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Denver Food & Wine Classic

Date: Fri, Sep 7, 2007 Wine Tasting

The Colorado Restaurant Association and Southern Wine & Spirits really did a fantastic job of organizing what was a wonderful event. If you live in the Denver area and are at all interested in food and wine do not miss this event next year. The ticket price of $50 is nothing short of a bargain as you will likely consume at least $75 worth of food and wine. The wines were all selected by Southern Wine & Spirits and were premium wines for the most part. Although Southern includes a few luxury wines in their catalog, they were not being poured at this event. It is possible, though, that they were available in the VIP section, which I did not explore.

I tasted over 40 wines at the event, however, if I found the wine to be innocuous, poor or pinot noir I most likely did not assign a score. I kid pinot noir, really. It makes decent wine, but a good one is just very hard to come by. The food was provided by area restaurants, which included locally owned establishments as well as chains. In fact, one of the best food samples served was Outback Steakhouse's seared Yellowtail. It was sashimi like in that it was just kissed by the grill and melted in the mouth.

If it had been a competition I would have given Best in Show to the 2005 Far Niente Chardonnay, which I reviewed in a previous post. The following is a list of wines and scores from the event. Normally I use Robert Parker's 100 point scale to assign ratings, but because I was tasting so many different wines in such a short period of time in an uncontrolled environment I used the 10 point scale (borrowed from Alder Yarow's Vinography) for this event. The wines within each category are listed in no particular order.
Wines rated 9.0 - 9.5
1. 2005 Far Niente Chardonnay
2. 2006 Dr. Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Kabinett

Wines Rated 9.0
1. 2005 Summerland Winery Paradise Road Viogner
2. 2005 Conundrum
3. 2005 Dutton Goldfield, Dutton Ranch Russian River Chardonnay

Wines Rated 8.5 - 9.0
1. 2006 Dashwood Suvignon Blanc
2. 2006 Aussieres Blanc
3. 2006 Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc
4. 2006 Summerland Winery Pinot Noir Wolff Vineyard Edna Valley
5. 2005 Summerland Winery Chardonnay (Central Coast Collection)
6. 2004 Hanzell Vineyards Sonoma Chardonnay
7. 2006 Silver Unoaked Chardonnay
8. 2005 Nickel & Nickel Darien Vineyard Syrah
9. 2005 Nickel and Nickel Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel
10. 2003 Trefethen Merlot
11. 2003 Swanson Merlot
12. 2005 Cosumano Nero d'Alvo

Wines rated 8.5
1. 2003 Castello di Meloeto Chianti Classico
2. 2005 Colosi Rosso
3. 2003 Raymond Merlot

Wines rated 8.0 - 8.5
1. 2003 Raymond Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2. 2004 Dutton Ranch Cherry Ridge Vineyard Syrah

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Denver Food & Wine Classic

Date: Fri, Sep 7, 2007 Wine Tasting

The Colorado Restaurant Association and Southern Wine & Spirits really did a fantastic job of organizing what was a wonderful event. If you live in the Denver area and are at all interested in food and wine do not miss this event next year. The ticket price of $50 is nothing short of a bargain as you will likely consume at least $75 worth of food and wine. The wines were all selected by Southern Wine & Spirits and were premium wines for the most part. Although Southern includes a few luxury wines in their catalog, they were not being poured at this event. It is possible, though, that they were available in the VIP section, which I did not explore.

I tasted over 40 wines at the event, however, if I found the wine to be innocuous, poor or pinot noir I most likely did not assign a score. I kid pinot noir, really. It makes decent wine, but a good one is just very hard to come by. The food was provided by area restaurants, which included locally owned establishments as well as chains. In fact, one of the best food samples served was Outback Steakhouse's seared Yellowtail. It was sashimi like in that it was just kissed by the grill and melted in the mouth.

