After four years of looking for the right new home for CoWineCo and a year of permitting and building the space out, as of November 2012 we settled at 2305 Colorado Blvd (just three blocks west of our previous space on the north side of the street next to Bank of America).
Our gorgeous new setup features a more open interior with 25 foot, barrel-vaulted ceilings, concrete floors, an old library vibe with a wrap-around bar and beers on tap!
See you there!
|Tortoise Creek "Les Oliviers" Pinot Noir 2009|
That last wine was on our homepage for quite awhile because frankly, no other wine knocked our coveted San Bres off the hill. Well, apparently it just took another Languedoc red to become the CoWineCo homepage Prom King. This wine is what many look for all year and almost everyone looks for around Thanksgiving -- an affordable pinot noir that does not taste like a cherry popsicle.
This is basically the retirement project for Mel and Janie Master, a couple that has been at the forefront of wine and food in America since 1975.
|Domaine Luc Lapeyre San Bres 2009|
So how do we pick which wine will be on the homepage? We don't strategize based on special deals offered to us by distributors....we don't look and see what we have a lot of and decide to get rid of it....we decide on the spot as we taste the wine at our bar for the first time. If we've learned anything over the last five years, we've learned to recognize a good deal when we taste one.
|Schonramer Saphir Bock|
Though the heading clearly says 'Featured Wine' we're going to rebel against our own internet architecture and feature a beer on the homepage for the very first time.
As we mentioned in the last newsletter, due to a lovely mistake in our favor we are the only retailer in the United States to carry this beer. Mark Gerlach of Uplifter Spirits brought only 80 cases of this beer into the country destined for beer freaks on the west coast. Brewmaster Eric Toft has made a pale colored Bock beer from a single strain of Hallertau hops called "Saphir".
|Donkey and Goat Isabel's Cuvee Unfiltered Grenache Rose 2009|
Co-Owner of Donkey & Goat, Tracey Brandt, came to our bar a couple weeks ago and explained how she and her husband left the high-tec world and invested everything they had into opening a winery. We hit it off pretty quickly since Jennifer and I did something very similiar six years ago. We both had very similar war stories about how to stay married while tackling a stressful, time sucking small business. From how to divvy up responsibilities to how divvying up responsiblities is really just a ruse because you both end up doing everything anyway. And that led Tracey to explain how they named their winery. Donkeys are trained in French vineyards to control weeds, while goats are brought in to keep the donkeys calm. And that about sums it up..... one half of the couple works themselves into a stressed-out stupor and the other calms them down....then you switch rolls. Thank god there's wine at the end of every day.
And now, onto this gorgeous, susatinably farmed and unfiltered Grenache rose. A wine Tracey describes as "financially irresponsible".
|* SOLD OUT -- Familia Cassone Siete Cuchillos Malbec 2008|
We introduced this Malbec 1 month ago and since then, we've gone through more cases than we have with any other wine in a 4 week period. Seemingly out of the fog, this wine we’ve never heard of before finds its way into our bar, tastes remarkable and asks for very little money in return – our favorite kind of wine. Renowned wine critic Jancis Robinson sites this as one of the 3 up and coming Argentine producers to keep an eye on in the coming years. They only began in 1999 making wine under their own name and if this is any suggestion of what other gems they have to offer, keep a lookout for more wines from the Cassone’s very, very soon.
|* SOLD OUT Christian Venier Les Clos de Carteries Cheverny Rouge 2008|
So, this is the wine we just can't stop bringing home every night. We've builtmenus around it, hugged it, drained it, and opened some more. Though we're trying to describe wines less and less these days since our words forflavors may not match your tasting experience, for the sake of communication we'll call the tastescherries and musk. And maybe a little white pepper...and copper....see, there I go again. This is hard. PepperCopper muskrat love. There. Done.
This biodynamic red blend from Cheverny in the Loire is pinot noir and gamay, two of our favorite red varietals on planet Earth, and you just can't stop DRINKING IT. I'm serious. It takes great will power not to finish this bottle in one sitting. I haven't met Christian Venier, but everyone who has describes him as a 'wild man'. I assume they mean that in a "party guy" kinda way and they don't literally mean he's a 'wild man' as inTimothy Hutton in Iceman.
|Clic Delle Venezie Rosso 2007|
So, a highly regarded winery in Italy is asked by a resort group to make them a killer red wine for cheap. They make too much and with the economy being what it is, the resort doesn't take as much as they had promised. So what happens? The wine gets shipped to the U.S. of A and we get a fantastic, cheap wine.
