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Asleep at the wine-drinking wheel

ColoradoBiz Staff //April 22, 2011//

Asleep at the wine-drinking wheel

ColoradoBiz Staff //April 22, 2011//

Last week I posted a query on Facebook: Where – in Colorado – is the very best patio for sitting in the sun and sipping your favorite glass of wine? A dozen responses instantly ensued, packed with over two dozen suggestions.

As the author of memoir called – ahem – Cheap Cabernet: A Friendship ( – and, as the long-time author of this column titled – The Wine Wench – I felt humiliated amongst my wine-guzzling peers to learn (a) that I didn’t know of about half the suggestions and (b) most all suggestions (even those of which I knew) I’d never visited.

Alas, this made me feel like a sort of Ripple Rip Van Winkle, if you will. I’ve obviously been very much asleep at the wine-drinking wheel. There are more Colorado patios built for imbibing the fruit of the vine than you can shake a decanter at.

Hence, I am turning over a new wine glass stem. My quest for 2011 is to visit every single one of these patios. It will be a trying quest to be sure: There are but four months or so of upcoming warm and sunny days in which to pursue and conquer each and every patio, but conquer I will.

In the meantime, here is, verbatim, my Facebook friends’ responses to Where can I go drink in the sun (and drink in the drink)?

From “RR”: Yia Yia’s, Vita.
From “SP”: The Lobby, Venice, Cru, Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Wine Loft….so many patios, so little time! So glad it’s patio season again!
Oh, also Root Down and Marlowe’s.
From “KM”: Shells & Sauce, Olivea and RootDown. Hmm … maybe Rialto Cafe, The Keg downtown and Encore. Wait – at the right time of the year, The Corkhouse and Solera.
Lala’s Pizza & Wine near the governor’s mansion. Terrific flights of wines. Great prices.

From “AU”: Clear Creek at the patio of either the Golden Hotel or Grappa Bistro (across the bridge from one another, both facing the creek).

Now, if you’re counting, as I have been, that adds up to twenty-one patios awaiting my presence. However, I’ve got my own favorite hot spots for hot times in the summertime: Osteria Marco, Tony’s Market, Steamboat Springs’ Creekside Café, Creekside Cellars up in Bailey, and the deck at Tony Rigatoni’s Italian Kitchen in Morrison are just a few that come to mind – and one must remain loyal and continue to frequent her favorites.

So that’s a lot of ground to cover in the next few months. But I’ll not stop there!
This is where you come in. The Wine Wench plans create the most comprehensive Colorado List of Lovely Wine Drinking Patios by Labor Day.

Please post at your favorite spots – that patio you know you can go to, get a table, maybe with an umbrella, a pleasant waiter and a wonderful wine list. It’s a little piece of nirvana and psychotherapy on a sunny day.

I may be in rehab or even dead at the end of this quest. But heroes know that all quests are made for the greater good of the people and so sacrifice I will.

Wish me luck.

One Winning Wine Tasting

Amendment XXI Toasts Earth Day and Free Tastings

Amendment XXI Wine & Spirits in northwest Denver offers free wine tastings every Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. Located at 2548 15th Street, Amendment XXI’s tastings offer earth-friendly wines and provide information and insight into the qualities that make a wine sustainable.

All of Amendment XXI’s April tastings are either certified organic or biodynamic. The store also provides wines made with organic grapes but are not certified by any governing body. Search out owner Leo Bortolotto at the tastings for an insider’s skinny on what makes for flavorful wines that are also environmentally friendly.

Weird Wine Trivia
File under: Who knew?

There are approximately 400 species of oak though only about 20 are used to make oak barrels. Of the trees that are used, only 5 percent of those trees are suitable for making high grade wine barrels. The average age of a French oak tree harvest for use in wine barrels is 170 years.

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