If it had been a competition I would have given Best in Show to the 2005 Far Niente Chardonnay, which I reviewed in a previous post. The following is a list of wines and scores from the event. Normally I use Robert Parker's 100 point scale to assign ratings, but because I was tasting so many different wines in such a short period of time in an uncontrolled environment I used the 10 point scale (borrowed from Alder Yarow's Vinography) for this event. The wines within each category are listed in no particular order.
Wines rated 9.0 - 9.5
1. 2005 Far Niente Chardonnay
2. 2006 Dr. Loosen Bernkasteler Lay Kabinett

Wines Rated 9.0
1. 2005 Summerland Winery Paradise Road Viogner
2. 2005 Conundrum
3. 2005 Dutton Goldfield, Dutton Ranch Russian River Chardonnay

Wines Rated 8.5 - 9.0
1. 2006 Dashwood Suvignon Blanc
2. 2006 Aussieres Blanc
3. 2006 Goldwater Sauvignon Blanc
4. 2006 Summerland Winery Pinot Noir Wolff Vineyard Edna Valley
5. 2005 Summerland Winery Chardonnay (Central Coast Collection)
6. 2004 Hanzell Vineyards Sonoma Chardonnay
7. 2006 Silver Unoaked Chardonnay
8. 2005 Nickel & Nickel Darien Vineyard Syrah
9. 2005 Nickel and Nickel Ponzo Vineyard Zinfandel
10. 2003 Trefethen Merlot
11. 2003 Swanson Merlot
12. 2005 Cosumano Nero d'Alvo

Wines rated 8.5
1. 2003 Castello di Meloeto Chianti Classico
2. 2005 Colosi Rosso
3. 2003 Raymond Merlot

Wines rated 8.0 - 8.5
1. 2003 Raymond Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
2. 2004 Dutton Ranch Cherry Ridge Vineyard Syrah

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Denver Food & Wine Classic on Sunday, Aug. 26th

Date: Thu, Aug 23, 2007 Wine Tasting

Re-published from Denver Food & Wine Classic website:


Southern Wine & Spirits of Colorado and the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Fund are pleased to present the 3rd Annual Denver Food & Wine Classic presented by US Foodservice, the largest single-day food and wine tasting experience in Denver. Join more than 3,500+ food and wine enthusiasts on Sunday, August 26th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Pepsi Center grounds for a tasting of more than 300 featured wines, spirits, and cuisine from over 30 of Denver’s finest restaurants, wine auction, steel chef competition and culinary demonstrations.

The goal of this event is to help raise funds for the Post-News Charities, the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Fund, and a new beneficiary this year, Kroenke Sports Charities, (Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth, Colorado Rapids, Pepsi Center, CityLights Pavilion, Paramount Theatre), which provides fitness, education and recreation programs to thousands of children throughout the metro area each year. The Denver Food & Wine Classic hopes to raise more than $150,000 this year.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Denver Food & Wine Classic on Sunday, Aug. 26th

Date: Thu, Aug 23, 2007 Wine Tasting

Re-published from Denver Food & Wine Classic website:


Southern Wine & Spirits of Colorado and the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Fund are pleased to present the 3rd Annual Denver Food & Wine Classic presented by US Foodservice, the largest single-day food and wine tasting experience in Denver. Join more than 3,500+ food and wine enthusiasts on Sunday, August 26th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Pepsi Center grounds for a tasting of more than 300 featured wines, spirits, and cuisine from over 30 of Denver’s finest restaurants, wine auction, steel chef competition and culinary demonstrations.

The goal of this event is to help raise funds for the Post-News Charities, the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Fund, and a new beneficiary this year, Kroenke Sports Charities, (Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth, Colorado Rapids, Pepsi Center, CityLights Pavilion, Paramount Theatre), which provides fitness, education and recreation programs to thousands of children throughout the metro area each year. The Denver Food & Wine Classic hopes to raise more than $150,000 this year.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Denver Food & Wine Classic on Sunday, Aug. 26th

Date: Thu, Aug 23, 2007 Wine Tasting

Re-published from Denver Food & Wine Classic website:


Southern Wine & Spirits of Colorado and the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Fund are pleased to present the 3rd Annual Denver Food & Wine Classic presented by US Foodservice, the largest single-day food and wine tasting experience in Denver. Join more than 3,500+ food and wine enthusiasts on Sunday, August 26th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on the Pepsi Center grounds for a tasting of more than 300 featured wines, spirits, and cuisine from over 30 of Denver’s finest restaurants, wine auction, steel chef competition and culinary demonstrations.

