|BookCliff at Vina Cobos in Mendoza|
The higher elevation creates grapes with a thicker skin, especially noticeable in red grapes. The low night temperatures preserve the acidity in the fruit. The result is wine with some grit, more structure, tannins especially when young and higher acidity expressed in a crisp finish. All of this contributes to wine that ages well in the bottle and cellar. And can complement food very well.
I had to visit Argentina and specifically Mendoza to get a better understanding what makes Colorado wine taste different from Californian wine. Mendoza has a similar climate and soil as Colorado's grape country, high dessert, arid climate and similar soil. The highest elevation vineyards in Mendoza (Uco valley) are 4,900 feet, Palisade, CO is at 4,600 feet. All vineyards are irrigated in Mendoza, just as in Palisade. No wonder the red wines from Mendoza and Colorado taste similar.