Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Getting the most from your BookCliff Table Wines

In addition to our exceptional line of fine blends, varietals, and dessert wines, here at BookCliff Vineyards and Winery we also produce two table wines.

So just what is a table wine? In the United States, the official definition of a table wine is a wine that contains a minimum of 7 percent alcohol and a maximum of 14 percent. There is no consideration of quality in the U. S. definition, although some consider it to connote a lower quality or less expensive wine. In the U.S this is often an incorrect assumption as many table wines are quite fine and expensive. This misconception is probablly due to the European Union and pre-EU wine laws in European countries, as an EU table wine is defined as a wine that doesn't qualify as a quality wine under various appelation(regional), wine production rules.
BookCliff Vineyard and Winery table wines are, A Touch of Red and Fridays Folly. At BookCliff our table wines are produced through blending various vintages and varietals of some of our other fine wines.
The first of our table wines is our very popular sweet blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot called, A Touch of Red. After the Cabernet and Merlot is fermented completely dry we back blend unfermented merlot juice into the wine to create a uniquely friuty sweet wine which John, our owner and winemaker likes to compare to a Sangria. The difference is, instead of resting on cut fruit, our version gets it sweetness from the unfermented merlot juice in the blend. A great wine to come in from the heat of summer for, this wine is best enjoyed as cold as you can make it. Like its' Spanish inspiration Sangria; BookCliffs, A Touch of Red serves equally well over ice.
Our second, and newest table wine is BookCliffs Fridays Folly. Released late last year, Fridays Folly is named for a common climbers route on the back of the third Flatiron in Boulder. Fridays Folly is a blend of various vintages of BookCliffs Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Fridays Folly is completely dry, although quite fruity and crisp. The trick to getting the best out of your bottle of Fridays Folly is through decanting. So dust off that decanter, decant your Fridays Folly, allow it to breath and open up for 15 to 30 minutes prior to drinking, and enjoy a table wine that easily rivals many wines costing 2 to 3 times as much. If you don't have a decanter, decant into a pitcher or pour the wine into glasses 10 to 15 minutes prior to serving. Just opening the bottle and letting it sit will not allow enough air exchange for the wine to open up. If you would really like to experience the difference this aeriation decanting makes pour yourself a glass of Fridays Folly and set it aside for 15 minutes. When you are ready to taste, pour another glass from the bottle and taste both side by side. I'm sure you will be pleasantly surprised by the difference.

Mark M. Stephan
BookCliff Vineyards

Friday, February 22, 2008

Winter Update in the Vineyard from Sam

Despite the consistently cold winter, I'm remaining optimistic thanks to the abnormally wet season. The two biggest challenges we face growing winegrapes in Colorado are winter-kill, when cold winter temperatures kill the vines to the ground and must be trained up from the roots; and high levels of salt in the soil, which grapevines are particularly sensitive to. The high moisture we've had has a positive effect on both. Having a soil profile that doesn't dry out during the four months we don't irrigate relieves the vines of additional stress during cold spells, and it also helps to leech the salts out of the top layers of soil. Winters are a good reminder that Colorado is a difficult grape growing region. Despite my optimism, we won't really know how the winter has affected the plants until the spring comes and the vines wake up, or don't. The next step in the vineyard is pruning. Pruning is key to determining your crop load for the upcoming season. By spacing the budspurs along the vine we are hoping to balance the amount of vegetative growth and the amount of clusters one vine will produce. We first have a pre-pruner come through and chop last year’s new growth. We then go back through and do the final pruning by hand. We will finish this process, hopefully, when the first Chardonnay buds start pushing out their new shoots. If anyone finds themselves in Palisade, look me up and I'd be glad to show anyone the grape growing process firsthand. Check this out...for a video of the pre-pruning in action click here.

Samuel Stetser
Vineyard Manager
BookCliff Vineyards


Well, the wait is almost over. Our port-style dessert wine, Finali, is almost ready to be bottled. This wine is a blend made up of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with just a dash of Syrah. It is fortified to about 18% alcohol. We use an alcohol that we had distilled from some our wine a couple years ago. The wine is pot-distilled (the same method used to make fine whiskeys) which gives the resulting alcohol a smooth and floral character. We then add the 140 proof alcohol to the wine during fermentation to bring up the alcohol content to 18%. This high level kills the yeasts and leaves a delicious sweetness in the wine. Finali, with it's dark fruit flavors and slight spiciness, will be amazing with any chocolate dessert or maybe even drizzled over ice cream! Get a sneak preview of Finali at our first wine class on Feb 28, at the tasting room. Call (303) 449-WINE for more info.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Have you seen this place?