The goal of this event is to help raise funds for the Post-News Charities, the Colorado Restaurant Association Education Fund, and a new beneficiary this year, Kroenke Sports Charities, (Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Mammoth, Colorado Rapids, Pepsi Center, CityLights Pavilion, Paramount Theatre), which provides fitness, education and recreation programs to thousands of children throughout the metro area each year. The Denver Food & Wine Classic hopes to raise more than $150,000 this year.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2003 Chateau Joanin Becot

Date: Sun, Aug 19, 2007 Wine Tasting

Wine: Ch. Joanin Becot
Appellation: Cotes De Castillon, Bordeaux
Winemaker: Sophie Porquet and Jean-Philippe Fort
Estimated Cost: $23

A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader named Chip which read, "Gee, Brad. Those wines sound great, but what about wines for cheap-asses like me?" Well, Chip... here is a great wine for a cheap-ass like you. Chateau Joanin Becot is located in Cotes de Castillon, which is an up and coming, but not widely known region of Bordeaux. Cotes de Castillon was not included in the Bordeaux Classification of 1855. In fact, it was not even a recognized Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée until 1989. Situated in the Right Bank just east of St. Emilion, Cotes de Castillion has become a hot spot for young, talented, entrepreneurial winemakers hoping to start their own labels. Real estate prices in the Medoc are cost prohibitive for such ventures partly due to the increasing trend of large corporations gobbling up established chateaux.

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the most common varietals grown in Cotes de Castillon, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petite Verdot are grown there as well. The wines vary in quality, but the good ones are often great values as they are much less expensive than wines of similar quality from other regions. The 2003 Joanin Becot is a fine example of the value to which I am referring. I love throwing this wine into the mix during blind tastings because it is guaranteed to pick off a few wines two and three times its price. Okay... I will admit the "Miracle on Ice" reference is a bit of a stretch, but this is still a damn good bottle of wine for under twenty-five bucks!

Tasting Notes: Dark, inky purple to the rim. Medium body, lots of ripe fruit with notes of plum, blueberry, blackberry and vanilla. 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Very nice structure suggesting this wine will improve with a little bit of age. Oak and tannins present, but integrated. Although very showy, opulent and hard to resist now, this wine should be a real beauty with just a few more years in the cellar. It is imperative to decant this wine a few hours before consumption. 91 points. Find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2003 Chateau Joanin Becot

Date: Sun, Aug 19, 2007 Wine Tasting

Wine: Ch. Joanin Becot
Appellation: Cotes De Castillon, Bordeaux
Winemaker: Sophie Porquet and Jean-Philippe Fort
Estimated Cost: $23

A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader named Chip which read, "Gee, Brad. Those wines sound great, but what about wines for cheap-asses like me?" Well, Chip... here is a great wine for a cheap-ass like you. Chateau Joanin Becot is located in Cotes de Castillon, which is an up and coming, but not widely known region of Bordeaux. Cotes de Castillon was not included in the Bordeaux Classification of 1855. In fact, it was not even a recognized Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée until 1989. Situated in the Right Bank just east of St. Emilion, Cotes de Castillion has become a hot spot for young, talented, entrepreneurial winemakers hoping to start their own labels. Real estate prices in the Medoc are cost prohibitive for such ventures partly due to the increasing trend of large corporations gobbling up established chateaux.

