly. It has been the only sparkler to foam out of the bottle when I've pulled the cork over the past six months. The wine is a beautiful shell pink color. I found strawberries, cranberries and flowers on the nose. Tart red fruit and bright acidity fill the mouth and it almost tastes like a very floral perfume.12% abv Purchased $17 Good

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ben's Bubbly: Barbolini Lancilloto Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro

For some reason I did not really feel like writing this week. I guess that is why it has taken me all week just to finish this short post. Well, I finally did it an here it is.

Most parents believe their children to be above average. Hell, most people think they're above average. Well, as fun as it is for Ben to be an early sitter, roller and by next week I'm sure an early crawler, I envy the parents of nine-month olds that still just sit in one place. It is fun watching Ben explore the small, and dirty, world of our floor, but his eagerness to roll is having detrimental effects on our ability to change his diapers and bathe him. He usually lies still until his dirty diaper is removed and then he quickly makes a series of rolls off of his changing pad. We collectively hold our breaths and scramble to retrieve the rogue nudist to protect our dry objects from his indiscriminate spray. He also recently decided that bath time is meant to be spent on his stomach moving around the tub. This is all fine and good, until his head gets heavy and he decides to rest it in two inches of water. Needless to say, this does not work. It seems like each and every day he is getting a little stronger and a little quicker. New experiences and quick parental reflexes are the norm these days.

Barbolini Lancilloto, Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro DOC

This dry red wine is made from 100% Grasparossa di Castelvetro (local clone of Lambrusco) and from the smallest of five Lambrusco DOC regions. I've had Lambrusco before, but I always thought it was sweet. Not this one. This interesting wine was a new experience for me. It is dark purple, almost black in color. The bubbles dissipate rather quickly. So really this isn't a sparkling wine, but red wine that foams when you pour it. It has aromas of plums, violets and a hint of meat. This is an interesting full-bodied wine with medium tannins with an ever so slight spritz. Dark fruits make up the palate combined with a slight butteriness. Next time you're looking for a dry sparkling red not from Australian shiraz, give Lambrusco a try. 11.5% abv Purchased $13. Good

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Colorado Fall Harvest Dinner at Delizios

So many restaurants proclaim to cater to locavores. But far too often local wines are nowhere to be found on the wine list. Even worse, is when restaurants create Colorado-themed dinners only to pair wines from California or France with the local fare. Here in Denver, we are starting to see a few establishments getting it right by pairing local wine with fresh local ingredients. Jacob Harkins, founder of Coloradowino.com, has put together a few Colorado Wine dinners at Sputino in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver. The bounty of winemaker dinners in Grand Junction and Palisade this past weekend was at an apex with the 20th annual Colorado Mountain Winefest drawing visitors from around the country. Other than a few of these events sporadically popping up around the state, local wines rarely get top billing at themed dinners. Next week, I am throwing my hat into the wine dinner ring by moderating the "Colorado Fall Harvest" night of Delizios' Regional Wine Dinner Series. I invite you to join me by indulging in some of Colorado's finest wines and tastiest cuisine Monday, September 26th at Delizios in historic downtown Littleton. The evening will include informal wine education and discussion of Colorado's wine industry.

Colorado Fall Harvest

Monday, September 26th


Delizios Café and Wine Bar
2299 W Main St., Littleton

$45 pp (plus tax and gratuity)

Seating is limited, so please call to RSVP (720-897-6550)

The menu for the evening will consist of:

1st Course:
Boulder Creek Winery 2010 Dry Rose
Paired with assorted Colorado cheeses and fruits

2nd Course:
Jack Rabbit Hill 2008 M+N (Meunier & Pinot Noir)
Paired with a mixed greens salad garnished with roasted Colorado corn and red peppers

3rd Course:
Canyon Wind Cellars 2009 Cabernet Franc
Paired with brandied-peach pork chops accompanied by fresh asparagus and roasted rosemary

4th Course:
Infinite Monkey Theorem Sparkling Black Muscat
Paired with peach cobbler topped with Di Crema gelato from Boulder Ice Cream