Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, "From Corn to Cabernet."
Colorado wines are higher in acid than the California wines that Westerners are most familiar with. They bear more resemblance to the wines of central mountainous Europe, such as Austria and northern Italy, than to West Coast wines, says Kansas City wine consultant Doug Frost. Merlot is Colorado's most widely planted grape, followed by riesling, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and chardonnay, but other varietals such as viognier, gewurztraminer, pinot noir and cabernet franc show great promise.
Syndicated wine columnist Dan Berger, who publishes the weekly wine commentary Vintage Experiences, recently toured Colorado's wine country to research an article for Appellation America magazine. "I'm tasting a few cabernet francs in Colorado that are better than most cabernet sauvignons in California," he says. "They have good structure and really good acidity levels." Berger was also "extremely impressed" with Colorado's rieslings: "The wines are brilliant and that's a reflection on the cooler nights."
Here at High Country News we conducted an informal tasting of some of the wines produced in our own backyard, many of them ones that Berger sampled during his wine tour. (Click the image at the top of this story to see a description of each wine).
Terror Creek Winery