Monday, September 12, 2011

Colorado Winery Visit: Whitewater Hill Vineyards

Our second Colorado winery visit took us to the “handgrown, handpicked and handcrafted” wines of Whitewater Hill Vineyards in Grand Junction. This was less than two minutes from our first stop at Mesa Park Vineyards.

Walking into the tasting room, you can’t help but notice the well-kept vines with the palisade in the background against the “bluebird” sky of Colorado. That’s just the thing to set the mood for tasting some wine.

Nancy Janes,  Whitewater’s winemaker, was on hand to help us taste through their wines. We opened with the 2009 No Oak Chardonnay, which featured a clean, light taste with hints of grapefruit.

The next wine was perhaps the best white we sampled during our four-winery swing through the Grand Valley AVA: the 2010 Barrel Select Chardonnay. This not only had light citrus fruit, but just the right touch of “toast” due to the aging in oak barrels. A flavor note of vanilla helped round out a well balanced glass. Green Dragon doesn’t care for oakiness, but she thought this was excellent.

The 2006 Merlot was big with spiciness and soft oak.The dark berries rumble in this tasty wine. The 2008 Shiraz has a slight sweetness,
perhaps only an impression based on the fruit forward style.This is a wine that jams and is jammy as well.

Continuing the tour of reds we sampled the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, which is aged 30 months in oak. It is light in style with taste of blackberries. The 2008 Cab Franc exhibited some tannins, but was a big, full-bodied wine with dark berry flavor notes.

The closer was a special wine indeed. The 2008 Ethereal is a true reserve wine that isn’t made every year – only when the grapes are exceptional. It is a complex blend of Cab Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz. It is only available at the tasting room.

Ethereal uses Nancy’s favorite barrels of wine blended into a big wine with structured tannins and flavor notes of currants and spice.The is a great bottle that sells for $29 (compared with the rest of the line which sells from $12 to $18.

Whitewater Hill is an estate winery with an enviable record of awards. the tasting room is inviting and friendly. Stop by for a visit soon and get a splash of Whitewater.
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