By Kimberly Dean
THE COLORADO STATESMAN
On the fourth Tuesday of every month, Argonaut Wine & Liquors hosts a wine tasting at the Park Hill Golf Club in Denver from 5:30-7:30 p.m. I was invited to attend the monthly wine tasting and benefit by Sheila Carey of Argonaut, so I gratefully accepted.
This month, the event was to benefit Easter Seals of Colorado, and the theme was California Tasting. Having tasted many Colorado wines lately, I decided it was time for a change of region. The 150 wines that were available for tasting were from areas other than popular Napa and Sonoma such as Mendocino, Lake County, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara as well as Central California. The cost was $30 and included appetizers. I was on a press pass, of course. Don’t be jealous.
I arrived with notepad and camera in hand and a hankering for some grape juice, but all they had to drink was wine. After signing in and getting my list of wines and their locations around the large banquet room, I started at Table 1, Baroness, and tasted my way around the room, again trying only one or two (in some cases three) wines at each station. Having not mastered the art of spitting, there was a need to pace myself.
It also helped to skip the tables that were too crowded, even though it seemed to mean that the wine was good. However, I hear that after tasting 16 or so wines, your palette starts to become numb to detecting subtle differences. So if you’re ever in a similar situation choose your tasting wines carefully.
At Table 3, I finally realized that the music I was hearing in the background was actually live. The jazz performer was perfectly situated in the first corner near the windows that overlooked the golf course. The beautiful setting was very conducive to light chit chat with new friends. One of them, a tall gentleman who stopped by before his dinner plans, recommended I try the port wines. We agreed that the Rosenblum Desiree Chocolate Port at Table 8, Pinnacle was the best, though I made sure to tell him that Garfield Estates (Colorado) makes a divine chocolate port as well.
Speaking of food, there was no chocolate that I observed, but there were plenty of cheeses and crackers. Not to mention stuffed mushrooms and a crispy chicken appetizer with a sweet sauce, which kept being refilled by the Club’s wait staff, and which I was dying to make a meal of but didn’t since I had dinner waiting for me.
On my way out, I almost passed a crowed Table 10, Southern American, when I spotted one of my favorite wines, a white wine blend called Conundrum, and helped myself to a taste. I looked up the wine in my new favorite book, ‘Good, Better, Best Wines’ by Carolyn Evans Hammond. Hammond says, “This blend starts with fragrant honeysuckle and tangerine before attacking the palate with a good lick of Granny Smith apple, ripe apricot, and pear…Full-bodied and ripe.” She goes on to say, “Conundrum isn’t made to a signature taste profile each vintage. Instead, it blends new proportions of the same five grape varieties each year.” The woman pouring it behind the table, Katrina, seemingly distrustful of other blends said, “All wines should be like that. If they are not, they are doing something to it to make it taste the same every time.”
I couldn’t leave before saying hello to Sheila, who commented, “These events are great for the Easter Seals, for Argonaut, as well as Park Hill Golf Club.” This seems to be something she is known very well for, and was never in want of someone happy to talk wine with her. It’s always nice to see someone in their element.
There are two more similar wine tastings left this year: Sept. 28, Zinfully Delicious, and Oct. 26, Champagne. To make reservations, contact Sheila Carey at 303-831-7788. Payment is required at the time the reservation is made.