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Vintage Sampler

Tasting rooms let you try before you buy

Owner Marv Parliament oversees the wine tastings at Wines of Colorado and the Winery at Pikes Peak.

Owner Marv Parliament oversees the wine tastings at Wines of Colorado and the Winery at Pikes Peak.

As the holidays approach, you may find yourself planning the same old menus – turkey for Thanksgiving, a beef roast for Christmas, and fancy hors d’oeuvres for New Year’s Eve. Your family and friends count on it.

So if you want to change things up a bit, why not find some new wines to serve with those old favorites? New and exciting pairings can make those old standbys fresh and interesting again. 

And the search for them can be as much fun as the holidays themselves. Go on a wine-tasting tour of Colorado’s Front Range and discover what’s just waiting to be poured on your special occasion.

According to Kyle Schlachter, the Outreach Coordinator for the Colorado Wine Industry Development Board, there are about 70 wine-tasting rooms along the Front Range from Pueblo to Fort Collins. Most are in the Denver metro area.

“In most cases, tasting rooms are the place where most of a winery’s sales occur,” he says. “But more importantly they provide a good environment for customers to interact with and get to know their local winemaker.” 

Start your wine-tasting tour close to home. 

At D’Vine Wine in Manitou Springs, you can stop by and sample some vino any time. You can even get a wine blended just for you, or make your own. 

At Swirl Wine Bar, also in Manitou, owner and sommelier Sharon Erale-Palmer says customers can come in any time to sample a constantly rotating list of vintages. Swirl also offers wine-tasting classes.

“We feature local wines from Colorado in our rotation,” she says. “We focus on small production, sustainable and family-owned vineyards as much as possible from all over the world. I taste and research every single wine” before offering it. 

Just up Highway 24 in Cascade, Wines of Colorado offers the largest selection of Colorado wines in the state and tastings any time. At its sister business, The Winery at Pikes Peak serves up samplers of its own wines – from cabernets to chardonnays, Rieslings to pinot gris. And check out the Parliament Blend, a cabernet and syrah blend named for owner Marv Parliament.

You’ll hit the mother lode of wine-tasting rooms in the Denver area. You might start at what’s being called Colorado Winery Row. Located near the I-70 and I-25 interchange, it features three Colorado tasting rooms: Bonacquisiti Wine Company, Garfield Estates Vineyard & Winery and Verso Cellars.  Within a small geographic space, you’ll sample some of the best chardonnays, merlots, Rieslings, and cabernets the state has to offer.

While in Denver, don’t miss the chance to visit a vineyard right in the city – the award-winning, family-owned Balistrieri Vineyards. In their newly expanded tasting room, you’ll sample flights of wine or you can pick and choose the ones you want to try. Known for their sulfite-free wines, this is the place for folks who are sensitive to preservatives. 

There are dozens more tasting rooms along the Front Range.

For a full list, visit http://www.colorado.com/articles/colorado-wine-trails-tasting-rooms.