Sam Green/Cortez Journal
Sam Green/Cortez Journal
Colorado is slowly emerging as a spot for producing quality wine. Although the Four Corners is not the only area in the state that vintners see fit for production, it was the only region to make the list of the 10 Most Interesting Wines of 2012, compiled by wine lover and blogger Joe Roberts.
The recognition was given to Guy Drew for his 2011 Guy Drew Vineyards Pinot Gris. In the number 10 spot, Drew was the only winemaker from Colorado. Most of the wines on the list hailed from the most robust winemaking regions such as California, France and Spain.
Roberts met Drew at the Drink Local Wine conference in Denver in April 2012. It was here that he tasted Drew’s pinot gris. The top 10 wines he chose were from those he tasted in 2012, not wines that were made in 2012. At that particular conference, Drew won media choice in the taste-off competition for that same pinot gris.
“These competitions are very objective,” Drew said. “You can send the same wine to two different competitions and one will take home a gold medal and the other will receive nothing. So this is a great honor just to have a Colorado wine, let alone my wine, get this recognition.”
Roberts’ website, 1winedude.com features articles and reviews about wine. He has also written wine articles for Playboy magazine.
Guy Drew Vineyards, located on County Road G, a few miles down McElmo Canyon, is where Drew has been producing wine since 2000.
It was a complete surprise to Drew to receive such an honor, considering this was the first batch of pinot gris he’s ever made.
“Since I got this recognition, I have been drinking more pinot gris,” Drew said with a laugh. “Just in comparison.”
This particular white wine is known for its rich apple and pear flavors, sometimes coupled with lemon and spicy undertones. Depending on the producer, it can be made sweet or dry. Drew prefers a crisp, dry pinot gris – the most prevailing form of this varietal wine.
Colorado is a rather unique region for producing wine. The higher altitudes make this a great place for cultivating grapes and supplies favorable growing conditions. But like the state of Texas, which has stubbornly fixated on producing styles of cabernet sauvignon and merlot in an obviously unsuitable climate, Colorado must sift through grape varieties and discover what will grow best in its regions.
Drew has decided that pinot gris grapes have found a new home in this state. The grapes he used for his 91½ cases of pinot gris, came from Cedaredge in Delta County. The climate of Cedaredge is somewhat similar to the Four Corners, so Drew was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
“I really enjoy making white wines,” Drew said. “As the winemaker, I am tasting the wine as it ferments, and with whites, you have to ferment it at cold temperatures so that process takes longer.”
For four to six weeks, Drew sips his way through a white wine batch, appreciating the discernible flavor changes that occur from week to week. There is no aging involved in his white wines. Of Drew’s pinot gris, Roberts said in a press release, that Drew’s wine “might be the single best pinot gris I’ve yet had from the United States.”
“That is what is amazing, “Drew said of his statement. “It tells me that here in Colorado we should be growing and making more pinot gris. I hope it helps to open the eyes of the wine world to potential growers in Colorado.”
His 2011 batch of pinot, may have been his first, but it won’t be the last. Although bottles from the first batch are sold out, Drew is hoping to double his next harvest of pinot gris. He purchased the same grapes from Cedaredge and has already finished fermentation. The 2012 bottles of pinot gris will be bottled soon.
Drew will continue to create and distribute his delectable beverages to wine lovers all over the country, hoping to please more palates.
Visit 1winedude.com to see Roberts’ wine review. Drew and his wife Ruth can be found at Guy Drew Vineyards, located at 19891 Road G, hosting daily wine tastings from noon to 5 p.m. They can be reached at 565-4958.