Last night we were invited, along with other bloggers and media folk, to taste five Colorado wines..all of them 2015 Governor’s Cup Competition winners.  (  The event is the second in a series of 3.  The tasters (that’s us!) interacted with the winemakers and other tasters virtually, via Twitter.  We also periscoped the event, which we have edited down to a few snippets:

The format started with each taster receiving 5 bottles of wine.  Most received them in the mail, but we are lucky enough to be local, so attended the event at Turquoise Mesa Winery in Broomfield, CO with Mary Joan and Tom Bueb as our hosts.  Also in attendance were 3 of the 4 winemakers in person, as well as Doug Caskey, the Executive Director of the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board.  He and Kyle Schlachter, the Research and Outreach Coordinator from the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, tweeted throughout.

We were allowed to send questions to the winemakers ahead of time (we didn’t) and ask some at the beginning of the session.  Then the tasting began.  Ten minutes for each wine, tweeting as we went.


Wine 1:  Bookcliff Vineyards​ 2014 Viognier.  This wine is 100% Viognier, one of our favorite white varietals. The official tasting notes say tropical fruits on the nose and firm minerality on the palate.  Aromas of honeydew and cantaloupe precede flavors of wet stone and hints of lemon grass.  Tasting consensus:  All of the above with some pear.  One taster was new to Viognier but loved this one.

John Garlich and Ulla Mertz, the owners of Bookcliff, were in the room with us and had these additional comments/answers to tweets:  Frost affected the 2014 Harvest but Viognier fared better than other varietals. Apparently this varietal is susceptible to over cropping in a bountiful harvest like 2015.  This wine pairs well with salmon because the oil in the salmon smooths the tannic finish.

Wine 2:  Turquoise Mesa Winery​ 2013 Colorado Crimson.  This is a Rhone-Style blend of Colorado Syrah, Mourvedre, and Viognier. The official tasting notes say blackberry, black pepper, black currant, hints of floral.
The abundant flavors are complemented with smooth tannins that ensure a smooth mouthfeel and will age gracefully.  We tasted light spice, pepper, and a little bourbon (not sure why).

Mary Joan and Tom gracious as always, replied to a specific tweet that the  Colorado Crimson blend may differ from one year to the next depending on the availability of the grapes.  This wine has paired lovely with lamb (Colorado lamb is arguably the best in the world) and with striped sea bass.  One other taster noted via Twitter that it was a “nice solitary sipper.”

Wine 3:   Boulder Creek Winery 2012 Syrah We had no official tasting notes but did find out that this wine was aged 14 months in 2-year old Hungarian oak barrels, and we did know that the 2013 Syrah was “big, velvety, jammy and bold”  With the help of Mike Thompson from Boulder Creek sitting across from us at the table, we learned that this vintage was less big, less jammy, and more dry.  Other tasters noted “good spice, long finish, bright fruit, earthy fruit, broad palate.”

In response to a tweet Mike noted that that Hungarian Oak (and European oak in general) is more vanilla flavored than the American Oak varieties, and that this wine pairs well with lamb, elk and wild boar.

We are really sad this winery is closing it’s doors on December 13, but as Mike says, he is “ready to drink wine instead of producing it”.

Wine 4:   Turquoise Mesa Winery 2013 Syrah  This wine is 100% Syrah, and the official tasting notes say aromas of berries, pepper, black tea, cocoa, and hints of oak.  Flavors are balanced with firm tannins and a broad, smooth mouthfeel.  We got a lovely dry wine, tannins on the back of our tongues, more spice than the other Syrahs, as well as “dusty tannins”, “velvet texture”.   This was a wine we had tasted before because it tied for Best of Show award at Colorado’s 2015 Governor’s Cup Competition.


Wine 5:  Anemoi 2013 Lips
This wine is also 100% Syrah,producing aromas of cherry cola, coffee, cedar wood, raspberry jam and creamy vanilla. Chokecherry, pencil shavings, freshly ground coffee, and a touch of chocolate and bay leaf and perfect balance in this second vintage of Lips.  We tasted a little vanilla and dust, too.  “Simply delicious”, “Long Finish” were some of the tasting notes.  One taster said it had him craving herb-crusted lamb chops.

Canyon Winds didn’t have a representative with us in the room but Jay Christianson was a tweeting fool for  Canyon Winds Winery.  The wax seal on the Anemoi Lips stymied some, was aesthetically pleasing to others.

Anemoi tied for the Best of Show award at Colorado’s 2015 Governor’s Cup Competition.

This event was designed to promote Colorado wines and we hope you will try some if you get the chance.  If you would like to follow any of the wineries please click the links in the tasting summaries above, and for more wine fun follow the other #uncorkColorado tasters on their blogs:

Lenn Thompson

William Pollard Jr

Dezel Quillen

Mary Cressler

Michelle Cleveland (@MCWineMaker)

Finally THANK YOU Doug and Kyle for hosting this stellar event.   We can’t wait for the next one on January 21, 2016, when we will be tasting and tweeting (twasting?) fruit wines, mead, ciders and dessert wines.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this format of wine tasting or on this event in particular.  Leave a comment and let us know!