The fourth annual Crested Butte Wine & Food Festival, held July 20-24 in Crested Butte, Colorado, included two tasting events that offered an abundance of good wine. The first, the VIP Reserve Tasting on Friday, July 22, included three dozen bottles that retailed for more than $65.00. In addition to being able to sip Joseph Phelps, Caymus, and Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon in succession, one of the highlights was speaking with sommelier David Walden about the Kenwood Vineyards Artist Series.
Another highlight was discovering that Christine De Loach of Hook & Ladder Winery is the same Mrs. Cecil De Loach of the original De Loach Vineyards. Her current project is the Hook & Ladder series, named in honor of owner and winemaster Cecil De Loach’s 16-year career as a San Francisco fireman. Robust and flavorful, the wines come from the family’s Russian River Valley estate vineyards.
The second tasting was the Grand Tasting on Saturday, July 23. Savvy samplers may have noticed the same high-end wines from Friday’s tasting were available at the Grand Tasting. However, with so many other wines, it was easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices. Some people tasted by weight, starting with Prosecco and moving to rosé and light white wine, then on to heavy white wine and reds. Fortunately, there were multiple good choices of each varietal.
Highlights from this tasting included the Folio Wine table, where representative Susie Mayr offered a selection of wines from Spain, all of them delicious. Master sommelier Damon Ornowski poured wines from Vin Divino. Sommelier David Walden offered wines from Heck Estates.
As with many wine tastings, the crowd grew quite friendly after the second hour of tasting. The well-tippled took a break from the sampling to relax on the hip outdoor furniture provided by Room & Board, one of the festival’s sponsors. Attendees who were visiting Crested Butte from the East Coast, Texas, and California struck up conversation. Many festival attendees had gone hiking earlier in the day to take in the spectacular scenery and acres of wildflowers.
The finale to the 2011 wine festival proved a fitting event with enthusiastic guests who descended on each new cheese platter as it was delivered, devouring them to the crumbs.
A number of wine tasters moved on to Django’s Restaurant and Wine Bar in Mt. Crested Butte, walking distance from the Grand Tasting. After a day of wonderful small tastes of wine, a meal of wonderful small plates of savory foods made the ideal pairing. One of the best was crispy Brussels Sprouts made with Fuji apple, cider reduction, crème fraiche, pistachios, and rosemary sea salt…the perfect ending to a perfect tasting.