Sotheby’s brought their world-class status to Steamboat Springs and entertained the lovers of the vine with a thing or two about Bordeaux and Burgundy. The gathering was held at Saddles where once again the food did not disappoint and the views are stunning. The hosts from Sotheby’s were Eli Rodriguez from New York and Mike Hoagland from California. Yes, it was an East Coast vs West Coast kind of deal which is kind of funny considering the East Bank vs West Bank of our wine tastings.
The French Burgundy, Pinot Noir $104.95
Saddles delicious accompaniment to wine.
Volunteers guarding the wines.
The Blonde Grape and Eli Rodriguez
Eli drinking and Mike taking his turn at speaking
Eli and Mike
The real star of the show
What do you think of when you think of Burgundy? Are you thinking it is a really pretty color? If yes, you might be on the wrong blog.
Rather, it is a region in France and it is known for producing really great Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. Now, California and Oregon create some very appealing Pinot Noirs, but this lighter red wine is elevated to a higher level when you drink one from this colorful region. The Pinot Noir grape is the only red varietal grown in the Burgundy region. See map below to acquaint yourself with the region.
Driving this point home was the spectacular sampling of Hudelot-Noellot Nuits St. Georges “Les Mergers” ler Cru 2010 (shown above left). Using Sotheby’s description, “An outstanding vintage, this is a wonderful example of the extraordinary quality of fruit in 2010. An enticing, mouth-watering nose gives way to mildly spicy, concentrated, earthy flavors in the mouth. Juicy and delicious Pinot Noir.” I not only quote them because they are spot on, but because when you are sampling a bottle that is selling for a little over $100 you want to be exact. To learn more about Pinot Noir, check out the following link from Your Wine IQ, here.
Now, what do you think of when you hear Bordeaux? You would be on the right blog if you think a deeper red wine and associate the region of France with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and even Malbec. Now, this is my blog and I would think of the same things but I also think of my red husky aptly named Bordeaux.
Superb blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and a majority of Merlot.
Under $100 (barely) we have a second growth Bordeaux.
Via Sothebys: Chateau Clinet, Pomerol 2004: A blend of majority Merlot, with the rest of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, Clinet is always impressive Pomerol. Powerful, densely colored and big, balanced with freshness and precision. One of Bordeaux’s great Right Bank estates. Chateau Gruaud Larose, St. Julien 1998: As one of Bordeaux’s famed Second Growths, Gruaud Larose is textbook St. Julien: on the nose, a touch of cedar, cherry and blackberry, blended with balanced smoke, fruit and sweet tannin on the finish. Benchmark Bordeaux, and always built to last.
Both of these wines were excellent. Dare I say, all of the wines presented by Sotheby’s were very good and honestly, better than expected. Yes, we paid for the presentation but they really elevated the experience. Eli and Mike, look like brothers and finished each other’s sentences and made wine accessible to the masses. As it should be, it has been around longer than you or I and thus we should experience the stories each glass tells.
Perhaps my favorite part of the experience, is I received some unsolicited validation. Wine is to be enjoyed and I often drink red wine with fish, I pair a wine with the weather, (see Hace Caliente) my goal is to enjoy the complexities of wine and also the simplicities of wine. When I heard these experts, and they are sommeliers and do intense study, lead off with drink what you like and have red wine with fish…I beamed. I almost did a spit take and I can’t agree more.
A Sotheby’s Table
Bordeaux guarding the grape
It begins with a good sniff…
You may notice Bordeaux giving the proper sniff to a bottle of red…well, it is actually a Zinfandel and the only grape that is actually native to California. It is not, but probably more similar to a Burgundy but I couldn’t resist the picture. Besides, as I have said before and will say again,
With a wake-up call like this, what better way to earn your wine than a bike ride through Steamboat Springs through rolling hills to an old school-house and then back for a wine tasting with Michael David Winery.
