Wine and jazz (again) in Snowmass Village
Want to taste wines from 80 different wineries for just $50? Youll have an opportunity to do just that on an upcoming Saturday at the Snowmass Wine and Jazz Festival.Huh? I thought the Jazz Fest was Labor Day weekend. Well, as we all know, it is. But later this month, the Snowmass Village Rotary Club will host its annual fundraiser to support a number of the Roaring Fork Valleys nonprofits. And, in a somewhat confusing coincidence, their event is, in fact, entitled the Snowmass Wine and Jazz Festival.The difference of course is the Wine part and thats where this column comes in. For the last three years, Barbara Bakios-Wickes, the proprietress and wine buyer for the fine wine shop in Snowmass, now called Sundance Liquor and Gift (theyve gone cold turkey on the drugs), has helped the Rotary put together a selection of wines for their annual event. Their efforts have helped in raising thousands of dollars for charity while giving participants a chance to taste a number of fine wines at a fair price.This year there are two components to the wine part of the Festival. The first takes place on Friday night, Sept. 14, when chef David Von Holton hosts a five-course wine dinner featuring the acclaimed Italian wines of La Spinetta and Banfi. Then, on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 1-5 p.m., the Snowmass Village Mall becomes vine central, as Barbara has brought together a taste-worthy assortment of wines from many familiar places and from some new faces.Buy a ticket and youll get your own glass to taste a world of wines ranging from Alamos in Argentina to Zaca Mesa in Los Olivos, Calif. In between, youll find wines from familiar names like Benziger Family Winery, Joseph Drouhin and Saintsbury. Representing the may-be-new-to-you category are Austin Reed, who will hopefully bring along his Paso Robles syrah that has received acclaim; Mauritson Family Vineyards, pouring their limited-release zinfandels from the Rockpile label, which hail from a newly anointed American Viticultural Area in Sonoma County bearing the same name; and Domaine Meriwether, an Oregon winery that has created buzz by making sparkling wines.The Saturday tasting will also include food from a number of restaurants, including Il Poggio, the Margarita Grill and The Stew Pot in Snowmass Village, and Pacifica and Dish in Aspen. Tickets for the tasting can be purchased at Sundance Liquor and Gift, The Grog Shop, The Daily Bottle Shop and El Jebeverage, or at the event.Fridays dinner, priced at $125 per person, promises to be special as well and not just because of the food. La Spinetta, which has added a Tuscan winery to its flagship in Piedmont, will pour two wines, one from each region of Italy. From Piedmont comes the La Spinetta Barbera dAsti Superiore Bionzo DOC 2004. This wine is an excellent example of winemaker Giorgio Rivettis modern interpretation of barbera. Though it could age for a decade or two, diners will get to try this wine in its comparative infancy.La Spinetta Il Nero di Casanova 2005 IGT Sangiovese will also be poured with dinner. Made at their estate in the western part of Tuscany, this sangiovese has an intense ruby color in the glass due to the 5 percent blending of the Tuscan grape, colorino. Castello Banfi, the American-owned, Tuscan-based winery best known for their Brunello di Montalcino and the exceptional cabernet sauvignon blends, Excelsus and Summus, will bring two interesting wines from their sister winery in, you guessed it, Piedmont.The first is a Principessa Perlante Gavi, which will accompany the first course. A lightly sparkling wine, made from 100 percent cortese grapes, it is high in acid and low in alcohol, making it a nice choice for a variety of foods including cheese.For dessert, the pairing will be another wine with some fizz, the Rosa Regale 2006, a red sparkler made from brachetto grapes, which are similar to pinot noir. My guess is you can look forward to a little chocolate for dessert. There seems to be some confusion in Snowmass these days about what to call things. Some say its a village (John McBride suggests Nouveau Snowmass) while others just want to call it Snowmass. So, too, this Festivals name is somewhat confounding. Clearly, however, they have put together a nice collection of wines for a sunny September afternoon.For information and reservations to the Snowmass Wine and Jazz Festival call 1-800-Snowmass or (970) 379-6577.Kelly J. Hayes lives in the soon-to-be designated appellation of Old Snowmass with his wife, Linda, and a black Lab named Vino. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.