A Colorado Grand Valley AVA Wine… or Is It?
The back of the bottle reads:
“Throughout 1849 people from all over the country made the long and arduous journey to California in one of the most significant events in U.S. history; the California Gold Rush. These prospectors inspire us to seek out only the best grapes from California to produce our signature Vin’ 49 red blend. 52% Zinfandel, 28% Petit Syrah, 10% Malbec, 10% Syrah
Vinted and Bottled by Gold Pan Saloon & Carboy Winery LLC, Breckenridge, CO”
So, is it a Colorado wine or a California wine?
It doesn’t really matter as a friend of mine received a bottle of this vintage as a thank you gift and had been saving it for a special occasion. We finally decided that a Monday night dinner was the time (ok, so technically it was a belated birthday dinner….).
The wine had been stored standing up, so as we tried to open it the cork began to disintegrate – not a good sign. However, we managed not to completely break the cork and get it into the wine. The first pour provided a deep red burgundy color (yes, like those bridesmaids dresses from your cousin’s 3rd wedding, which on reflection the color is gorgeous, while the cut of the dress was not). The smell was pleasant and not overwhelming, yet made me want to taste it.
It has a very strong fruit flavor and taste. I’d call it “grape forward” because after several sips what hit my tongue was good ol’ Welch’s grape juice on a hot day. Don’t misunderstand – that is not a complaint. It was just odd that it was the taste, since I knew this should be a wine.
This was great with the steak, which was seasoned with a variety of spices, but heavy on the curry, turmeric and Worchester, overlaid with truffle butter. (Ok, I know that sounds overwhelming and odd, but it was truly amazing and I doubt we’ll every recreate the flavor). It was even better with baked potato (yes, butter, cheese and sour cream laden). But the plain starchiness of the potato brought out the smooth grape flavor.
It was great with the airy (fluffy) strawberry flavored icing on the cake for dessert. The fruit flavor brought out the sweetness of the wine. But we did decide it would go better with chocolate.
I found it online described as “Spicy and complex, Vin ’49 opens with aromas of fire-roasted sweet red pepper, boysenberry, and hot desert clay. Mild tannins and flavors of Mexican chocolate, lavender, and violet finish out this wine, leaving a delicate, crisp and clean finish.”
This is interesting because the winery does not hot have a description for Claim 18 but shows Claim 20 as “Sophisticated & complex, Vin ’49 claim #20 opens with aromas of dried blueberry, tobacco and cherry wood. Well integrated tannins carry flavors of blackberry and leather on the palate with subtle notes of sarsaparilla on the finish.”
My take – Sophisticated with complex spiciness and fruitiness driven by raspberry and black cherry. Notes of black pepper are overwhelmed by the grape itself.
All pretentiousness aside, this is a solid Friday Night / Special Occasion wine that I would love to drink any night of the week if I could. But it’s a vineyard only purchase (though they do ship), but at $31/bottle I don’t think I’ll be ordering a case any time soon.