Wine, Wine, Wine

It's been dark days for Colorado, what with Ward Churchill, JonBenet Ramsey and Michael Tracey in particular (and CU in general) in the news. How like the national media to kick a good state when it's down. Two weeks ago, the New Yorker sidelined Denver, calling it a "second-tier city" in a piece about the new Frederic C. Hamilton Building at the Denver Art Museum. Sure, the article was discussing how such has-been places are actually more architecturally daring than NYC, but still. And now, Food & Wine comes out with its annual October wine issue and disses D-town -- and the entire state. In the article "America's 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences," Colorado rates exactly one mention: the annual Food & Wine Classic held in Aspen every June. Sure, we're doing better than our neighbors -- Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada and Oklahoma got no love -- but seriously, the best the editors could find here was their own event? That stings.

No mention of the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey in Ca�on City, where prisoners from the Colorado Department of Corrections harvest the grapes to make chardonnays and Rieslings; Westword's article on the abbey can be accessed by clicking here. It's not the best wine we've ever sipped, but if you're looking for "amazing" -- or at least bizarre -- experiences, this qualifies. Or what about Z Cuisine's outstanding French wine list, which received a Best of Denver award this year? Everywhere else in the country scored a mention for some cutesy wine bar-this or �ber Francophilic bistro-that, so why not Z Cuisine's outstanding list?

Or if you want to get into actual vineyards and bottles, the Western Slope has become a beacon for grape growers, who have replaced much of the old fruit orchards with vines. The cottage industry isn't so nascent any more -- it's been more than ten years since wineries started opening in droves -- so there shouldn't be quite as much skepticism about the wines being produced. "I think it's getting better every year," says Duey Kratzer of Mondo Vino. "The older the vines get, the better the things that are coming out." He recommends the Rieslings -- "That's what most people really like; we get the most oohs and ahhs from those" -- and Plum Creek is the safe bet for a label. And while Colorado varieties haven't gotten over the holy-shit-that's-good-for-a-Colorado-wine hump to just holy-shit-that's-a-good-wine, what more could you ask for when seeking out "unforgettable wine adventures"? -- Amy Haimerl

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts