At Canyon Wind Cellars, we take barrel tasting seriously. You get the no-holds-barred authentic experience: descend into the subterranean cellar we fondly refer to as “The Cave,” deeply inhale the aromas of oak and wine, get to know the developing wines intimately through Jay and Jen’s revealing commentary, watch as they use a glass thief to steal a little wine from the barrels and deposit it in your glass, tingle with excitement from being one of the first people to try a wine that has yet to be bottled and released, and finally savor the up-and-coming wine. It seems to be a sort of rite of passage for a wine connoisseur to experience a barrel tasting. If you’re reading this, you’re a wine connoisseur and deserve this experience!
Sometimes random visitors to Canyon Wind Cellars get to revel in this ritual during a tour of the winery, often swapping out Jay and Jen for myself or one of our tasting room’s Sensory Tour Guides. But if you attend the Barrel Into Spring event, you are guaranteed this experience. And if you go to this event year after year, you’ll always be tasting exciting new wines from the barrels. This year, our barrel tasters got to taste the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon—this is one of our best Cab Sauvs to date according to Jay and Jen, and it will be bottled very soon and likely released sometime in the next year (although wine club members will have early access). They next tasted the 2013 Petit Verdot—Jay and Jen love all their grapes equally, but this is secretly their favorite varietal (don’t tell the other grapes!). And finally our barrel tasters got to sample the 2013 Apeliotes from the Anemoi line of wines—this is the second vintage of Apeliotes and is similar to the 2012, but the blend now includes of some of our very first Malbec. We are rather excited for this wine, and I can hardly wait for it to be bottled!
Another excellent experience at the Barrel Into Spring event is the food and wine pairings. We partnered once again this year with Bin 707 Foodbar for some delicious creations in the theme of comfort food elevated to match our 47-Ten foot altitude (and attitude)! Our menu offered the following delicacies and pairings:
-Heirloom Tomato and Watermelon Gazpacho paired with the 2013 47-Ten Rosé
-Mixed Local Green Salad
-Bin’s Famous Grilled Cheese with Prosciutto and Pear paired with the 2012 Merlot and 2012 Anemoi Apeliotes (or the sleeper pairing, 47-Ten Rosé)
-Momofuku “Crack Pie” with Root Beer Float Sauce paired with the 2009 Proprietor’s Reserve Port and 2012 Anemoi Iapyx
If you are among the uninitiated, Barrel Into Spring is a biannual event that occurs the last weekend of April and three weekends later in May every year. It is hosted by the Grand Valley Winery Association’s eight member wineries—you tour the Grand Valley A.V.A. during the event and see where the wine is made and in many cases you see where the grapes are grown while sampling wines, meeting the winemakers, tasting future wines, eating delicious foods, purchasing Colorado wine with great barrel taster discounts, and taking in the grandeur of the Grand Valley. This event has become increasingly popular, but crowds are kept in check with a limited number of tickets that must be purchased ahead of time.
Two pieces of advice if this sounds appealing and you wish to attend for the first time next year—buy tickets well in advance (they go on sale in January and were sold out by early March this year) and take the full two days to enjoy the event, ideally visiting four wineries one day and four the next (trust me on this, because you end up tasting a lot of wine during this event). It has not yet been updated from this year, but this is the link with information about barrel tasting and purchasing tickets: http://grandvalleywine.com/events.htm. If you have liked Canyon Wind Cellars on Facebook, I can assure you that we will post a notification when the tickets are available in January.
For those of you who attended this year, we hope that you thoroughly enjoyed your experience! And for those of you who plan to attend next year, we look forward to (figuratively) rolling out the red carpet for you!
Live and Let Thrive- The Grape that Almost Wasn't
Relatively unknown to many wine drinkers, Petit Verdot may just be a winemaker's best kept secret. Primarily used in traditional Bordeaux blends, Petit Verdot translates to "little green one"; but don't let the name fool you, this grape packs a serious punch. Inky and dark, peppery and savory, big and bold are just a few of the descriptors commonly associated with Petit Verdot. Of the nine grapes that we grow, Petit Verdot is our favorite to make wine from as both a single varietal and in blends (in fact every blend we've produced since taking over the winemaking in 2007 has contained Petit Verdot- that's 14 different wines!). And it is only through a stroke of luck that we even have this grape in the vineyard- we'll tell you why in the newsletter.
Apparently we aren't the only ones that think Petit Verdot makes a great wine. We are very pleased to announce that the 2012 Petit Verdot was recently awarded the 2014 Colorado Governor's Cup with a Best of Show/Best Red Wine designation. But don't let us make the decision for you, try the wine (which is included in this shipment) and let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In this shipment, you'll be receiving the award-winning 2012 Petit Verdot, the easy-drinking 2012 47-Ten Red, and the refreshing 2013 Chardonnay. Check out the newsletter in your shipment for more detail about each of these wines and more about why we are so smitten with Petit Verdot.
