At Eat, Drink, Boulder, we promote and support local. Boulder is a town of beauty, creativity, start-ups, and our favorite: delicious food and drink. Whenever we can, we eat and drink local.
In doing this, the economy and hard work of our community members is supported. The local agriculture benefits, leaving room for open space for outdoor activities Boulderites love. The environmental impacts of transport are reduced. And it is always fun to impress visitors and guests with the variety of things local and unique.
Unfortunately, there are some downsides to drinking locally, as we came to find out during a blind wine tasting of Boulder wines. We wanted wines from Boulder producers, using Colorado grapes and at a decent price point.
At Liquor Mart we found a very limited selection of Boulder wine. With three wines to taste, we remained open-minded and curious.
The first wine was clear, bright ruby in color. It was a visual reminder of grape or cranberry juice. In taste, it lacked complexity, but seemed similar to a Pinot Noir- light bodied, slightly tart and fruity. However, it was not a wine to taste more than once.
This turned out to be a Pinot Noir from Augustina’s Winery, which is a one-woman operation and the first Boulder winery. The Wine Chick Red ($10.99) is made with Colorado grown Pinot grapes. The winery sources all of its grapes from the western slope, some local growers in Boulder County and some from Eastern Plains of Colorado.
The second wine smelled like spicy salami, followed by notes of red berries. It tasted of over-ripe stone fruit, a little similar to cough syrup. It was sour mid-palate, finishing with a slight spice and a burn from the alcohol. It had some notes of wood and spearmint. This wine was better than the first, but lacked balance.
This vegetal, spicy wine is Bookcliff’s 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve ($24.99). It is 100% Colorado grown, spends 18 months in oak and is recommended to be paired with beef and lamb. Though our tasting was not accompanied by food, some charcuterie would round out the wine, softening and complementing the wine’s finish.
The final wine turned out to be the favorite. Unfortunately, it is a wine produced by Boulder Creek Winery, which closed in 2015 after over 12 years in business.
The Reserve Claret ($22.99) is a blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Cab Sauv, 15% Cab Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot. It spends 18 months in oak, resulting in a jammy, fruit-forward, full bodied wine, reminiscent of a cheaper Bordeaux blend. It has nice tannin that could go well with food, but a slight sweetness allows it to be enjoyed on its own. How long this wine will be in stock is not known, but it may be worth checking out before it is gone.
It was fun though a little disappointing to sample some of Boulder’s wines. Some pitfalls include higher prices than comparable imported products. The consistency in quality appears to be hit or miss, and the grapes are not actually grown in Boulder. Selection is limited, even from one of Boulder’s biggest merchants.
The conclusion is that shopping for local wine at the liquor store may not be the best idea. Instead, we recommend checking out the local wineries at their tasting rooms.
By visiting the tasting room, there is opportunity to speak to the wine makers, sample a variety of products and hear the story of the hard work that is in the bottle. Boulder wines should be enjoyed on an outing with friends, touring and exploring local businesses (check out Boulder Wine Studios). What better way to drink local?