Bring the Best Wine in Colorado to Your Holiday Party This Year

Carboy Winery's Teroldego was named Best in Show for the second year in a row.
Carboy Winery's Teroldego was named Best in Show for the second year in a row. Carboy Winery
Each year, Colorado wineries enter the Governor's Cup, a statewide competition judged by a panel of sommeliers, chefs, writers and wine experts from around the country. Out of 279 wine submissions from 38 wineries in Colorado, twelve were selected for the 2022 Governor's Cup Collection.

This year, Carboy Winery made history when its Teroldego was named Best in Show for the second year in a row at the November 4 Colorado Uncorked tasting event at History Colorado.

Derived from Italy, Teroldego is a robust, complex yet approachable grape, explains Tyzok Wharton, Carboy's director of winemaking. “Upon first sip, it drinks similarly to a Syrah, but its beautifully vibrant freshness and expressive alpine fruit characteristics result in a lingering finish that can only come from the taste of a Colorado Teroldego,” Wharton explains.

In addition to taking the top spot, Carboy Winery has two other wines on the list — the Blanc La, La, La Sparkling White Wine and 2019 Reserve Petit Verdot.

Carboy CEO Kevin Webber says that the competition leads to collaboration in the state’s wine scene. “The Governor's Cup celebrates the best wines in Colorado and brings the Colorado winemaking community together, helping elevate our incredible industry,” he notes. “It's a fantastic feeling to not only showcase the adventurous varieties available in our great state, but to introduce the next generation of wine drinkers to Colorado's beautiful growing conditions and varieties."

To accompany a traditional Thanksgiving meal, Wharton says the Teroldego would pair well with an herbaceous sage and sausage stuffing, while the Petit Verdot Reserve can accompany a chocolate pecan pie. The Blanc La, La, La, he adds, is “perfect for any turkey, stuffing and cranberry sandwich, preferably on the griddle."

For Mesa Park Vineyard owner Laura Black and her winemaker husband, Brandon, seeing their Équilibre Red Blend in the collection this year was an exciting experience. "[Brandon] works endlessly and tirelessly farming our grapes and making our wine, so to see his hard work recognized and rewarded was a really good feeling,” Laura says.
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Mesa Park Vineyards

Like Webber, Black emphasizes that the Governor's Cup is a great way to promote Colorado wine. “It seems to be a well-run competition, and the Uncorked Event in November is a great way for the industry to showcase the best of what Colorado wine has to offer,” she explains. A bonus, she notes, is getting together with all of the other wineries and tasting and socializing together. “We're all coming off the busiest time of the year with harvest and crush, so it's a great opportunity to catch up with each other."

Équilibre is the French word for balance, and the goal with this wine was to create a well-rounded and balanced Bordeaux-style blend consisting of 30 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Cabernet Franc, 20 percent Merlot and 20 percent Petit Verdot. “It's a full-bodied, dry red with a great balance of dark berries and smooth tannins,” Black notes.

Vino Salida Wine Cellars winemaker and president Steve Flynn was truly humbled by the experience of winning a double gold for its Tempranillo this year. “I have worked over twenty vintages in Colorado and have worked extremely hard through the years, with no shortage of major and minor setbacks in production,” Flynn says. “I feel honored for my efforts.”

The Tempranillo is aromatic with hints of vanilla and cherry, light bodied and full flavored. Flynn says the characteristics make it easy to drink, even on a hot day, and it pairs exceptionally with food, particularly pork and poultry and Thanksgiving turkey. He explains that because this wine is cool-fermented, it retains a lot of delicate fruit notes.
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Steve Flynn
He only "kissed" it with oak, he says (20 percent medium toast new oak and 80 percent neutral oak) and aged it for fourteen months to develop a calm presence in the glass, integrating grape tannins with oak tannins. He also topped the barrels off every month to ensure that it remained fresh. “I use American oak barrels from Kentucky which, although it is a dry wine, brought out fruit sweetness in aroma and flavor,” he says.

For Flynn, the Governor's Cup is a meaningful competition and tasting event. “As a supporter of Colorado viticulture since 2002, through ups and downs with each vintage, this competition is important to me because it gives winemakers and growers a chance to showcase the high-quality grapes being grown in our state,” he says. “Also, the fact the Colorado Uncorked event is held at History Colorado signifies to me and the public that we are making history every day, in the vineyards and in the wine cellars.”

This year’s Governor’s Cup Collection includes:
  • 2020 Teroldego, Carboy Winery
  • 2021 Pinot Gris, Aspen Peak Cellars
  • 2019 Petit Verdot, Carboy Winery
  • 2019 Blanc LaLaLa (Sparkling Grüner Veltliner), Carboy Winery
  • 2021 Sweet Baby White (Blend), Carlson Vineyards
  • 2020 Équilibre Red Blend, Mesa Park Vineyards
  • 2021 Chambourcin, The Peachfork
  • Non-Vintage Nebbiolo, Red Fox Cellars
  • Traditional Wildflower Mead, Slaymaker Cellars
  • 2019 Syrah, The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey
  • 2017 Tempranillo, Vino Salida Wine Cellars
  • 2021 Dry Rosé of St. Vincent, Whitewater Hill Vineyards
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Kristen Kuchar is a Colorado writer covering dining and the beverage industry, including wine, beer, cider and spirits. Her articles have appeared in VinePair, the Beer Connoisseur, Beer Advocate,, Zymurgy and more. She has a WSET Level 1 certificate and is a Certified Beer Server by the Cicerone Certification Program.

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