Archive for October, 2012

Winery Visit – Spero Winery

Looking for something to do on a Saturday afternoon? Look no further….Spero Winery is the place you want to be! The winery’s tasting room is only open on Saturdays from 1 to 5 p.m. (or by appointment). On Saturdays the tasting  is free, and owners June and Clyde Spero are there to personally pour their delicious wines for you. They also offer complimentary cheeses, meats and crackers. When you drive into the residential neighborhood at 64th and Federal, and  see a warehouse looking building, you think…what?? But step inside the tasting room and you’ll experience a warm, friendly and very inviting atmosphere. June has decorated the tasting room with photography and tons of knickknacks.

June and Clyde’s backgrounds are immersed in Italian family traditions. Growing up in the farming community north of Denver, June began drinking wine as a child, although as June says, “it was more like a 7Up, and the alcohol percentage increased as you got older.” Clyde has been making wine his whole life, learning the craft from his father, who emigrated from Italy. Clyde’s roots are steeped in Muscat and Zinfandel, which was called “Dago Red.”  The Speros planted a vineyard in 1996 (which no longer exists), opened the winery in 1999, the tasting room in 2003, and because of all their success, Clyde retired in 2007 to be full-time at the winery. June says, “This is a labor of love for us, and we enjoy making our wines.”

Speaking of wines…Spero Winery makes 21 varieties of whites, reds and various blends. They produce their wines in the “Old World” tradition, which means big, bold reds that are barrel-aged longer than most wineries age their wines. This enables the wines to finish smoother. They obtain their grapes from the Western Slope and Pueblo, where 5 acres grow their hybrids for making Cayuga White and Chancellor, and the Muscat varietal. One thing you will notice different about Spero’s wines is its bottles. June and Clyde fell in love with this distinctive bottle, and through numerous efforts found a bottle broker in Italy to supply them. The bottle is called “Bellissima” and is taller, longer in neck and smaller in circumference than traditional wine bottles. Since the bottle is difficult to obtain, Spero offers a $1 refund per bottle.

A Saturday afternoon at Spero Winery is a must do for anyone’s “bucket list” providing an opportunity to taste truly  delicious wines!

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Winery Visit – Mountain Spirit Winery

Do you ever wonder how a winery chooses its label(s)? I do, because they are all so different, and some seem to catch our eye more quickly than others. In my opinion, Mountain Spirit Winery has one of the most beautiful labels! (see picture below). This Angel Blush label appears on their best selling wine, actually a fruit/grape blend that contains apple, pear and raspberry. Owners, Mike and Terry Barkett were the first winery in Colorado to produce a grape and fruit blended wine. This has now caught on, and several other wineries are producing this type of blend. Mountain Spirit uses no flavorings in their fruit wines, using only real fruit to blend with the grapes.

Mountain Spirit Winery was the 13th winery to open in Colorado – back in 1995. Mike and Terry received assistance and encouragement  from many people, most notably was Jim Seewald, who was a pioneer in the early Colorado wine industry. Even though the Barketts have been producing wine for years, they still have their “day jobs” – Mike as a practicing surgeon and after 8 years, former President of the State Board of Health and Terry has changed her career in the computer science/lab technician area for managing the Mountain Spirit Gallery and tasting room in Salida.

I asked Mike what would be the 3 words to describe his wine operation, and he said, “Cleanliness, sterility and high quality.”  I guess Mike and Terry’s clinical backgrounds are brought into their winemaking art!  When the Barketts built their winery just north of Salida, they were the only ones with temperature controlled fermenting. This enables them to control each tank’s temperature to keep fermentation below 60 degrees, which allows for slower fermentation. Mountain Spirit Winery sits on 5-acres of farmland, and includes fruit orchards and an old homestead house. The surrounding 14,000′ mountains offer incredible views.

Stop by their winery to sample their wines, which have won over 50 national and international awards.

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