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Finding the muse

Caramie Schnell
Dominique Taylor/The Vail TrailPollyanna Forster, co-owner of eat! drink! and now dish! in Edwards, has put together her own wine label called Muse made up of three wines - a red tempranillo, a white verdejo and a sparkling cava.
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Turns out a little nipple is a big no-no with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Pollyanna Forster, owner of eat! drink! and Edward’s newest restaurant, dish!, experienced this firsthand a few months ago after submitting a design for her new private wine label, called Muse. The label features a silhouette in the likeness of Forester.

“The silhouette (on the label) showed a little small bump where the nipple was supposed to be,” Forster said. “As a result we had to change that and get rid of the nipple or else (the bureau) wasn’t going to allow us to print the label.”

Forster’s newest adventure in vino began six months ago when a friend of hers who imports wine from Spain approached her.

“He told me if I wanted to do a private label and blend he would make it work for me.”

Forster, a wine enthusiast for many years, has always dreamed of having her own label, so she jumped on the chance. She decided to do a white, red and a sparkling wine.

“I wanted everything to be easy to drink, enjoyable and on the shelf for under $15,” she said.

A winemaker from Spain shipped her 35 different barrel samples of wines already in the process of being vinified, meaning the grapes had been picked, pressed and were in fermentation tanks. Forster combined the samples to come up with her own special blend. For the sparkling wine, Forester used 100-percent cava, which has a dry, floral style, she said.

For the white she used 100-percent verdejo.

Zach Locke, a local wine sommelier and owner of Old World Imports in Eagle, characterized the Muse white as “very food-friendly and very drinkable.”

“Verdejo is, I think, one of those Spanish white grapes that Americans should drink more often.”

For the red, Forster chose almost all tempranillo with a splash of merlot. “The tempranillo gives it the rich feel and the little bit of merlot pumps it up and makes it nice and floral,” she said.

“I’d say it has classical varietal characteristics of a tempranillo-driven wine of vanilla and cherry flavors and relatively soft tannins,” Locke said. “It’s very approachable.”

The philosophy Forester subscribes to is simple, she said.

“The average person drinks what they buy in a retail shop within 15 minutes of leaving the store so I wanted to make sure these wines were very drinkable and quaffable.”

The next step in the process was naming the wine and designing the label.

Though the wines were shipped from Spain in late October they didn’t arrive until about a week ago, Forester said.

“I admit I got a little geared up when I opened the box. We opened up all of the wines and they were tasting great – refreshing and enjoyable.”

Even though she knew what the wines would taste like, she was a little apprehensive about what others would think.

“Everyone’s reaction has been great though. The majority of the people don’t realize it’s my wine so their initial reaction is about the wine and not about the fact that I blended it and labeled it, and for me that’s a real nice honor.”

Drink! already has sold about 48 cases of the three types of Muse. It’s no wonder then that Forester already has plans for the future.

In the fall she plans to head northwest to Oregon where she’s going to make a Muse pinot noir and pinot gris.

“I feel so blessed,” Forester said. “This is a natural extension of what I’ve been wanting to do my whole life. We don’t have any children, so I’ve never given birth, but that’s what it felt like.”

Caramie Schnell can be reached for comment at cschnell@vailtrail.com.


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