Vail Wines: Wine matches fruits of hunting
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado -It’s still hunting season in and around Colorado’s Vail Valley, and therefore still the time to drink reds that pair with venison and elk. This week try the 2007 Grochau Cellars “Tinto,” a blend of 58 percent Syrah and 42 percent Tempranillo. This cool mix starts with dry black cherry aromas, with a little bit of that Oregon dustiness you find in Oregon Pinot Noirs. Then the big flavors hit: dark berry, earth, a hint of dark chocolate, dark oak, and a little sage on the finish. As the Tinto opens up, smoky bacon notes appear, reminiscent of a Cote Rotie or big Rioja. How coincidental, Syrah is the main grape in Cote Rotie, and Tempranillo is the main grape in Rioja.So why pair this with venison and elk? The sage and herbal flavors of the wine and the meat play off each other, adding the perfect edge. This works with grilled lamb the same way. And the bacon notes go well with any grilled red meat. Nice acidity and light tannins keep the wine from tasting too rich or alcoholic. The Grochau Cellars Tinto is $18.John Grochau and his wife, Kerri, established Grochau Cellars in 2002. For the Tinto, John uses grapes from the Rogue Valley, around 15 miles north of the California border. The three vineyards used are over 2,000 feet in elevation, so the 100-degree summer temperatures on the valley floor only reach into the mid-90s in the vineyards. This keeps the grapes from becoming too ripe, and the resulting wine from being too raisiny and alcoholic.John Grochau then ages the wine in French oak barrels for 19 months, but only 15 percent of the barrels are new. This gives a round texture to the wine, but not an overtly oaky hit. All of 250 cases of the Tinto were produced, which works out to about 10 barrels in the cellar. Not exactly a monstrous operation.Jarrett Osborn is the wine buyer at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards
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