--How local can you go? Test your loyalty to local at this year’s Colorado Urban Winefest, now through June 9, 2012.
In case you haven’t noticed, Colorado is ripe with local wine. It’s the second week of Colorado’s summer wine week and Colorado Urban Winefest, which means Denver is pairing up its finest food with Colorado wines. If you call yourself a locavore, my lips will only eat local food in the summer months, this is your opportunity to prove just how local you can be, and above all, get to know which Colorado wineries are worthy of your glass. All are local, and some are even biodynamic, like Jack Rabbit Hill, which is way past organic on the green scale (see the slide show for photos).
By having a bulk of wineries in one place at the Colorado Urban Winefest, it’s a great way to narrow down your favorites because many of these wines are not as easy to find as more widely available California vintages. And, as many wine and food writers found out at an April Drink Local Wine event (this one included), many Colorado vintages were a few corks higher than California wines.
There is a lot going on this week, but here are eight of the greatest reasons to be a part of Colorado Urban Winefest:
1. The Governor of the state and the “chairman of the board” of Denver fine dining and local wine, say so. “Everything that goes with local food, goes with local food,” says chef Frank Bonanno, chef owner of Mizuna and seven other restaurants. “It’s an all-inclusive Colorado experience,” he says in a video to promote Colorado wines. Governor Hickenlooper agrees, “This year Colorado, I have a new challenge—when you reach for glass of wine, make it from Colorado,” says the former craft beer maker.
2. It’s never too early to get ready for the weekend. Pre-event tickets for Colorado Urban Winefest are $44 (less than day of tickets). On Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m., the Colorado Urban Winefest event culminates at Sculpture Park (in front of the Denver Performing Arts Center) for an urban wine tasting event. As many as 42 wineries will be pouring up the state’s best vintages. Tickets can be bought online at http://www.coloradowinefest.com.
3. Leave the car at home and do the Urban Winefest neighborhood wine crawl. From now through the weekend, Denver restaurants are offering an Urban Winefest small plate with a Colorado wine pairing for only $15. Here are a few examples that we’ve grouped by neighborhood so you can create your own Colorado Urban Fest wine crawl (link here to all the menus and here for a map:
4. LoHi/Highland Wine Crawl: 1. Cellar Wine Bar, Watermelon Gazpacho with Bulgarian feta with a Dry Rose from Allis Ranch Winery, Sedalia. 2. Linger, Roasted Beet Salad and apricot chutney with a Jack Rabbit Hill 2011 Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling Blend. 3. Root Down, Spinach Semolina Gnocchi pecorino cheese and Meyer Lemon sauce with Jack Rabbit Hill 2011 Round Tower Malvasia, Viognier and Riesling Blend. 4. Z-Cuisine (daily menu) with Leroux Creek Vineyards, Cayuga White and Maison Le Bella Vie, Syrah based Red Blend
3. LoDo Wine Crawl: 1. Coohills arugula salad, honey crisp apple, Canyon Wind Cellars, 2010 Sauvignon Blanc.
4. Downtown: 1. Hyatt at the Convention Center, Peaks Lounge 27th floor, Barbeque Duck Flatbread with caramelized onions, mushrooms and camembert and Colorado 2009 Merlot; Smoked Colorado Trout Mousse with Guy Drew Vineyards Chardonnay or Meritage. ROW 14 Alamosa Striped Bass Sashimi house raisins and Olin Farms Arugula Pesto with Guy Drew Vineyards, 2010 Riesling.
5. Uptown: Nightly food pairing (dish changes daily) at 1. Olivea with Two Rivers Winery 2010 Chardonnay. Duo with Mesa Park Vineyards, 2006 Cabernet Franc and Alfred Eames Cellars, 2009 Tempranello. Fleur Bistro, Spinach Ravioli with Bolognese Sauce and Two Rivers Winery, 2010 Syrah.
6. Good excuse to drink wine and tweet while shopping
Wednesday, June 6, is a Colorado Wines Farmer's Market Wine Tweetup and Barbeque from 4:00pm-8:30pm. Highland Tap and Burger is hosting an afternoon party next door to the farmer’s market. Stock up on local produce, taste local wines and enjoys dinner, the grill will be fired up. Wine for sale by the glass and bottle. Highland Tap and Burger, 2219 W. 32nd Ave (32nd & Vallejo), Denver, CO 80211.
7. Bully pit California wines with Colorado wines
Local restaurants will pair California wines and Colorado wines with small plates. See how our local vintages stack up against the guys to the west, you might be surprised at the results.
Wednesday June 6, East Meets West in Denver
Two Rivers Winery and DeBeque Canyon will join Spero Winery for antipasto and wine, $15, 4:30-7:30 p.m. Spero Winery, 3316 West 64th Ave.
Thursday, June 7, East Meets West in Boulder
Whitewater Hill Vineyards will visit BookCliff Vineyards for an East meets West tasting. $5 to taste, $10 to taste with food from the Heirloom Food Truck, plus wine for sale by the glass). 5-8 p.m. June 7. BookCliff Vineyards, 1501 Lee Hill Road, Unit #17 Boulder, CO 80304.
8. Friday, Leave the keys with Wine Down the Rail
Leave the car at home, estaurants along the light rail from LoDo to Littleton will offer food and wine pairings for $15, from 5:00pm – 8:00pm. See the map link for all the stop off points restaurants, but here are some grouped by neighborhoods:
Finn McCool's Bar & Grill Pizza and wine tasting 8880 E Arapahoe, Englewood CO
Marco’s Coal Fired Pizza, 10111 Inverness Main St, Englewood, CO
Pizza Republica, 5375 Landmark Place, Greenwood Village, CO
Delizios, 2299 W. Main St, Littleton, CO
Cru A Wine Bar, 1442 Larimer St, Denver
The Wine Loft, 1527 Wazee St, Denver
Crave Dessert Bar, 891 14th Street, Denver