If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, Verso Cellars is your winery! Owner and winemaker, Paul Phillips says, “I like Cabs so that’s why I only make that variety.” And for 10+ years he has been doing that exceptionally well. Paul began his operation by researching Cabernet grapes from nurseries all over the world, and discovered there are over 2,000 different Cab grape varieties. He wondered “what ones do I choose for my wine?” I must admit, that in listening to Paul tell me about the varieties, I was overwhelmed and fairly confused, so I give Paul a lot of credit to have figured this all out! But he did, and in 2001 he planted 6 different Cab clones in Orchard Mesa, and his journey began. In 2008 he sold his 2,200 vines on 15 acres, but the grapes for his wines still come from the orchard there.
Paul ages all his wine in French oak. For his production, he uses 1/3 new barrels, 1/3 one year old barrels and 1/3 two year old barrels. A delicious “food wine” is Paul’s goal, and he lets the weather dictate what happens to the grapes, usually harvesting a few weeks later than many of the other growers.
In addition to making wine, Paul also teaches classes on cheese making. He makes an acid-based cheese (ricotta) and a rennet-based cheese (mozzarella). An acid-based cheese uses vinegar or lemon juice with milk, while a rennet-based cheese uses extracts from a cow’s stomach (there is also a vegetarian or plant-based rennet) to mix with milk. The mozzarella cheese making method gets involved with curds and whey and is a little more involved than making ricotta. You will have to take Paul’s class to learn all about it!
Verso Cellars is also part of Colorado Winery Row, which is located at 46th and Pecos in Denver (just off I-70). Together with the other wineries – Bonacquisti, Garfield Estates and Cottonwood Cellars, they are open for tasting Thursday through Saturday afternoons. They also hold several events during the year. On September 21 from 5-8 p.m. their monthly “Friday Uncorked” is happening, which features a local band, cuisine from various food trucks, and of course, wine tasting. I will be part of their festivities as well, and will be selling and signing my book – Exploring Colorado Wineries.
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