Although Northern Colorado is considered the Napa Valley of beers, when it comes to the vine, Colorado is holding its own. The best growing area is on the Western Slope near Palisades but there is an increasing number of vineyards on the northeast side of Colorado. The Western Slope has many traditional varieties such as Cab Sav and Merlot, and the Cab Francs are outstanding. This is a must do trip if you love wine.
For NoCo, the varietals in our area tend to be cold hardy varieties such as Marquette and Marechal Foch, but the local vintners are making very respectable wines from Western slope grapes.
If you love wine, we can accommodate your passion. If you come and visit here are several options for you:
Spero Winery – Ig you are driving through Denver at some point in your travels, you definitely want to make a stop at Spero Winery. About 75% of their wines use Western Slope grapes with the remaining coming from California. The owners are Sicilian and expert winemakers. All the wines are aged to some degree before selling. They offer at least 15 different wines. Our favorites were the Cab Franc and Sangiovese – both using Colorado grapes. The wine is also reasonably priced!
Ten Bears Winery – This is a nice gem of a winery on the northern side of Fort Collins on Hwy 287. The winery has several acres of grapes used for their Estate blend but the 90% of their wine uses Colorado grapes. Take some cheese and crackers, enjoy the reasonably priced tasting and the view of the foothills in the distance!
Blue Mountain Winery – This is a super little winery in Berthoud, about 30 miles south of Fort Collins. It makes a wonderful afternoon activity. There are eight wines in the tasting which includes a stroll through the beautiful gardens that have a view of the mountains. Reservations are required as there are limited scheduled group tastings on the weekend. The vintner uses primarily high-quality California grapes with a few from the Western Slope. A microbiologist by trade, he has a gift and a nose for making excellent wines.
Front Range Wine Fest – If you come for a visit in August, be prepared to go to the Front Range Wine Fest! It’s the third Saturday in August! There are over 30 Colorado wineries represented from both sides of the slopes. As with most wines, some are marginal and some are outstanding. This is where we discovered Spero Winery!
If you enjoy wine with meals, there are several options to pair a wonderful dinner with a satisfying wine.
Origins Pizza – This Neopolitan style pizzeria is owned by two sommeliers, so you know your wines are going to be outstanding. There are usually four casked wines – two whites and two reds and a great representation of other varietals and blends by the glass or bottle. The food is outstanding as well.
Mary’s Lake Lodge – If you are planning a day in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, we highly recommend a late lunch/early dinner at Tavern 1929 at Mary’s Lake Lodge. The building erected in 1913 has earned its place on the State Register of Historic Properties for its unique character. While you dine, you will have a fantastic view of the mountains and can enjoy not only house brews but house wines as well. They have a short but excellent wine list but it is the pours that make it unique. We call them the Mary’s Lake Pour.