Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Super Bowl Wines (show your support by drinking local)

With Super Bowl XLVIII only days away (interestingly, the NFL has made contingency plans to move the big game up or back a day depending on the weather), NFL fans can read the food, wine and beer suggestions that are popping up all over the Internet. For those of us in the Broncos' and Seahawks' home states, marijuana recommendations are also part of our reality now too! It just so happens that in addition to Cannabis, both Colorado and Washington have wine industries. For those NFL fans that also want to enjoy wine during the big game, this is a very good thing!

Yes, Washington's wine industry is larger, more development and more critically acclaimed than Colorado's, but that doesn't mean Denver Bronco fans should have to drink Two Buck Chuck (as W. Blake Gray pathetically suggested). Seattle fans across the country will have their choice of Washington wine to pair with their queso and chicken wings (or salmon and Dungeness crab). Washington has approximately 700 wineries and many have received exceptionally high praise from the large wine publications.

Wine Specator recently invited chefs Jen Jasinski, from Denver, and Jason Franey, from Seattle, to offer some recipes with a local flair to cook up for the game. I applaud both chefs for highlighting each state's local ingredients. Wine Spectator continued with wine suggestions, offering 22 wines from Washington. Noticeably missing was any recommendation from Colorado. At least, the author added these two token sentences: "There are about 100 registered wineries in the state, and its two American Viticultural Areas, Grand Valley AVA and West Elk AVA, are home to some of the highest-elevation vineyards in the world, on the slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Some of the top wineries include Infinite Monkey Theorem, Canyon Wind and Boulder Creek." All three of those wineries have scored 88 pts from Wine Spectator editors, but apparently eight Washington wines scoring 88 pts or less are more warranted recommendations than any from Colorado. I shouldn't be surprised, given Wine Spectator's policy decision to no longer review Colorado wines, but I am disappointed that both Wine Spectator and Wine-Searcher.com had a chance to offer some meaningful suggestions and lazily decided to ignore wine-loving Broncos fans.

As an aside, I really would like to know if wineries in other regions (such as Washington) were also told that they had to receive pre-approval to submit there wines for review...

But back to the topic at hand. Fans from both teams will undoubtedly be donning bright orange and action green apparel (and I bet more than a few Broncos fans will be chowing on chile-slut Mark Schlereth's "Stinkin" Good Green Chile), so why not try to drink local beverages? Colorado beer would be the easy choice for Broncos fans, those winelovers that don't want to drink beer shouldn't be fooled by Wine Spectator's lack of recommendations. It will be difficult, if not impossible, for Broncos fans outside of Colorado to find Colorado wine for sale, but for those of us still inside this beautiful rectangle of a state, there should be no excuse to drink wine from anywhere else. Most liquor stores have a few offerings of local wine, though you may be better served by going to a winery (or ordering from their website).

Fans looking for white wines should be pleased with Carlson Vineyards' or Plum Creek Cellars' lineup. Want a big, bold red? Look to Boulder Creek Winery, Colterris or Ruby Trust Cellars. If you think your beer-drinking friends will find your tipple a bit snobbish? A can, yes a can, from The Infinite Monkey Theorem (a Denver-based winery) will show them that you're not afraid to drink something made in an alley! There are plenty of other quality producers from Colorado, so take a chance and try a few. I think the Super Bowl would be a great time to explore wines from both Colorado and Washington!

To you Broncos fans, whatever you choose to drink on Sunday, show your support for Colorado and pop the top on wine from some of the world's "highest" wine regions! And of course wouldn't you want to drink something from the winning state? Maybe the lack of Colorado wine recommendations by most other publications is that they all know that those Washington producers will need some love to heal their broken hearts after the Broncos whip the Seahawks? Yeah, I think think that might be the real reason for all the Washington wine love...

Go Broncos!


  1. You're a better man than I am, Kyle, that you expect a fair shake from the Winestream Media when it comes to local wine. Nuts to them all.

  2. Silly me! I guess when someone says they're writing about food and wine from two places they'd actually write about that! I never said equal coverage, as I know WA wine deserves much more, but the complete lack of CO recommendations did actually surprise me. Or maybe you're just a curmudgeon...

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