Have y'all been to Liquormart in Boulder, CO? What an amazing place it is. If you want it they have it. Wine from every corner of the world ranging from First Growth Bordeaux to a yummy bottle of German Gl├╝hwein. Not to mention the huge beer and spirits sections, and the prices are always great. Wow! By the way, you can always find BookCliff wines here. Stop by and ask the wonderful and super-helpful people at the wine desk where to find the Colorado wine section (or any other wine your looking for). Stop by Liquormart at 15th & Canyon in Boulder or check out their website at www.liquormart.com/
Remember buy local!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

By Way of Introduction

....and welcome to what promises to be my first of many blog entries here at BookCliff Vineyards. By way of introduction my name is Mark M. Stephan, Sommelier and Colorado Mountain Region Sales Representative here at BookCliff. I've been with the team here for nearly a year, at the Vineyard, in the Winery and at our Tasting Room in Boulder. Recently I've agreed to open the mountain territories, and represent our fine wines to both restaurants and liquor stores in the high country. I'll be visiting Dillon, Silverthorne, and Breckenridge in the next few weeks. From there we'll be expanding to most of the other Colorado Mountain resort areas.

A little about me... A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; I grew up in Titusville, Florida. (Just across the Intercoastal Waterway from the Kennedy Space Center where the Space Shuttle launches.) From my 16th birthday on, with breaks for the Navy and College I worked at the Walt Disney World Resort. Over my tenure I was part of the team at all 4 theme parks, having been a part of the pre-opening teams at both the Disney Mgm Studios and Disneys Animal Kingdom. From Park Operations to Resort Recreation, from Guest Relations to Food and Beverage I wore many hats throughout the years. During my last years at Walt Disney World I was a server and Sommelier at Disney's Boardwalk Resort. I recieved my Sommelier certificaions under the instruction of the Walt Disney World Wine Education program and Disney Worlds' Master Sommelier John Blazon. In April of 2006 I recieved my Guild Level Sommelier credentials thru the Court of Master Sommeliers. After moving to Colorado I successfully completed the International Wine Guild Advanced Course in the spring of 2007.

In addition to a passion for all things wine, I am also a big fan of live music and art. Here at BookCliff Vineyards and Winery I have had the opportunity to combine these passions with the introduciton of our signed, numbered, embellished special Scramble Campbell painted edition of our 2003 Ensemble. The lable features Scrambles painting "Mars at Closest" painted during the String Cheese Incidents show at Red Rocks Ampitheater. Each bottle is individually painted beyond the label by the artist. Over half of this limited edition of 100 bottles has already been sold, so be sure to get yours before they are all gone. For more of Scrambles art, visit http://www.scramblecampbell.com/.

My other interests include sailing, scuba, cave diving, hiking, camping and exploring outdoors. Having left the oceans for my new life here in Colorado, it seems that hiking, camping and exploring will take precedent over the others. Fortunately wine goes equally well with camping as it does with sailing.

Mark M. Stephan
BookCliff Vineyards
Sommelier and Sales

Friday, February 8, 2008

In-Store Tastings

Hey All,

Want to sample our wine for free?! Well, we've got a few in-store tastings scheduled in the next couple of months so you can do just that. We will be pouring as many as four different wines at the following locations:

February 23, we will be at Zamparelli's Italian Bistro from 3-5. This is the restaurant right next-door to Meridian Wine & Spirits on 95th & Arapahoe in Lafayette. Meridian will be placing our wine on sale for 15% off.

March 8, we will be at Superior Liquor from 2-6. Superior Liquor is located at US 36 & McCaslin Blvd. in (you guessed it) Superior, CO!

March 21, we will be at DaveCo Liquors from 4-6. DaveCo is located at 16434 Washington St. in Thornton.

March 28, we will be at Highland Vineyards from 5-7. Highland Vineyards is located at 3506 Town Center Drive in Highlands Ranch.

Please come and visit with us and let us know that you saw it here. Can' wait to see you!

Note that any changes in time or date will be posted on this site.