Mountain View Winery sits on a property that is part fruit orchard, part grape vineyard, which would explain why one of its wines is part apple, part grape. The Ash Mesa is an interesting blend of apple wine and chardonnay and just one of the aspects that makes this Olathe vineyard unique. Owner Michael Young is also in a unique situation too, having grown up on the land that is now a vineyard, making him perhaps the only Colorado winemaker to have been born on the land he now makes hand-crafted wines from.
While he left Olathe shortly for a winemaking education at UC-Davis, he is back home operating one of the three vineyards in town — joining Garrett Estates and Cottonwood Cellars, which also bottles wine under the Olathe Winery label.
Now it’s a small-time family operation as Michael and wife Wendy do all the bottling and winemaking while overseeing 40 acres of fruits, grapes and even asparagus farms. The Youngs will even let you pick everything off the property except the grapes.
Visiting the rustic tasting room, which even has an antique rotary phone to alert the Youngs of your arrival, is a family affair. It actually feels as much a farm stand as it does a tasting room, with local jams, elk and summer sausages, and other Olathe-area products being sold next to the lineup of hand-crafted wines.
The tasting room is actually housed in a barn-like wooden structure that stays open to the outside — it can be a little chilly during a winter visit, but there are space heaters inside to keep wine drinkers warm.
Wine is what you are there for anyway. Mountain View focuses most heavily on whites (Riesling, gewürztraminer, chardonnay and viognier) and fruit wines (plum, raspberry, cherry and apple). Young also makes a cabernet franc and syrah and is one of the few to grow pinot noir, although he’s only been able to harvest the delicate grape twice in the last five years.
He says the 2006 pinot was darned good and the 2009 is solid, too.
Between the every third-year pinot, Ash Mesa blend and farm feel, Mountain View really carves out an interesting niche of a rustic feel and interesting offering of vino. It's something different in the Colorado wine world, which is good—who wants to drive out to Olathe for ordinary?