Libations: It’s the freakin’ Snowmass Wine Festival |

Libations: It’s the freakin’ Snowmass Wine Festival

An empty wine glass shows signs of numerous red wine pours at the 17th annual Snowmass Wine Fest on Saturday, September 14, 2019. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Full disclosure: I do not consider myself a wine person.

My mom is. My grandma is. Some of the people I hung out with in college were. But ever since I stole a few sips in my early teens to see what the big deal was, I vowed to keep my distance. Wine was NOT anything remotely related to the Welch’s grape juice I drank every morning before school. It was bitter acid water I wanted nothing to do with.

But kids grow up and on Sept. 14 about a decade later, I broke my childhood vow and went to the 17th annual Rotary of Snowmass Wine Festival.

Maybe it was the desire to try something new or to meet new people in my new home or to just see if all wine festivals are like the freakin’ Catalina Wine Mixer.

Whatever the reason, I found myself in Snowmass Town Park at 1:45 p.m. gripping a brand new wine glass in one fist and my reporter’s notebook in the other, ready to give wine a chance.

Here are some of the kinds I tried according to my notebook. I’m not even going to try to pretend I know what “full-bodied” or “blended” means when it comes to wine, so consider this a full-blind tasting:

• Chardonnay from Napa Valley California (Smells like wine, tastes like cider)

• Pinot noir from Monterey Wine Country, again from California (I like this I think)

• French Bourgogne (Sweetish? Mostly tasteless)

• French Canard-Duchene Champagne (Super fizz)

• Another Napa Valley wine, this time red, called the Lion Tamer. (Kind of spicy)

• A pinot noir called “Fog’s Reach,” again from Cali (Cool name)

• Francis Ford Coppola pinot grigio (Kind of into the grigios)

• “Dueling Pistols” Petite Sirah and cabernet sauvignon (Cool name, cooler label)

• A Kobrand wine called Les Cassagnes (My handwriting gets really sloppy here)

• A wine from Italy where grapes were mixed in with wine made two months earlier so it was double-fermented.

• Some sort of white wine called “True Myth”

• At least two or three or more indecipherable and undocumented varieties

As painfully clear by my wine list, I had no rhyme or reason to the tasting choices I made. I mostly looked for distributers who seemed like they had a story to tell and picked out pretty-labeled bottles or cool names that made me feel sophisticated when I said them. And I’m not going to pretend I didn’t get sick after trying them all, either. Sorry, RFTA.

Overall, the Snowmass Wine Festival was everything an ignorant wine person could have ever hoped for. The weather was beautiful, the people-watching fantastic (I met a man with a paintbrush tucked in one of the button holes of his shirt just because and saw more than one couple dressed to match), delicious food everywhere and the wine was, well, pretty good for someone who knows nothing about the adult beverage.

So to anyone out there who doesn’t believe in fermented grapes, give the Snowmass Wine Festival a try. You might surprise yourself and end up becoming a wine person after all.

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