wine tasting in palisade
I’m ready for summer. Like SO ready.
Lately, my spin classes have featured summery jams (in the hopes that summer will hurry the heck up), like Summertime Sadness by Lana Del Rey or Hot Summer Night by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. My mind is already made up, it’s time for summer. And to kick off my summer (even if the rest of the Rockies weather isn’t quite on board) I did some wine tasting in the lovely town of Palisade, Colorado this weekend.
There are a handful of vineyards throughout Palisade, and while not all of them are open yet, I was able to visit four of them for complimentary tastings. The Chamber of Commerce has a lovely map detailing the locations of all the vineyards, I started with Grande River Vineyard.
Grande River offers three complimentary samples or, if you purchase one of their tasting glasses for ten dollars, you can have unlimited samples. Since this was the first one on the list I opted for the unlimited samples, mainly because I like going through the whole list in the order that the vineyard recommends – whites to reds to deserts – and listening to them describe each wine, the flavors that are dominant and what foods to pair each wine with.
I’m more of a red wine girl myself (and if we’re being honest, usually a cost effective boxed red wine, BotaBox anyone?). I don’t usually enjoy sweet wines but the Grande River Desert Blush was delicious. A unique Rosé that still had some dryness to it. I imagined using it to make a Rosé sangria (if that’s a thing) sitting on my patio on a Wednesday afternoon, thinking about my ex-coworkers in their cubicles, wishing they were out enjoying that Wyoming summer (kidding). I also enjoyed their Havin’ a Cow reserve red blend that gave me the pepper and cherry smoked notes of a Malbec.
The next stop was right next door: St. Kathryn Cellars and Talon Winery. St. Kathryn focuses on fruit wines (not quite my jam) while Talon Winery specializes in the more traditional grape wines. My favorite was the Wingspan Red. I also enjoyed tasting the White Merlot where they use Merlot grapes without the skins so it gives it a pink color instead of the darker red I usually imagine when I think of a Merlot.
The last two vineyards were across the river from downtown Palisade in East Orchard Mesa. This area is beautiful. Winding roads, orchards, fruit stands and lovely houses at every bend. Even if you aren’t a wine drinker I would recommend this drive to anyone in the area, I know my Dad would love to roll through this area with his “Dad biker gang.”
Colorado Cellars Winery isn’t on the map I mentioned above but I’m glad that it was a stop on my tour. It was a smaller tasting room and they offered five complimentary tastings that you could pour yourself. I focused on their four red wines (their Syrah was my favorite) and then finished it off with a sample of their honey wines – one sweet and one spicy. They recommended pouring the honey wine over some ice cream, which sounded delicious.
Carlson Vineyards was my last (and favorite) stop. I had visited before with my friend Kirstie, who grew up in Palisade, and I was instantly in love. Like Colorado Cellars, Carlson has a smaller tasting room and a beautiful outside seating area with an abundance of blooming flowers.
I like all the Carlson red wines, especially the Cougar Red Calico, and they offer as many complimentary samples as you want, (unlimited samples of wine is always the way to my heart). The wine, the landscape, the old and quaint tasting room, the beautiful outdoor seating with a view of the vineyard, it’s everything I want in a local Colorado winery. And it screams summer.
If you want to jumpstart your summer and don’t have a valley of wineries you can hop on over to how about a wine tasting night! Ask each friend to bring a bottle of wine a snack or appetizer that pairs well with it, you can find food pairing suggestions on the vineyards website. After this weekend, I would bring Colorado Cellars Syrah and a spicy salami, sounds tasty! I hope you can find a way to usher in summer by tasting some excellent wine with good food and great friends.