Ronco dei Tassi (or "Terraces of Badgers" -- terrifying sounding, huh?) is the winery behind this little beauty, situated in the gorgeous Friuli-Venezia Giulia region near the Slovenian border.
Enrico Coser, son of Ronco Dei Tassi's owner Fabio Coser, is the brains and talent behind this bottling. Unless you've had Merlot from Friuli, you would not in a million years guess the varietal in a blind tasting. This is 100% Merlot in its most rustic, earthy and balanced form.
|Mirth Chardonnay 2008|
So, we're going to cut to the chase on this one because we just tasted advanced samples yesterday and it simply can't wait. Ok, here goes...this is the best wine deal we've found in two years. There, we said it. Our friends at Owen Roe in Washington (Abbot's Table Red, Ex Umbris Syrah, O'Reillys, Sharecropper, etc.) have launched a new line called Corvidae Wine Company which, amongst other amazing deals, includes this completely ridiculous chardonnay from Yakima Valley that just blew our minds. No butter, no barrel, no malo -- all racy, full flavors of Meyer lemon, tropical fruit, and a very balanced, subtle spice on the finish.
And now you're asking, "hey, colorado wine company people, how much will this golden nectar from the gods which will cure all ills cost me?" And we say to you... $10.99/btl, friends. $10.99.
|Quackenbush Zinfandel 2006|
So, it is our opinions that in the sea of Zinfandel, you encounter a lot of bottom-feeders. Plonk. Grape jam that is more suited to a cola flavor than a wine. But when we find a good one we remember why we have trouble keeping them on our shelves. This year there are two Zinfandels that have really caught our attention; 1) Saldo Zinfandel from Orin Swift which sold out rather quickly, and 2) this little puppy at $18.99/btl
|*SOLD OUT La Bastide Blanche Bandol Rose 2008|
With our annual rose tasting over, we had to feature our favorite from the lineup. Yes, the mimes beat out the cowboys and vonTrapps again and stole the show. It's kind of unfair to go up against juice like this because there's really nothing like this rose. The weight is such that those of you that find traditional Provencal roses too light and California roses too rich, you can tuck right into this baby happy that you've found your match.
Wine critic Robert Parker is quite the fan as well. Here's his take: "Another summer ...bone-dry rose....2008 Domaine de la Bastide Blanche...70% mourvedre,22% cinsault,8% grenache....fuller-bodied style with surprising power,depth and even structure...behaves more like a mid-weight dry red ....most Bandol roses are rare and expensive(very popular in Europe and quantities are limited)...this is right up there with my standard Bandol reference rose...Domaine Tempier...but Tempier sells for $35...this costs $20....ordered a case myself....."
|Spring Seed Co. Four O'Clock Chardonnay 2008|
After that cute kangaroo bottle o'wine came out a handful of years back, the U.S. wine shelves were flooded with a hefty dose of fruity, sugary plonk from down under. Unfortunately, like merlot taking a right cross from Sideways, the overall reputation of Australia's winemaking industry was (and remains) damaged. What got lost in a sea of purpley-black shiraz were the boutique wineries and lesser known Australian offerings like this gorgeous, organic, unoaked chardonnay from McLaren Vale.
|Finnegan's Lake Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Lodi, California|
We weren't planning on featuring two California Cabernets in a row, but in keeping with the idea of promoting the absolute best values we can find....this is undoubtedly the best value we've found since the Old River Road Cab made its way to our bar a little over a month ago.
