Wineries to watch for at Taste of Vail
VAIL, Colorado The calendar might say spring, but if its snowing in Vail, Colorado and April is upon us is can only mean one thing; its time for the annual Taste of Vail. Founded as a way to promote the outstanding restaurant community here in Vail, the Taste of Vail has become one of the most prestigious wine events in the country.The event is not huge by other wine festival standards, but that is done intentionally. Other events allow the marketing person or a local distributor representative to show their wines, but the Taste of Vail is different. The standard is that the winemaker or winery owner attend the event so that someone intimate with the nuts and bolts of the operation is here to present their wines. So in this case, smaller is definitely better!After 19 years, the task of selecting who comes to the Taste of Vail becomes harder and harder. We get literally hundreds of requests from wineries for an invitation to the Taste of Vail. Previous winemaker attendees tell their friends, and they tell their friends, and well, you get the idea.Here is a small sampling of attending wineries from this years Taste of Vail:Eberle Vineyards and Winery: Gary Eberle is a pioneer in more than one way; he founded the Estrella River Winery back in the 70s (now Meridian Cellars), and it was with his help that many of the wineries came to the first Taste of Vail. His Paso Robles property is best known for Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel. Eberle is known for his love of Syrah he was one of the first to plant the varietal in the Paso Robles area.Maison Joseph Drouhin: Laurent Drouhin is the current director and the fourth generation Drouhin to run the family business in Burgundy. They own a significant amount of land, about 180 acres, including the prestigious Clos des Mouches, Montrachet Marquis de la Guiche, and Clos Vougeot vineyards; they also bottle wines from many of the appellations in Burgundy.Pride Mountain Vineyards: Steve Pride is following in his fathers footsteps for his love of the land. Jim Pride purchased the historic Summit Ranch on upper peak of Spring Mountain (located both in Napa and Sonoma Counties) in the late 1980s and carefully put the old vineyard and ranch back together. Steve and his winemaker Sally Johnson continue to produce Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot of stunning quality and concentration.Silver Oak Cellars: Co-founders Ray Duncan and Justin Meyer had just one passion making world-class Cabernet Sauvignon! Unique for their use of American oak barrels, the wine is delicious, rich and complex. The wine, from both Alexander and Napa valleys, is drinkable upon release as well as still age worthy. Dont forget to check out their new project, Twomey.Adelsheim Vineyards: One of Oregons pioneer vineyards, David and Ginny Adelsheim planted 15 aces of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling back in 1972. Modeled after the vineyards of Burgundy, the wines are classic, elegant and well structured.Branham Estate: Gary Branham is one of the smaller wineries to participate in this years Taste. Most of his production varies from 200 to 400 cases per varietal. Branham has been making wine for almost 30 years and is best known for his Rockpile Zinfandel.Solo Rosa: Winemaker Dan Moore is not afraid of pink, in fact he loves it! Solo Rosa is dedicated to making only ros wines, and with more Americans drinking the stuff, Moore looks to be at the forefront of the Drink Pink movement. Moore also makes outstanding dry Gewrztraminer and Pinot Noir at his ZMor winery.HdV: This vineyard is a joint venture between families related by marriage, the Hyde family of Napa and the de Villiane family of Burgundy. Larry Hydes vineyards produce some of Californias best fruit. Combine that with the French philosophy of viticulture and winemaking under Stphane Viviers direction and the wines are not your typical California stuff.Pahlmeyer: Jayson Pahlmeyer and winemaker Erin Green make very polished wines with power and personality. Focusing initially on a Bordeaux-style red blend, the winery has expanded with Chardonnay and Merlot.Flowers Vineyard and Winery: Flowers is located on hillsides above the Sonoma Coast, just hundreds of feet from the Pacific Ocean. The vineyards struggle in a harsh environment, but produce bright, crisp, aromatic wines.Miner Family Vineyards: Dave and Emily Miner are located in the heart of the Napa Valley in eastern Oakville. Winemaker Gary Brookman uses fruit from some of the finest vineyards throughout California with an emphasis on wild (or native) yeast fermentations.Patz & Hall: Donald Patz and winemaker James Hall specialize in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from small, world-class, family-owned vineyards in cool, coastal regions. Ask The Donald about their new winery or their stave program.Mickey Werner is a Taste of Vail board member and manager of Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail. He would like to remind everyone that the Taste of Vail is a non-profit organization and proceeds from the Taste of Vail go to charities within Eagle County.