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the most common varietals grown in Cotes de Castillon, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petite Verdot are grown there as well. The wines vary in quality, but the good ones are often great values as they are much less expensive than wines of similar quality from other regions. The 2003 Joanin Becot is a fine example of the value to which I am referring. I love throwing this wine into the mix during blind tastings because it is guaranteed to pick off a few wines two and three times its price. Okay... I will admit the "Miracle on Ice" reference is a bit of a stretch, but this is still a damn good bottle of wine for under twenty-five bucks!

Tasting Notes: Dark, inky purple to the rim. Medium body, lots of ripe fruit with notes of plum, blueberry, blackberry and vanilla. 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Very nice structure suggesting this wine will improve with a little bit of age. Oak and tannins present, but integrated. Although very showy, opulent and hard to resist now, this wine should be a real beauty with just a few more years in the cellar. It is imperative to decant this wine a few hours before consumption. 91 points. Find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

2003 Chateau Joanin Becot

Date: Sun, Aug 19, 2007 Wine Tasting

Wine: Ch. Joanin Becot
Appellation: Cotes De Castillon, Bordeaux
Winemaker: Sophie Porquet and Jean-Philippe Fort
Estimated Cost: $23

A few weeks ago I received an email from a reader named Chip which read, "Gee, Brad. Those wines sound great, but what about wines for cheap-asses like me?" Well, Chip... here is a great wine for a cheap-ass like you. Chateau Joanin Becot is located in Cotes de Castillon, which is an up and coming, but not widely known region of Bordeaux. Cotes de Castillon was not included in the Bordeaux Classification of 1855. In fact, it was not even a recognized Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée until 1989. Situated in the Right Bank just east of St. Emilion, Cotes de Castillion has become a hot spot for young, talented, entrepreneurial winemakers hoping to start their own labels. Real estate prices in the Medoc are cost prohibitive for such ventures partly due to the increasing trend of large corporations gobbling up established chateaux.

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the most common varietals grown in Cotes de Castillon, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petite Verdot are grown there as well. The wines vary in quality, but the good ones are often great values as they are much less expensive than wines of similar quality from other regions. The 2003 Joanin Becot is a fine example of the value to which I am referring. I love throwing this wine into the mix during blind tastings because it is guaranteed to pick off a few wines two and three times its price. Okay... I will admit the "Miracle on Ice" reference is a bit of a stretch, but this is still a damn good bottle of wine for under twenty-five bucks!

Tasting Notes: Dark, inky purple to the rim. Medium body, lots of ripe fruit with notes of plum, blueberry, blackberry and vanilla. 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Very nice structure suggesting this wine will improve with a little bit of age. Oak and tannins present, but integrated. Although very showy, opulent and hard to resist now, this wine should be a real beauty with just a few more years in the cellar. It is imperative to decant this wine a few hours before consumption. 91 points. Find it

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Boulder Food & Wine Festival a Success

Date: Wed, Aug 15, 2007 Wine Tasting

Organizers, participants and attendees should be commended for helping to make Sunday's inaugural Boulder Food and Wine Festival a grand success. The festival included samples from some of Boulder's finest restaurants and wines from about twenty Colorado wineries. I was there early in the day, and attendance appeared to be very strong. The Daily Camera estimated attendance at about 2,000 people, which I do not believe to be exaggerated. Some of the highlights were Mateo's prosciutto and olives, Q's peach cobbler, a delicious veggie flatbread served by The Kitchen, and Aji had people lining up for seconds of their shrimp ceviche. The wines from Colorado have a long way to go before they can compete with wines from more prominent regions, but I didn't see anyone leaving the festival dissatisfied with the event. Boulder's food and wine scene is definitely coming of age, and the festival's impressive attendance shows the city's potential for more events like this. I just hope next year they'll be a little more accepting of Boulder's heritage and let me use the same entrance as everyone else.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Boulder Food & Wine Festival a Success