Fin. is a project from Sherbrooke Cellars, an importer/wholesaler based out of White Plains, New York. Wading out into the $10-$15 California Cab crowd is a dicey proposition where you could easily get lost in a sea of mediocre juice and pop marketing. Technically, this IS considered a "critter wine" since it has a cute animal on the label to entice you to buy it. But really, they could have put a thousand roaches and a picture of Bin Laden on the label and this would still sell based on the juice inside.
|Old River Road Ponderosa Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Sierra Foothills, CA|
The guys from Magnanimus Wine Group recently stopped by to show us their lineup of certified organic, sustainably farmed, and bio-dynamic wines. The Old River Road Cabernet represents their organic offering, sourcing all the grapes for this lush, complex cabernet from the Ponderosa Vineyard in the Sierra Foothills, CCOF-certified organic since 1993.
Sometimes organic and biodynamic wine can be synonymous with "hmmm....not so good", but trust us, that 'aint the case with this one. This is just simply one of the best reds for the money we've tasted this year.
|SOLD OUT* Domaine Les Grands Boise Cotes du Rhone "Cuvee Les Trois Soeurs" 2007|
We've learned a few things in our almost 5 years in the wine retail business...when someone wants a LOT of Cristal it's usually a scam, wine is a subject that you can never finish learning about, and when Domaine Les Grands Bois importer Peter Weygandt is excited about something, we're undoubtedly gonna be too. So attention all ye fans of leathery, spicy red goodness,the critics are wetting themselves about the 2007 vintage in the southern Rhone, including Mr. Parker...
“Throughout the southern Rhône, 2007 is the greatest vintage I have tasted in my thirty years working in that region… Nearly every producer has attained largely unprecedented levels of quality. Moreover, the vintage is remarkably consistent from top to bottom.” ~ R. Parker
|Queen of Hearts Pinot Noir 2007|
Though Juice Newton would disagree, it is very smart to play with this Queen of Hearts. The Queen of Hearts Pinot Noir from Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards in Santa Barbara has been the object of much drama in our store....it's fantastic wine for the price....but ouch, that label... And proof that people actually read this newsletter sometimes, we had a guy come in and comment on how ugly the label was, then walk up to the front desk with a smile on his face and introduce himself as regional sales manager for Lucas & Lewellen Wines.....ouch again. Well, now there is even more reason to ignore the cover of this book.
|SOLD OUT* Penny Farthing Cabernet Franc 2005|
Cabernet Franc is a finicky grape. Usually, when it's affordable and from California, it smells like green peppers and the winemaker has left in a bunch of sugar to try to disguise the bad elements. But man oh man, wait 'till you taste this puppy. It's without a doubt drinking like a $30 Cab Franc with notes of cedar, plum and cinnamon and a medium weight that makes it ideal for this transition into Fall.
|Boxcar Syrah 2007|
This is our third vintage of Boxcar Syrah from Red Car Wine Company (named after the long defunct LA trolley) and interestingly enough, the price went down this year. Not sure why, but you don't ask a lot of questions when the referee scores things in your favor. The last vintage lasted only 3 months and we're expecting this one to go even faster. Here's a little backstory on the brains behind the juice...
|Fattoria Laila Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2006|
Winner of Longest Wine Name in CoWineCo three years running, this fresh and fruity white we just had to sneak onto the homepage before the LA heat went South for the Winter. Verdicchio is one of our absolute favorite white varietals and it is commonly passed up for it's more famous Italian sister, pinot grigio. Verdicchio has elements of peach, apricot and pear on the nose, a medium to light-body with a silky texture and tastes of almonds and minerals.
|Luis Pato Maria Gomes Vinho Espumante Bruto 2006|
People often seem abashed when they admit they haven't heard of a certain grape varietal before. Don't feel bad...we're still learning about grapes we've never heard of on a frequent basis. With over 200 indigenous varietals in Portugal alone, we weren't surprised to learn a new one last week. Meet "Maria Gomes", a varietal not even mentioned in Karen MacNeil's go-to wine reference book, THE WINE BIBLE. And Ms. Gomez just happens to make up the majority of this brut bubbly that has made our week of tasting dozens and dozens of wines very, very, very worth it.
|SOLD OUT * Chateau Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet 2007|
Last year it was the Gazela Vinho Verde, this year, this little Dinosaur-clad bottle is going to be the hot weather staple. It's dry as a bone with flavors of white peach, pineapple and a flinty, mouth-puckering finish. We featured this wine about a month ago during a Friday tasting but it just doesn't seem fair to not share with the non-Friday crowd.