As always, please feel free to email us at email@example.com any questions, concerns, or ideas. Click here to view the Wine Club email.
Jay & Jennifer Christianson
We've always thought that the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon was one of our best and the experts agree! We just received the great news that the '09 Cab received 90 points and a 'Best Buy' designation from Wine & Spirits Magazine!
Check out the review here:
Wine and food pairing is fun, and I highly recommend it whenever possible! Many people (myself included) are intimidated by the idea of experimenting with wine and food pairing, thinking it solely the domain of sommeliers and winemakers. But you can do it! Do you enjoy food? Do you love wine? Do you have functional taste buds? If you answered “yes” to all three, then you’re qualified! I have educated myself a little, to avoid truly tragic pairings, and loved Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine, and Flavor by François Chartier. Main lesson learned: pairing like with like is a pretty fool-proof approach with wine and food, with only a few exceptions (i.e. pepper). For example, if a wine has hints of coconut and cocoa, then pair it with something with coconut and chocolate. Simple enough!
Many of you probably have Girl Scout cookies at home now or have some ordered and on the way from a friend or relative’s daughter. I will assume that you have some Colorado wine on hand, too. Pairing the two intimidated this former Girl Scout, but plates of cookies lured several other folks who work at the winery to assist me. For your enjoyment, I present to you the pairings that were most enjoyed (comments in parentheses describe the parties in our mouths when the cookie and each wine were combined):
- Savannah Smiles—zesty lemon cookies—complemented similarly citrusy 47-Ten White (lemon-lime) and 47-Ten Rosé (sunny pink grapefruit, lemon with raspberries). Winemaker Jay discovered a dark horse pairing of these lemon cookies with Lips, describing it as savory, fruity, and rocking!
- Trefoils—shortbread in the shape of the Girl Scout logo—paired best with our 2009 Port (dark fruit complemented cookie’s butter) and 47-Ten Rosé (strawberry shortcake or strawberries and cream).
- Thin Mints—peppermint and chocolate—with, wait for it, Cabernet Franc (mint mint)! I was skeptical of success with wine and this cookie, but we all truly enjoyed this pairing. Just try it!
- Samoas—caramel, toasted coconut, and dark chocolate—was a dream with Apeliotes, which is aged entirely in new American oak, giving it toasted coconut and cocoa flavors just right for this cookie. Runners-up were 47-Ten Rosé (tropical mouth party) and Iapyx (sugar addict throw down).
- Tagalongs—peanut butter and milk chocolate—gave us childish pleasure with Merlot and 47-Ten Rosé (peanut butter jelly time). Another strong one was Cabernet Sauvignon (grown up PB&J, with more chocolate influence).
We didn’t try pairings with all types of Girl Scout cookies, but believe me when I say this was enough for one day. Most of us had a serious sugar overdose after all of this. Maybe we should have literally followed the Girl Scout slogan of “Do a Good Turn Daily” and just tried one wine and cookie pairing a day. Well, I’m telling you now so you’ll know better, in the spirit of the Girl Scout motto “Be Prepared”! Now go grab your cookies and wine and tell us which wine you pair with your favorites!
The Wine (Club) Who Loved Me
It has officially been four years since we (Jay and Jennifer) took over ownership and complete winemaking responsibilities of Canyon Wind (wow, time flies!). In that time, we've have made a number of changes to the company and the wines- from an entirely new set of redesigned labels, to the incorporation of our very popular and furry winery mascot, to the creation of our own special project line, Anemoi. Another project that we took on during this time was to create some wines specifically for our wine club. Small lot projects, these wines gave us an opportunity to experiment with some different styles of wines and then share them with our most important and appreciated friends- you!
Over the next 12-18 months, we will be bottling these wine-club only and small lot wines (either available to wine club exclusively or before they are released to the public); and as wine club members, you can look forward to receiving these wines in upcoming shipments. The special projects currently aging include a Reserve Chardonnay (fermented and aged in new French and American oak barrels), our first-ever single clone Cabernet Sauvignon- Clone 4, a co-fermented blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and our first ever Malbec. As we have begun the planning for the 2014 harvest, we can tell you that there are more of these fun projects in the works!
The wines chosen for this shipment are the newest vintages of each and all have our new label (which is exciting because all of our wines now have the newest label!). You'll be receiving the 2013 47-Ten White, 2012 Merlot (unreleased), and the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (unreleased). Check out the newsletter in your shipment for more detail about each of these wines and the exciting new wines you can look forward to in upcoming shipments. As always, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns or ideas.
If you are interested in becoming a member of the Taste The Terroir Wine Club, visit our sign-up page for information about each of the club options or email us at email@example.com.
