Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Meet the Winemaker: Kyle Schlachter (Colorado Wine Press)

As you may have noticed from the title, I am interviewing myself today. I thought it would be interesting for me to answer the questions I pose to Colorado's winemakers. And, no, I am not a winemaker. I would love to give it a go with a very small batch, perhaps as early as next harvest, but my winemaking skills are limited to mixing the dredges of leftover bottles to see what happens. Turns out I'm no master blender...

CWP: How did you get into winemaking?

Well, I am not a winemaker, but I got into wine about ten years ago when I met the woman would be become my wife. I tried so hard to impress her that I would cook her dinner and as she had just returned from a semester in Spain, I usually bought the best Spanish wines I could afford (i.e. $20). One of these wines, a 1994 Conde de Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva, really knocked my socks off and made we want to learn about why this particular bottle was so much better than any other wines I had previously. I started reading wine books and taking wine classes and the rest is history.

CWP: If you weren’t in the wine business, where would you be working?

I would probably have finished my Ph.D. by now, be teaching at a university and researching how the environments of Colorado's or Costa Rica's mountains ecosystems have changed over the past 20,000 years using lake sediments. While I enjoyed the thrill of scientific discovery, using hazardous chemicals and staring through a microscope for hours at a time were not all that thrilling.

CWP: What do you do when you’re not at the winery?

When I take my wine hat off (which is not very often) I enjoy playing tennis, running, gardening and, of course, playing with Ben.

CWP: What is a wine that you currently do not make that you want to make?

As I make no wine, I think sparkling wine would be a fun challenge to undertake. I think Colorado has the potential to make good bubbly, but we need someone to invest the intensive labor and capital involved to do so properly.

CWP: If you could make wine in any wine region in the world, other than Colorado, where would you be making wine and why?e

I thought I would say Spain, but as I learn more about Friuli I think that there are a lot of interesting wines being produced there. I would love to break the mold and make orange wines in amphora buried in the ground. Plus, the sheer diversity of varieties and styles will allow Friulian wines to really become popular in the future.

CWP: What is the best bottle of wine you’ve ever drunk?

Best and most memorable are so different. The wine that I still think about to this day is that 1994 Conde de Valdemar Rioja Gran Reserva. It may not be the most exceptional wine that has ever crossed my lips, but if I had to choose only one wine experience to carry with me the rest of my life, I'd forget all the others if I could keep that one with me.

CWP: To what style of music would you compare your wine lineup?

If I were making wine, I think I'd like to make wine in the style of Queen. I think that Queen is perhaps one of the, if not the, greatest band of all time. They made unique music that is underrated. Every time I hear a Queen song, I think, "what a great song." I would want people to do the same with my wine.

CWP: What do you think consumers should think of when they think about Colorado Wine?

I would like Colorado consumers to think of it first when they think of wine. So much has been made of the locavore movement, but wine is often an afterthought.

CWP: Where do you see the Colorado wine industry in 10 years?

In ten years, I see consumers not questioning the quality of wine with Colorado on the label. While we will never be as big as California, Washington, Oregon or New York and sold all over the world, we will at least be able to consistently produce wines that can compete in quality.

CWP: What question would you like to ask me and my readers?

What wine publications/media to you regular go to for wine information?

1 comment:

  1. It ain't the 1994 bottling, but as I recall 2001 was a pretty good vintage:


    And this 2001 was Decanter magazine's "wine of the year":




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