|SOLD OUT * Kelley Creek Flow Bordeaux Blend 2005|
It's BBQ season again and we found the grand champion of BBQ reds. "Grand champion" is not a very exact ranking, so what we mean is if everything in the world had a competition at everything, this bottle would win. Try one and you'll see.
|SOLD OUT* Hocus Pocus Pinot Noir 2006|
A remarkable Willamette Valley pinot noir for $22.99 -- it just doesn't happen much anymore. But this might just be the best under $25 pinot we've ever had. Add on the fact that the winemaker behind this bottle is part of the winemaking team for Holus Bolus, Piedrasassi, and Stolpman Vineyards, and his partner in the company is his girlfriend, Amy Christine, Sommelier at A.O.C., Master Sommelier-in-training, and all around cool person, and you've got a good wine, a good team, and a good story.
|SOLD OUT* Bodegas Orcella Orsus Garnacha 2001|
This is another one of those wines where our rep poured it at our bar and we all kinda looked at each other wondering how on earth this wine was so cheap. The rep shrugged and just said, "I know.....and we have lots of it." So, just like our previous featured wine (Gustavo Thrace Third Bottle Red) was the best deal in rich red we have had in a long time, if your palette leans towards more elegant reds, this puppy is calling your name.
|SOLD OUT *Gustavo Thrace "The Third Bottle" Red Table Wine|
The premise behind this wine is simple... when you're having a nice dinner with friends and family, the third bottle of wine that is inevitably cracked doesn't need to be a pricey one. In fact, your palette is probably worn out at this point so why not crack something good, but a little more affordable? Well, this little discovery is beyond good. In fact, during our Friday tasting last night, this wine sold out faster than any other wine in CoWineCo history.
|SOLD OUT * Chateau Caraguilhes Corbieres 2003 - Organic!|
We've poured this wine at tastings a few times in the past, but like a middle child, it still demands more attention than it's getting. We've referred to it before as 'the bacon wine' showing rich, meaty flavors balanced with subtle acidity and a great twist of lavender, anise and clove. If you're into lamb and game, there just isn't a better pairing in our store for this price.
|SOLD OUT * Vinedos Ithaca Odysseus Garnacha Blanca 2006|
It's a hell of a lot of fun to introduce people to this wine. It's even more fun to let winemaker Joseph Puig introduce people to it at our bar like he did last year. Here's a case where the winemaker is as interesting and as joyful as the wine he makes. The Odysseus Garnacha Blanc was the first white Grenache we bought in 2005 and it has continued to be one of our favorite wines in the store.
|SOLD OUT * Saxon Brown Cricket Creek Semillon 2006|
So, the notes for this wine when we tasted it a few weeks ago were just, "I must have this". Our high-tech, complicated system of buying or not buying wines goes like this-- if Jen draws a smiley face and I don't, it goes to a drink off where we set it aside and try it again after it has time to breathe for awhile. If there are two smilies, it's a winner. Incredibly, we broke protocol with this one, bypassing smilies all together (God forbid), and just making a written demand on paper.
|SOLD OUT * Curran Grenache Blanc 2006|
This is one of the most eagerly awaited releases at CoWineCo every year, dwarfed only by that other offering from winemaker Kris Curran in late May (hint: it rhymes with blee-schmoke).
Well, where to start with this wine.....some have called it "Spring in a glass".... others call it, "that wine that accidentally falls into my tummy by the bottle-full" ... ok, maybe that was us.
|SOLD OUT * Mason Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2001|
Randy Mason is known mostly for his fantastic Sauvignon Blancs, from his
Napa Valley bottling, to the reserve, to the wildly popular and affordable
Pomelo. But, recently our friends at Garber & Co. brought in what we're told
is the last bottling of cabernet that Randy and is wife Megan are going to offer.
|SOLD OUT * Fiddlehead Cellars Oldsville Reserve Pinot Noir '03|
If you've been into our store before and mentioned you were looking for a fantastic and unique white wine, we have more than likely walked you over to our Sauvignon Blanc section and picked up a bottle of Fiddlehead Cellars 'Happy Canyon' Sauvignon Blanc ($23.99/btl). We've stocked this wine since we opened our doors and it just keeps getting better and better.