We gather in front of Cafe Diva near Gondola Square between Torian Plum and The Sheraton. I will admit it, I am a bit nervous. I have had two surgeries and only have done one ride outside since recovery. I bought brand new shoes because I am a girl and that is what I do (don’t judge). Will they clip into the bike? How many hills are there? [knowing full well this is Colorado and they lie when they say a flat course. I mean hello, Rocky Mountains…I am blonde but I can pull out knowledge when needed]. Before we start to roll, I over hear a conversation (okay eavesdrop, tell me the difference) and realize we have one of the owners of Michael David Winery trying to pedal chains with us on the adventure. As a lover of wine, a new blogger I am like a teenager at a Shawn Mendes concert. So far, three people have thought he was his brother, well I won’t, his name is David. That is my brother’s name, I’m golden…or…
We turn the cranks under the balloon and past funky mailboxes. The ride is going better than expected, I am refusing to admit that I am scared. I mean, I have legitimate excuses, never mind that I have been medically cleared and teach spinning.(I said before, don’t judge) Spinning is an excellent workout, it is indoor cycling. Which means I will make you sweat going nowhere fast. Now, we have just started and I am still trying to figure out how to shift my Bianchi (own one, and you’ll refer to it by its name…that is all), please remember I indoor cycle more due to injury. I suddenly hear a welcome voice asking me all sorts of questions. How are you? What do you think? Now, I am blonde and now I am thinking and pedaling, this is dangerous territory. So, I flip the tables between deep breaths…and find out that I am riding with a truly Epic cyclist that has now elevated my skills, status and anything else I can possibly tie to this event. I was riding alongside Sonya Looney. She wins 24 hour races in places like Nepal and they are world races and she is awesome. Click on her name, Sonya Looney and you will see for yourself and do what she says, which is Do Epic Shit. Just go ahead and do it, reasons why will be another post. She is awesome and as she distracted me, she reminded me how to shift and all of a sudden, I wasn’t a beginner driving a clutch, I was a pro and driving Fast and Furious.
Me and Sonya Looney, Epic Cyclist – Epic Ride
A Colorado Mailbox
Bruce, who made me cool again
So, if you haven’t figured this from my previous blogs, you should know that I love music. So, when I am pedaling up the last big hill and someone starts talking with an accent from the area that was my alma mater, I had to stay engaged. My college degree is Recording Industry Management with a Business and Mass Communications Minor from MTSU. A slight digression but now that I am in civilian life, I rarely meet someone who understand the passion behind music. One you don’t have to like all kinds, but there is a respect and memories are made no matter your style, and this man owned several record stores. In fact, I contributed to his 2nd home here in Steamboat because of how much I purchased. But, I am including him because he recognized my degree and he too can take any phrase, any quote and refer to the appropriate song. It is a curse, but enjoy it.
David Phillips after ride, quality testing wines
1st glass chardonnay poured for tasting
Michael David Chardonnay
Story is well worth the read
The finish is at Saddles, in the Sheraton Hotel which is slopeside. The inside is nice but in the middle of the lobby, but it opens up to the slopes and you can watch cyclists or skiers depending on season and it is almost perfection for location. Go here when you visit, the food will not disappoint you and will keep you in vacation mode whether for a day or a week.
Now, we get to the reward of pedaling in the heat. We rode up hill both ways – actually we did, they are rolling hills and that is how it works. David Phillips, founder introduced us to the Michael David Winery Chardonnay. It is the tamest of names for this vineyard but an enticing welcome as they raise your wine senses to a new level. I was impressed, that the owner new(ish) to Colorado rode the race that he sponsored the tasting. However, I was thrilled to find out that he sponsored many athletes, cyclists and Sonya Looney is one. So, no longer surprised, but you should witness, he still quality tests the wine before serving to our wine riding peloton. (See above).
David Phillips demonstrates that you should do what you love. He loves the outdoors, he loves wines and he loves really good food. The vineyard I am told, serves great food and I can tell you the winery will make you proud every pour. Do you like zinfandel? I do, hiswinery produces the #1 selling Zinfandel in the world and that is 7 Deadly Zins...but we were blessed to be able to try others. Now, David is quite the story-teller as he speaks about each wine being served. He told us about the vineyard but then he revealed to us the personality behind the fermented grapes he was pouring. [I am often asked how do I choose wine..not scientifically as you might expect. If I am going for a blind tasting, I factor in weather, occasion but I look for personality on the label.] David, takes his grapes and process seriously but he and the vineyard have a great sense of humor. He was raised in Catholic schools and he loves wine. Knowing the two mix but maybe not completely, they have chosen to name their wines reminding he and his brother Michael of their youth. That or a Brad Pitt/Morgan Freeman movie, called Se7en about the Seven Deadly Sins. Rest assured the wine is infinitely more delicious,fun and memorable than the movie and adds a laugh or two on the label. But, the movie was pretty good too but I choose the wines. To name a few: Freakshow, 7 Deadly Zins, Earthquake, Rapture and Lust.
