Wine festivals aren't my favorite events. They are usually crowded and impersonal. I have gone to a few Colorado specific festivals for pleasure and for work in the past. I have not had the pleasure of attending either of the two big ones in Colorado, Aspen Food & Wine and Taste of Vail. Sadly, I usually think of them as they are happening, and in the case of Aspen cannot afford the high entry fee. I was invited as media to Taste of Vail last year, but was not able to attend. I will put it on my calendar because it seems to offer a variety of wine events that don't seem to encourage the drunk fest of just a big tasting.
As much as I enjoy tasting new and upcoming wines, the 25th Annual Taste of Vail has a list of well-established wineries that I don't often get to taste, including Grgich Hill Cellars, Gloria Ferrer, Saintsbury, ZD Winery, Louis Latour, Rotie Cellars, Vineyard 29, Scott Harvey Wines and Darioush, all of which have excellent reputations.
Taste of Vail kicks off on Wednesday, April 8 with the 2nd Annual Debut of Rosé. After the inaugural event in 2014, the Debut of Rosé will give guests the chance to experience just released 2014 rosés for first time. The event will have more than 100 rosé varietals to sample. Rosé is too often neglected as a wine style and I am happy to see a tasting devoted specifically to rosé.
On Thursday, April 9 is the 11th Annual American Lamb Cook-Off and Après Ski Tasting in Vail Village. Colorado is known for its lamb and it always drives me crazy to see New Zealand lamb on a restaurant menu. I'm glad to see that it is sponsored by the American Lamb Board. Though not as interesting as a rosé-themed tasting, the theme of the lamb cook-off is "Life Beyond Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot," and the participating wineries will be showcasing a wide array of other varieties, which include Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Zinfandel.
As if a rosé-specific tasting and a lamb-wine pairing event isn't enough, there still is a "main event." On Saturday, April 11 as Taste of Vail's annual Grand Tasting will be at the Four Seasons Resort and Residences in the center of Vail. The signature event will feature all of Taste of Vail's wineries. I do know that Canyon Wind Cellars has attended in the past, but unfortunately I did not see any local Colorado wineries on the list of participating wineries.
If you're looking for a mountain wine getaway in early April, you could do worse than the Taste of Vail. For more information on the Taste of Vail, please visit www.tasteofvail.com.