Six of My New Favorite Local Wines

(The Daily Sentinel)

Christine Gallagher
April 27, 2024
Peach Tartlettes from Palisade Pies

Did you know we have more than 170 wineries in Colorado? I recently attended the annual Barrel into Spring self-guided tour event in the Grand Valley, sponsored by CAVE (Colorado Association for Viticulture and Enology). Several wineries and restaurants participated and the sunny weather was ideal to explore these delightful wineries.

I sampled a wide variety of lovely wines and one of the things I like about wine tastings is seeing how everyone’s palate is different. I tend to lean towards complex flavors and when it is a warm day I gravitate more toward white wines. In the winter, I love full-bodied reds. However, I am perfectly happy to drink a variety of white, red, rosé and sparkling wines no matter what the season! Enjoying a wonderful wine with delicious food, fun friends and stunning locations is a combination that makes me happy.

Here is an alphabetical list of six featured wines that really grabbed my attention last week.

2023 Grenache Blanc at Avant Vineyards, 3480 E Road, Palisade, is a crispy white wine that paired terrifically with the pepper-seared ahi tuna prepared by one of my favorite restaurants, No Coast Sushi, 1119 N. 1st St., Grand Junction. Avant describes the wine as “a White Rhône varietal with citrus and herbaceous notes.” I describe it as “yummy.”

2022 Leon Millot from La Noue DuBois Winery. This red wine was scrumptious and the varietal was originally bred in France. The tasting notes describe it as “a medium bodied red with medium tannins” and notes of oak, raspberry, blackberry, black pepper and a hint of vanilla. This Vineyard is actually in Montrose, but the folks at Whitewater Vineyards hosted them for this event. I look forward to driving to Montrose and taking a tour sometime in the future.

Perle Blanche Chardonnay at Varaison Vineyards & Winery, 405 W. First St., Palisade, was a wonderful chardonnay that did not taste like the buttery/oaky type that people feel strongly about one way or the other. Instead, this had a unique tropical fruit sort of vibe that paired beautifully with their dried mango and white chocolate dessert. This was one of those wines that was just so fun to experience and I look forward to learning more about Varaison’s winemaking techniques.

2022 Traminette at Peachfork Orchard and Vineyards, 281 33 Road, Palisade, was a delicious white wine served with a tasty peach tartlet from Palisade Pies, 3415 C½ Road, Palisade. The wine is described as having a “slight floral nose, touches of basil and finishing with citrus zest.” This Traminette recently won silver at the 2023 Colorado Governor’s Cup competition. Their website calls it a “perfect summer picnic wine” and I agree that sitting outside on their stunning property while drinking this wine would make for a terrific afternoon.

2022 Viognier from Whitewater Hill Vineyards, 220 32 Road, Grand Junction, was a delightful white wine enjoyed with a caramel apple and brie skewer from Ristorante Pantuso, 421 Brach Dr., Grand Junction. Whitewater Hill calls this a “full-bodied white with a depth of both floral and fruit character.”

Vitner’s Blend NV at Two Rivers Winery and Chateau, 2087 Broadway, Grand Junction. This red wine is a blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and was paired with a wonderfully savory cacio e pepe cheese cracker that was made in-house. Two Rivers describes the Vitner’s Blend as an “opulent red wine with earthy aromas and complex flavors of berries and spice.”

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