This is the second tasting and is the petite sirah. For a hot day, this is perfect and although they paired it with food, I pair it with sunshine, activity and such. This is Sonya’s favorite wine and it was a very nice change of pace. Which, when you shift your gears properly , is a very nice change of pace as well. Love Earthquake.
Next in line is Rapture. Now, David talked about how this was kind of rebellion against his youth and targeted at the evangelicals but it is a great wine and it is selling very well. Embrace the humor in the label and know that this is a great Cabernet Sauvignon. It may not lift you like Revelations, but to think that you are drinking it and still going skyward, that is a good thing. He may have made Biblical ties, but I linked it to Blondie and their song Rapture. More specifically, I linked it to the mashup of Blondie and The Doors and Rapture Rider. [I am betting you haven’t heard the mashup, so please give it a listen. It will surprise you]. For the record, I told him I made that leap…he liked it. I also discovered he likes Depeche Mode..if you listen and then read the labels, this does not come as a surprise. Try Just Can’t Get Enough.
I can’t begin to express how excited I am to be here. I have been a wine aficionado for half of my life but only began to blog about it recently. I am not seeking accolades, so I am majorly geeking out that a sport that I love and wine can be blended together for an event and I get to meet people at the top of their fields, doing what they love. It is beyond measurable. I apologize, because I can’t remember David’s wife’s name, (I am blonde, older and it wasn’t repeated as often) but I do know her contribution to the event and to be in a picture with her, David and Sonya is worth every sip of their wine.
Last but not least, I think you can tell that I try to stay positive in my posts but I would not say such stellar things if I didn’t believe them to be true. You will find that often, the experience may overpower the wine and that sometimes happens. In this case, Michael David Winery holds it own and this Pedal and Pour event, would not have been nearly as successful if it weren’t for a winery that had personality, character and understood the passion for pedaling. I think you will like this vineyard, and these wines make constant advice easy to follow – Drink What You Like. Cheers!
The sun is setting and a slight mist in the air, the anticipation of the first cork being pulled is palpable. Cue tape rewind … Introducing, the 2016 Steamboat Wine Festival . Steamboat Springs, CO could be the quintessential town displaying the culmination of the Old West and Contemporary Resort Life. A great ski town, known for Billy the Kid (Skier) and lots of snow. But, in the summer it is also known for some great events, the wine festival but there are several cycling events, running races, rodeos and more. There are several local lakes around for camping as well as hiking and it is a great place to unwind, especially considering the winding roads to get there.
Kickoff for the Wine Festival was held in Gondola Square. It was open to the public and my only disappointment is that it only featured one vineyard: Woodbridge Vineyards. Now, Robert Mondavi has a great history. The experience behind their wines and the family dramas tell for some great stories. But, and there is always a but, as an introduction to a wine fest where you are expected to be blown away by the offerings to only be offered one and it to be an easily accessible one or rather a very familiar one, was disappointing.
There are times when we will question the 80s music, but when you are gathered around a lot of people who are similar in age and younger ones that believe classic rock is cool. Yes, they are calling the 80s classic rock…something is seriously wrong there but that is for another blog.
So under the 80s link, this is a long listen, but the sampling 80s band more diverse than posted above, is a good way to boost your playlist. Need a boost to playlist or a happy reminder of your history – Click here.
Now, it is a wine fest so we ventured inside to Saddles, a location in the Sheraton that hosted many of the events. This place is awesome, if you are in the area, check it out. I didn’t know there was a patio until the next day, but great food and beautiful views. So, here I drank a glass from a vineyard I used to drink quite often but for one reason or another, haven’t had in years. A glass of the Austrailian Penfolds 389 which was a perfect accompaniment to the Elk Quesadillas. Now, according to the site, this is considered a poor man’s vinicultural drink. But, I find that very hard to believe. One, is it was very nice and well-rounded. It was strong yet soft at the same time and for the record, it was a surprising $20/glass. I didn’t see that at the beginning and probably would have not chosen it when the other glasses were $8-$12, but I thought it quite good and a more appropriate kick off to the event.
A wine festival is to celebrate the history, the experience, the excitement, the lessons taught and the lessons to be learned from wine. It is an event to celebrate love, friendships, new business, new families and a beverage that has been around for millenniums that unifies us all. There will be lots to choose from, so as always try something new but in the end, drink what you like. Cheers!