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Wine of the Week: Creekside Cellars 2011 Cabernet Franc - Colorado


My first review of a Colorado wine.

Ever since I first sampled Colorado wines two years ago at the Wine Tourism Conference in Sonoma, California, I knew Colorado winemakers were producing good wine. The kind of wine I enjoy drinking. It was a pleasure to participate in a tasting of a well made Colorado Cabernet Franc. Yes, Cabernet Franc is now considered THE Colorado variety.

Colorado has received a lot of attention this past year due to changes in the regulation of a controlled substance. I've read that tourism has increased because of this change in law. For my readers of this wine blog, I'm recommending you travel to Colorado for their wine. Wine tourism is growing in Colorado, not because they make wine, but because they make wine so very well. In the southern hemisphere, Argentina, they make exceptional wine, Malbec, because of the elevation of their vineyards and ripening fruit from UV generated heat units. Colorado is doing something similar.

I was deeply impressed by the quality of this Colorado Cabernet Franc. You are strongly encouraged to visit Colorado wine country and seek out the wines of Creekside Cellars. Winemaker Michelle Cleveland is truly talented. I hope you appreciate the following tasting notes.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Garnet, slightly cloudy.
Nose: Big, smoky, dark violets backed up with dark cherry.
Palate: Dry, fine tannin, focused front palate, black currant, black cherry, medium body, tasty finish danced around with smoky, oaky, tannic elements. Like.

20 minutes:
  • Flavors integrated, delivered beautiful fruit on the palate and lovely fine tannin on the tongue. Finish expanded and delicious. Espresso and dark chocolate notes appeared on the nose. A dried herb component on the finish. Well balanced wine. Elements in harmony.
Day two:
  • Intense, almost jammy nose with dark candied fruit, dusty, rich leather and violets. Palate of ripe plum, dark cherry, balanced tannin and acid on the finish. Bright with medium finish of plum, dark cherry and an echo of coffee. 
Day three:
  • Dark fruit, wet tar, peppery cacao, blackberry jam, black cherry, focused, hint of tomato sauce + celery in background, covered the palate, dry, velvety, concentrated, happy gums, clove and mocha cherry on the long finish. Phenomenal on day 3. Big like.
  • Serve gently chilled with your favorite charcuterie. It was lighter bodied the first two days with intense flavors that would match well with flavorful food. Recommended.
  • On day three however, this wine delivered pure pleasure. This Colorado Cabernet Franc showed the talent of the grower, the accuracy of the site selection and the true skill of the winemaker. Impressive wine. Period. Wonderful vintage that showed its worth and aging potential. Bravo Michelle! Strongly Recommended.
Blend: 100% Cabernet Franc
AVA: Grand Valley (elevation 4,000-4,500 ft)
Closure: Natural Cork
ABV: 13.9%
SRP: $35
Michelle Cleveland, Winemaker
Sample provided by winery
Winery has total of 2,500 case production

Creekside Cellars
28036 Highway 74
Evergreen, Colorado 80439
Phone: 303.674.5460

Creekside Cellars became a bonded Colorado limited winery in 1996. They opened their doors to the public in 2000, the day after Thanksgiving, and in 2002 they planted their estate vineyard in Palisade, Colorado, called Vinelands. More than a winery, Creekside Cellars doubles as an Italian café featuring an outdoor deck overhanging Bear Creek.

Colorado Wine Facts:
  • There are 100 wineries in Colorado.
  • The Colorado AVA's and wine regions.
  • Why Colorado Wine?  Warm days + Cool Nights + Low Humidity = Delicious Wine!
  • 2011 Cabernet Franc: grown in the Grand Valley AVA on Colorado's Western Slope.
  • Cabernet Franc ripens earlier than Cabernet Sauvignon thus resulting in bigger tannin + fruit.
  • Weather is cold, which maintains acid and a unique representation.
  • Located approximately 250 miles from Denver, the high altitude and intense UV rays and deep color and flavor to the grapes. Think Argentina and Andes Mountains (UV for ripening). 
  • Colorado’s vineyards are the highest in North America!  
  • The AVA's of Colorado include: Grand Valley AVA + West Elks AVA.  There are only two now, but we hear that more are in the works! 
  • West Elks elevation is between 7000-7500 ft. 
  • Most produced reds in Colorado are:  Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc.

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