Jay & Jennifer
Valentine’s Day is creeping up on us! Still considering what to do for your sweetie? The most obvious choice is chocolate with our wine. Port and chocolate is a classic combo, but you don’t want to gift your honey with just any port or chocolate. Treat them right: Canyon Wind Cellars Proprietor’s Reserve Port paired with Death by Chocolate Cupcakes (using a delectable recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction, an awesome baking blog with reliable recipes).
I had you at chocolate, right? Trust me, this is a great combo and our winemakers Jay and Jen (both foodies) approve. These are some serious chocolate cupcakes—dark and bittersweet; and they are well balanced by the sweetness of the Proprietor’s Reserve Port with its cherry, fig, and coffee flavors. Use high quality cocoa powder for this recipe (I prefer Ghirardelli). I choose to top the cupcakes with mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings, rather than the full-size chocolate chips shown in the recipe. Aerate your flour before measuring and don’t be tempted to add extra cocoa powder, otherwise you may end up with dry cupcakes. I added a little more cream to the frosting than what the recipe calls for to get a smoother texture. And if you want a cupcake for breakfast, I won’t judge—they go well with coffee, too!
A couple of other lovely ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts:
- 2012 Lips, because it is bold and classy like you, it has a lip print on the bottle, and it’s hand-dipped in red wax with love
- 2013 47-Ten Rosé, because it’s pink and sassy, which reminds you of your dearest when they get too cold this winter
- A Wine Club membership, for the Valentine’s gift that proves you’re not afraid of commitment. We have three clubs to choose from, and we promise to make your Valentine feel special.
- A beautifully prepared gift basket with Port or Lips and chocolate, a heart-themed bow, and a discounted package price—ready for you in our tasting room in lovely Palisade (call ahead for availability)
May you have a love-filled, chocolate-infused, wine-fueled Valentine’s Day. Cheers!
~Stacey Smith, Canyon Wind Cellars Sensory Tour Guide
Owner/Winemaker, Jay Christianson, gets some much-deserved recognition from his alma mater in Portraits: The Magazine of Saint Anselm College.
Canyon Wind Cellars and The Savory Café’s Chef, Josh Taillon from Nederland, CO are teaming up to for an evening celebrating all things Colorado! Don’t miss the opportunity to experience a meal inspired by the day’s harvest from Berry Patch Farms, which will be paired with four of our finest wines! The farm-inspired meal will be held at the Sol y Sombra Farm in Hygiene, Colorado Friday, September 28th. For more information and to make your reservation for an evening of local food and wine, contact (303) 528-7329.
As we are sitting here running fruit samples for what may be the earliest harvest on record, we thought that it was only appropriate to discuss what it is about seasons, weather, and our terroir that makes Canyon Wind unique. (*Note- in between the time this was written and printing, we picked Pinot Gris- starting our harvest 14 days earlier than we ever have before!).
Terroir is the single largest factor that influences what we do in the winery, and has the greatest effect on our finished product. Terroir is defined as “the geography, geology and climate of a certain place”, or more simply a region’s “sense of place”. Some of the many factors of terroir, include: elevation, hours of sunlight in a day, orientation of the rows, wind, prevailing weather patterns, and the list goes on. For us, wind is one of the most significant elements of our terroir. This should be no surprise as we named ourselves after the wind from the canyon, not to mention our other winery Anemoi, which means “winds” in Greek. Wind is so important here because it keeps us a little cooler then other locations down valley, allowing to us hang our fruit longer and in turn produce more complex wines. Our soils also keep our wines consistent; noticeably, we have a softer mouthfeel and more integrated structure. This is due to our sandy soil, which allows us to keep control over our water and truly “make” the wine in the vineyard, instead of the winery.
Weather is, in many ways, the antithesis of terroir. Where terroir is constant, and omnipresent at CWC, weather is fickle and ever changing. As this shipment was created to demonstrate, we see seasonal variation within the wines, yet the constant effects of terroir. 2006 was a cool year and with the Cab Sauv you can see bright cassis and bold fruit flavors, both great examples of a cooler climate wine. The 2009 Syrah is a wonderful example of an even colder year and how it can exaggerate the fruit and “jamminess” of a wine. This Syrah is by no means a jam bomb or super concentrated in its fruit character, but that is because of our terroir- Syrah from our vineyard always has a minerally character. Lastly we get to see our first glimpse at a red from 2011, the latest incarnation of the blended 47-Ten Red. Last season was a short year with a hot mid-summer and early fall, yielding a wine that is youthful and bold, yet still maintains its sense of place.
Hopefully this brief comparison of place vs. season helps you to gain some insight into the wines in this shipment. If you have any thoughts on this, or questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email. As always, we welcome feedback on the wine and any comments or ideas that you might have. Also, check out one of the cool new features on our updated website which allows you login and review our wines online!
Jay & Jennifer Christianson (Grape Slaves) and
Finley (Vineyard Quality Control)