Colorado Uncorked: The Best Colorado Wines of 2021
We went to the Colorado Uncorked event at the History Colorado Center to taste the winners of the 2021 Governor’s Cup and to support our winery friends and partners who received this prestigious honor. Before we get into the highlights of this event, here’s a brief explanation of the Governor’s Cup competition:
The Governor’s Cup is an annual competition where Colorado wineries are invited to submit their wines to be blind-judged by judges from around the country. Each wine is evaluated and awarded a gold, silver, or bronze medal. All of the gold medal wines are judged again to determine the best fourteen wines; these wines are awarded the double gold medal and become the Governor’s Cup collection.
For the 2021 competition, over 250 wines were submitted to be judged. In addition to the 14 double gold medals, Colorado’s wines were awarded 18 gold medals, 121 silver medals, and 104 bronze medals.
The annual Colorado Uncorked event is the only public opportunity to sample all of the wines in the Governor’s Cup collection. Some of the best restaurateurs in the state craft small bites that are paired with each wine. For food and wine aficionados, this event is a mecca! The highlight of this event is the announcement of the overall winning wine of the Governor’s Cup.
The fourteen Governor’s Cup wines came from ten wineries; of these ten wineries, six are located in the Grand Valley. We were very proud to see so many familiar faces at the competition. This year’s Governor’s Cup wines included a wide variety of red, white, rose, fruit, and honey wines. We were excited to get to sample so many different styles of wine, including a couple of varietals that we were not familiar with.
Sarah was intrigued by Bookcliff Vineyards’ Graciano. This is a Spanish grape used primarily in Spanish Rioja blends. This grape grows well in warm climates hence why it is successful in the Grand Valley. This medium-bodied, slightly spicy red paired beautifully with River Bear Meats charcuterie, as the wine's acidity cut through the fattiness of the meat.
We both enjoyed Carboy Winery’s Teroldego. Teroldego is a grape that originated in northern Italy and is currently grown in limited quantities in Colorado. This wine exhibited complex spice and earthiness that was enhanced by a scrumptious mushroom pate crostini.
The most unique food and wine pairing that we sampled was a trout mousse on a puffed vegetable crisp made by Grand Junction’s own Josh Niernberg of Bin 707/Taco Party. This was paired with Buckel Family Wine’s Cinsault or Petillant Naturel Rose. We went back a couple of times because we couldn’t decide which wine we liked better paired with this unique dish.
For dessert, we ‘invented’ our own pairing that was off-menu: a salted caramel panna cotta paired with Carlson Vineyards’ Cherry Wine. The tartness of the cherry cut through the richness of the panna cotta and the slight saltiness of the caramel kept us coming back for another taste.
The 2021 Governor's Cup Award Presentation
After thoroughly enjoying all of the delicious wine and food came the main event. Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera presented the award for best in show to Carboy Winery for their Teroldego. We offer a hearty congratulations to all of Colorado’s wineries in this year’s Governor’s Cup collection. Cheers!