Date: Wed, Aug 15, 2007 Wine Tasting

Organizers, participants and attendees should be commended for helping to make Sunday's inaugural Boulder Food and Wine Festival a grand success. The festival included samples from some of Boulder's finest restaurants and wines from about twenty Colorado wineries. I was there early in the day, and attendance appeared to be very strong. The Daily Camera estimated attendance at about 2,000 people, which I do not believe to be exaggerated. Some of the highlights were Mateo's prosciutto and olives, Q's peach cobbler, a delicious veggie flatbread served by The Kitchen, and Aji had people lining up for seconds of their shrimp ceviche. The wines from Colorado have a long way to go before they can compete with wines from more prominent regions, but I didn't see anyone leaving the festival dissatisfied with the event. Boulder's food and wine scene is definitely coming of age, and the festival's impressive attendance shows the city's potential for more events like this. I just hope next year they'll be a little more accepting of Boulder's heritage and let me use the same entrance as everyone else.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Boulder Food & Wine Festival a Success

Date: Wed, Aug 15, 2007 Wine Tasting

Organizers, participants and attendees should be commended for helping to make Sunday's inaugural Boulder Food and Wine Festival a grand success. The festival included samples from some of Boulder's finest restaurants and wines from about twenty Colorado wineries. I was there early in the day, and attendance appeared to be very strong. The Daily Camera estimated attendance at about 2,000 people, which I do not believe to be exaggerated. Some of the highlights were Mateo's prosciutto and olives, Q's peach cobbler, a delicious veggie flatbread served by The Kitchen, and Aji had people lining up for seconds of their shrimp ceviche. The wines from Colorado have a long way to go before they can compete with wines from more prominent regions, but I didn't see anyone leaving the festival dissatisfied with the event. Boulder's food and wine scene is definitely coming of age, and the festival's impressive attendance shows the city's potential for more events like this. I just hope next year they'll be a little more accepting of Boulder's heritage and let me use the same entrance as everyone else.

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Boulder Food & Wine Festival this Sunday

Date: Sat, Aug 11, 2007 Wine Tasting

Don't forget that the inaugural Boulder Food and Wine Festival is this Sunday, August 12 at Central Park in Boulder. If you are wondering where Central Park in Boulder is you are not alone. I have lived in Boulder for 17 years, and I was wondering the same thing. It turns out that the park with the band shell at the southeast corner of Canyon and Broadway has a name! The festival, which will feature Colorado wines along with creations from some of Boulder's finest chefs, runs from 12pm to 5pm. It will be a great opportunity for those of us who have not sampled many Colorado wines to see what this budding wine region has to offer. For more information visit Boulderwinefest.com. See you there!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Boulder Food & Wine Festival this Sunday

Date: Sat, Aug 11, 2007 Wine Tasting

Don't forget that the inaugural Boulder Food and Wine Festival is this Sunday, August 12 at Central Park in Boulder. If you are wondering where Central Park in Boulder is you are not alone. I have lived in Boulder for 17 years, and I was wondering the same thing. It turns out that the park with the band shell at the southeast corner of Canyon and Broadway has a name! The festival, which will feature Colorado wines along with creations from some of Boulder's finest chefs, runs from 12pm to 5pm. It will be a great opportunity for those of us who have not sampled many Colorado wines to see what this budding wine region has to offer. For more information visit Boulderwinefest.com. See you there!

Read Full Wine Blog Post

Boulder Food & Wine Festival this Sunday

Date: Sat, Aug 11, 2007 Wine Tasting

Don't forget that the inaugural Boulder Food and Wine Festival is this Sunday, August 12 at Central Park in Boulder. If you are wondering where Central Park in Boulder is you are not alone. I have lived in Boulder for 17 years, and I was wondering the same thing. It turns out that the park with the band shell at the southeast corner of Canyon and Broadway has a name! The festival, which will feature Colorado wines along with creations from some of Boulder's finest chefs, runs from 12pm to 5pm. It will be a great opportunity for those of us who have not sampled many Colorado wines to see what this budding wine region has to offer. For more information visit Boulderwinefest.com. See you there!

Read Full Wine Blog Post


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