Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Denver Blues

I love traveling, but I don't love traveling for work. I don't have to travel very often, but when I do, I always hope for good restaurants or something like that to make it a bit easier to be away from home. Last month I was in New Orleans and although it's never easy to be away from the wife and kids, I had a great time eating while not working.

This week I've been in Denver. Can some one please tell me - what is going on in Denver? I've been here twice now, been in a few restaurants, and I have yet to encounter a bottle of wine that I wanted to order. It's all poorly chosen California wine. I've seen the odd bottle of Guigal Côtes de Rhône, perhaps a Jadot Bourgogne, but essentially only American wine and none of it particularly interesting. Denver has great beer, a lot of it local. Do they just not bother with wine? Am I looking in the wrong places? Are Dressner's or Lynch's or Rosenthal's or wines of that ilk even distributed in Colorado?

Last night after our meetings were done I went with my colleagues to dinner at an upscale Mexican place. There were 6 of us. I keep my work life and my wine life separate, not for any particular reason at this point, but wine is a hobby that I don't trumpet. If it comes up or if asked, sure. But situations like the one at this restaurant make me nervous because I HATE drinking crappy wine, and yet if people at the table want wine, I'm going to drink it with them. And there is no conceivable scenario in which I would say to these people that I do some work for but don't know well, "Hey, give me the wine list and I'll pick something." The host will pick and that's that. You've been there too - you put your own stuff aside and roll with the group.

When the server came to take our drink order the women at the table ordered wine, and then one of the guys, and I was getting ready to accept my oak-chip-deep-purple 15% Cali-cab fate. But then, a miracle! The next guy, the host, ordered a Margarita, and specified some or other gold Tequila. A wave of relief washed over me, and I smiled and said "That sounds good - I'll have one too. Make mine Herradura silver, rocks and salt." I had more work to do later that evening, so I had only the one, and let me tell you that I savored every sip.

One other thing - I have this superstition that compels me to open a good bottle of wine with my wife before I go away on a trip. This time I took another shot with the 2006 Domaine de L'Arlot Clos des Forêts St. Georges, which I bought on closeout for $50, Daniel Johnnes Selections/Michael Skurnik Wines. The last bottle was corked, but this one was beautiful. Yes, it's very young and it's showing only a fraction of what it will become, but what's here now is completely delicious. The fruit is primary and dark, very juicy and sweet, and the wine shows great balance - good acidity, firm but gentle structure, everything is working. After about 20 minutes in the glass the telltale sauvage character of Nuits St. Georges emerged. I think this wine is going to be great 8 plus years down the road, and I'm psyched to have another bottle to save.

Assuming there are no delays, I'll get home to Brooklyn tonight, too late to see my kids or my wife, but let me assure you that tomorrow night I will open something good to help chase the Denver blues away.

9 comments:

Timothy said...

"when in Rome..."

obviously it's unavoidable when work colleagues are picking bottles, but coming from a fellow wine geek who's lived in the virtually wine-less state of Colorado for some time, take the opportunity to enjoy their beer instead while you're there. It's some of the best in the country.

marc said...

Funny, I was just discussing this very topic with my wife. I hope for a spare bottle of beer every week at my office wine happy hour.

Sip with Me! said...

It's a bit out of the way, but for great wine, next time head to Boulder. I lived in Colorado for years and never warmed much to Denver, but Boulder knows kind food and wine. The Med is where it's at… Paella and a wine list to drool over!!

ben said...

Le Central at 6th Ave and Lincoln Street in Denver has a good wine list.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Denver is a craft beer town. Been there many times. Sorry:)

joe tom said...

check out Venice, italian rest & wine bar. i stopped by last time i was on tour there and had a good meal. the owner took me through the cellar and it was pretty decent, although mostly Italian juice. i was able to check out a few private cellars to the stars and i can tell you that Celine Dion digs Gaja.

Hampers said...

Thanks for sharing the review of 2006 Domaine de L'Arlot Clos des Forêts St. Georges> Will give it a try and hope it tastes well.

Do Bianchi said...

Travel safely, Brooklynguy!

Joe said...

Apparently Tim Bowen (late of CSW) is starting a distributorship in Colorado that should carry some better stuff. Wish him success.

SFJoe