A Whale of a Good Time—in Vail

“I’ve a whale of a tale to tell you lads, a whale of a tale or two…” even better when sung by Kirk Douglas (if you are wondering about the relevance of the 20,000 League ride at Disney Parks). Click here, assuming I still can’t get the video to link directly. Remember, part of the title is Blonde…now, let it go.

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A Disney Film, with a very catchy tune. 

Vail, Colorado is a beautiful mountain town with a definite European influence. Covered bridges, nestled in the Gore Mountains and plenty of unique shopping and dining experiences.


One of the better farmer’s markets around, although a little light on the natural foods, a great selection of cook to order meals, great arts & crafts and even wine. In fact, the wine caught me by surprise and ended up buying some before the wine festival even started.  Bookcliff Vineyards, probably my favorite of Colorado wines so far…although admittedly, I have only tried a few. I am getting over the coastal issue but I was very pleased and bought a triple package. The packaging was very creative and really promoted Colorado wines.

See, packaged in the box and out, it is creative and true to the vine.  We purchased a triple and was able to choose the wines. We chose the Cabernet Franc, Ensemble and the Syrah. Granted, we leaned red and I am normally more balanced between the two, but I think the strength of this vineyard is in the reds and I really enjoyed the Cabernet Franc.  Other very notable vineyards, use Cabernet Franc in their blends along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot…if the ratio is done just right, it is divine.

Now, to enter the wine festival. The food pairings they had were not disappointing, although some of the wines were. I can tell you The Prisoner was winning hands down, although Vail would have you feeling anything but trapped. I will also tell you,again, my favorite is sparkling wine, so I was drinking Chandon, by the bottle. Okay, a split..but I drank it from the bottle and it fit in the drink holder of all the Audi cars. Yes, they were a sponsor and my husband promised me the TT. Shown below.

More pics from the Wine Festival—

Vail is one of my favorite places.  It is nice and a true escape from the daily grind.  This wine fest was very enjoyable and you can never go wrong with the excellent dining and outdoor activities that abound in the valley. Go shop, taste and experience Vail. But remember, your taste is your own-drink what you like. Cheers!

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!

Feeling Mischievous

Sometimes, you just don’t feel like following the rules.  Sometimes you want to bend them pretty damn far and start to hear a ticking sound before it cracks. So, this is one of those nights…

I should run
On the double
I think I’m in trouble
I think I’m in trouble
I think I’m in trouble
(from Trouble by Lindsey Buckingham)

There is a wine for such an occasion, Troublemaker. It is a red blend from Paso Robles and like anything mischievous, it is more than expected.  A little complicated if you will, but not so much that you will run from it. Just that it has layers, like…like…like Shrek. Now, it is not sweet like an onion or a  parfait (the comparison starts around :46)  but really quite daring.

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This wine had layers and it was really very good.  It sparked imagination and reminds us that although the name inspires fun and a little bit of misbehavior it is worthy of our time and attention.

This was a perfect wine for when you are feeling a bit on edge or really in touch with your feelings. No, not emotional, but bluesy like that pulse that can vibe through you when listening to the blues. A big resurgence in the blues was attributed to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble.  Now, this is a red and does not need to be served like revenge-cold. But, to make sure you understand the blues reference and pay tribute to one of the great artists of all time, here is Cold Shot, for your listening pleasure.

I don’t want to intimidate you with this wine, so I am just telling you it is one that you can use to break the rules. For example, serve it with chicken dishes, or around a campfire. You see there are no rules and you can drink what you like, that is the message. This wine will adapt to your personality and worth the effort to go and find.

In case you think I am showing some age on this by throwing it back with song references, this Troublemaker also goes with today’s talents of Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson, here is their version of Trouble.

 

It is able to handle multiple personalities like Sybil but it is really straightforward and telling you up front, raise your glass and celebrate you! Cheers!