WHAT TO TAKE HOME
- Alfred Eames at Puesta Del Sol
Ménage red blend: full bodied and a little brambly, with jammy berry flavors. $16.
Laughing Cat Riesling: off-dry but balanced with refreshing acidity. Pleasant floral aromas and fresh fruit flavors. $12.
- Grande River
Viognier: juicy peach flavors and sweet-seeming floral aromas. Intense but delicate. $17.
- Guy Drew
Syrah: a rustic wine, full of dark plums and briary blackberries, edged with sweet pipe tobacco smoke. $18.
- Peak Spirits
Peak Pear Aperitif: a fresh-tasting, honeyed blend of the distillery's own organic pear eau-de-vie and local organic pear juice. $20.
- Stone Cottage
- Alpine Dessert: rich mouth-feel, spicy with good acidity. Drink it with carrot cake and weep. $18.
Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon: bright Meyer lemon, softer pear, and intriguing tropical notes, with earthier herbal underpinnings. $20.
- Terror Creek
Pinot Noir: medium-bodied, with a raspberry nose, gravelly mineral flavors, and a long finish. $29.
- Two Rivers
Cabernet Sauvignon: a well-structured wine with cherry character and hints of cedar. $15. –E.B.
WHERE TO EAT AND STAY IN COLORADO WINE COUNTRY
To get to the Grand Valley and West Elks AVAs, you can fly into Grand Junction, then drive 40 miles southeast to Delta; or fly into Montrose and drive 21 miles north to Delta. To get to the Four Corners area, depending on where you're coming from, it's generally easiest to fly into Durango (from there, drive 46 miles west on U.S. 160). It takes a little more than an hour to drive from the Grand Valley to the North Fork Valley, and another four hours to get to Cortez.
The Grand Valley:
Il Bistro Italiano
Chef-owner Brunella Gualerzi hails from Emilia Romagna and serves many classics from that region. The wine list features Grand Valley wines. INFO: $$; closed Sun–Mon; 400 Main St., Grand Junction; 970/243-8622.
Los Altos Bed & Breakfast
It's all about the view. Seven rooms in a contemporary Victorian, and breakfasts with home-baked goodies. INFO: From $119, including breakfast; in Grand Junction; 888/774-0982.
The North Fork Valley/West Elks:
Leroux Creek Inn & Vineyards
The inn is set in the vineyards, with views facing the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Dine on classic French cuisine made with local ingredients. INFO: From $165, including breakfast; in Hotchkiss; 970/872-4746.
Smith Fork Ranch
The area's most elegant retreat with a serious wine cellar and white-tablecloth dining. INFO: From $5,990 per week for two, including meals and activities; in Crawford, southeast of the North Fork Valley; 970/921-3454.
Abode at Willowtail Springs
Three fully outfitted cabins on 60 acres surrounded by gardens. There's a small lake nearby, and views to the La Plata Mountains. INFO: From $229, including breakfast; near Mancos; 800/698-0603.
A hot spot for locals and travelers alike, with a wide-ranging menu. $$$; closed Mon; 4 County Rd. 124, Hesperus; 970/247-5674.