Smart wine buys from local experts


Boulder County has one of the highest concentrations of Master Sommeliers, the highest designation a wine expert can achieve and which is procured only after years of wine study and tasting. We picked their brains — and the thoughts of some other local wine experts — to find out what wines, grapes and regions we should be buying, drinking and cellaring now.

Wines under $20

Bedrock Wine Company, Shebang Old-Vine Red Cuvée XI ($15.99). Shebang! This is delicious! It’s from a California winery (Bedrock Wine Company) that focuses on old vine wines from heritage vineyards. Having grown up in Sonoma at the Ravenswood winery, Morgan Twain-Peterson is one of the top young talents in the winemaking world. He is known for making thoughtfully crafted wines from old vineyards in California. The Shebang is an attractive admixture of syrah, zinfandel and cabernet sauvignon with a soupçon of sangiovese. A blend of harvests, the Shebang is big, rich and oh-so-smooth. Laden with black cherry and blueberry fruits, it enchants the taste buds with its creamy texture and nuances of vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa and black pepper. Fire up the grill and cook up your favorite meat, fish or vegetable and enjoy a bottle of Shebang. — Brett Zimmerman, Master Sommelier (MS), Boulder Wine Merchant

Mas de Libian’s Vin de Pétanque ($15). From near Orange, France, this bio-dynamic winery offers some of the Rhone’s best kept secrets for everyday wines of character. Largely grenache, the Vin de Pétanque is an energetic summer red with bright red fruit that doesn’t mind a chill on a hot summer day. This could be the perfect BBQ wine for summer, and with “pétanque” being the French version of bocce, this bottle might actually be specifically designed to come along for a yard game or two in an outdoor-friendly glass. — Will Frischkorn, Cured

Badenhorst Family Vineyards Secateurs Swartland Chenin Blanc 2017 ($15). South Africa has more chenin blanc planted than any other wine-growing country. Quality-conscious producers like Adi Badenhorst seek out old chenin vineyards in the vast sweep of vineyard land north of Capetown that is known as Swartland. The Secateurs Chenin combines exotic aromas with layers of flavor and a rich texture that invites you to take another sip. — Wayne Belding, MS

Wines to buy now

Chianti Classico. Here is a region that while it has been around forever, the price-to-quality ratio has never been better in a market where even mediocre wines of other regions are getting far more dollars per bottle. — Bobby Stuckey, MS, Frasca Food and Wine

Grenache. I’m particularly partial to what I’ve always called the warm climate analogy of pinot noir. Light in color, heavy in character, it always delivers the goods; soft, sexy and seductive. Look for examples grown in sand from Madrid, Australia and California. — Richard Betts, MS, An Approach To Relaxation

Wines for the cellar

Carabella Eve’s Garden Pinot Noir. Carabella is owned by Michael and Cara Hallock who are ex-Coloradans. Michael, being a geologist, searched throughout the Oregon hills for just the right vineyard site. They moved in 1998 to the hills east of the Willamette Valley, which is outside of the traditional pinot noir growing sites. This is a delicious, elegant pinot noir that I will be very tempted to drink soon but could just as easily age for a few more years. — Sally Mohr, MS, Advanced Sake Professional

1999 Chateau Musar Rouge. Chateau Musar is one of my favorite underrated producers from the Bekka Valley in Lebanon and they produce Bordeaux-style wines that are blends of cinsault, carignan and cabernet sauvignon. Founded in 1930, they are certified organic and have only missed two vintages due to warfare. — Sarah Strasser, Wine Buyer, B Town Wine + Spirits

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