It’s rather unfortunate that Alfred Eames Cellars doesn’t have a public tasting room. With one of the only European-style wine cellars in Colorado, it’s truly a treat to stroll through the cavernous barrel room and stop into Alfred Eames’ library filled with a few hundred of his favorite bottles. It’s not to say a tour is out of the question; Eames is open to offering private tours and will even pop open a few of his bottles for some of his loyal wine-buying customers.
The hillside winery features about three acres of Pinot Noir with magnificent mountain peaks as the backdrop. Yes, Eames only plants Pinot at his vineyard, named Puesta del Sol (he occasionally bottles wine under that name). His Pinot Noir is an estate wine and proves that in the proper circumstances, that delicate grape can prosper in Colorado. Alfred Eames Cellars also sources grapes from the West Elk AVA and beyond, producing a Syrah, a few red blends, and a Carmena, which is a blend based on the Carmine hybrid grape.
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Eames planted his vineyard in 1999 and has been producing about 1,500 cases of Old World style wines annually from his perch 6,000 feet above sea level in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of Paonia. The property is half his family house and half the winery. The winery is a second building about 50 yards from the house. It features wine storage and an office atop, and the ancient-feeling cellar with dozens of barrels and a constant damp temperature downstairs.
Eames’s winery is essentially a one-man shop and it produces wine in subtle European styles, which makes sense considering Eames became a wine lover as an 18-year-old traveling through regions such as Rioja throughout Europe. He has done his best to recreate some of those same experiences in the middle of the West Elk AVA.
Best bottle from the winemaker’s perspective: 2001 Merlot. “It was a magic wine,” Eames says.
2005 Pinot Noir: Bronze 2007 Denver International Wine Competition
2004 Merlot: Silver in Best Red 2006 Colorado Mountain WineFest
Alfred Eames Cellars
Open for private tours only
11931 4050 Road, Paonia, 970.527.3269
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