What’s in Your Backyard?

When a picture says it all. The two pics are of South Catamount Reservoir as you drive up Pikes Peak. Pikes Peak is one of the pinnacles of our region and is in my backyard.

Now, it is not that long ago, that the world was shocked and awed by the fact that the USA was producing wines and damn good ones.  The west coast tended to lead the way and although a few other areas tried, they were not taken too seriously.  Now, that is changing. I can say first hand that I have had wines made in Texas, New York, South Dakota and Colorado.  I think there is still a lot of room for growth but we are well on our way to expanding our horizons in the  vinicultural world and a new way to play tourist as we travel across the states.  I may even try some Florida wine soon.

On the way home after a great day of kayaking on the reservoir.

I was reminded of just how lucky I am to be living in a place where I can hike, bike, kayak, or just be lazy outside with mountains surrounding the waters.  Before, we made it all the way down the Peak, we decided we would cap it off and grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant, The Wines of Colorado.  This place is great! It is small, very casual so whether you are a tired tourist looking for a great souvenir for you and yours or you are a local trying to do the same, you blend in.  But, the food is really good and if you thought Colorado only had a couple of wines, you would be hugely mistaken.  Yes, we are better known for our microbreweries (Pikes Peak BrewingBristol Brewing  to name but a few) and growing distilleries (3 Hundred Days of Shine)  but we have some really good wineries and the Wines of Colorado is the place to sample them.

They have two decks that are creek side and although directly off of Hwy 24, you do not hear the road.  Rather, you hear a babbling brook and it is really a great little escape, especially for us locals.

One of the things that make this place great is that you get to sample the wines, not just before purchase of a bottle, but before purchase of a glass.  That is very cool but, be careful, your taste buds may get greedy (easy to do) and the tasting could take you a while.  I suggest you sample before you sit down, remember which ones you like and then go to your table. I tried several and the ones I liked the most were Pikes Peak Chardonnay, it was a little smokey and yet smooth. I also tried Garrett Estate Cellars  a very well-balanced, smooth 2011 Chardonnay that is unoaked.    We ended up buying a bottle of the latter and we also bought a red blend Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah from The Winery at Pikes Peak , called Parliament Blend. 
20160710_161800_resized_1Upon arriving you walk through an indoor patio and then the wine shop with a great bunch of “stuff” for the wine enthusiast. Everything from shirts, hats but also wine holders, aprons etc. I couldn’t resist taking a few pics as they show that we oenophiles have a good sense of humor. Make sure you click on that last link if you have any doubt of what the word means. Once you do, you may use it all the time just to see the reaction on people’s faces when you do.

More samples of stuff:
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Your challenge, should you choose to accept it is to see if there is a local winery near you (or even in your state).  Get out and explore your backyard and safely imbibe on the flavors that contribute to the fermented grape and enjoy.  You may be surprised at what and how much you find when you sample what is growing in your backyard.

Cheers!

Pairing Wine With a Dog

For the record, I have three dogs. Today, I will introduce you to Mojito. She comes from a long line of spirited dogs in our family.  We started with Champagne, Cognac, Chianti, Merlot, Bacchus and the other two current ones are Bordeaux and Riesling. So, this affair with wine or dogs, is legitimate.

We took our Alaskan Malamute, Mojito on a hike.  She loves to be outside and she loves water even more.  When dad got a pebble in his shoe, she jumped in to stomp around in the squishy mud.

In our house, you may hear Elvis, but probably not Hound Dog as it doesn’t reflect too nicely on a dog just because he failed to catch a rabbit. You might hear The Monkees because since we have three, we tend to agree with the theory, Gonna Buy Me A Dog. I realize, inserting the link to identify Elvis was probably not needed but when Kurt Cobain has surpassed him in searches, I thought I would just be safe and give equal time.

So, what do you pair with a spirited malamute named after a refreshing latin drink?
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Yes, you serve a pinot noir from Chateau La Paws that proudly supports no kill animal shelters and serves up a really nice red wine.  I tend to pair my wines with the weather too, and summer is perfect for a full-bodied red but that is on the lighter side. Plus, the terrier on the label is so cute, could you resist this face if you saw it on a shelf? I didn’t think so. I have had others from the vineyard, and I encourage you to try them next time you are purchasing wine.

If you want to know if Merlot approved? See for yourselves.

She gives it a good sniff and was pleased with the decision.

Until next time, keep waggin’ and celebrate you!