Posts Tagged ‘Ruby Trust Cellars’

Ruby Trust Cellars – A message from the Winemaker

Ruby Trust Cellars is not your typical winery and neither are their wines, which is actually a good thing! Ruby Trust doesn’t have a tasting room, in fact just a production facility located near Happy Canyon Road and Santa Fe, south of Denver. Fortunately for us, owner Ray Bruening opens his doors to the public a few times a year allowing us to sample some of his delicious wines. I was lucky enough to stop by Ruby Trust’s open house a few weeks ago. Currently the winery only makes red blends and some of the names are Gunslinger, The Smuggler, Fortune Seeker, Bandit’s Pass and Stranglehold. Their wines are available in many liquor stores and restaurants throughout Colorado.

Who explains more about the wines than the winemaker? So I turn this blog over to winemaker, Braden Dodds and his thoughts on their 2013 release…..
Every vintage is unique, they say… and they are right. Each harvest since our first (2009) here at Ruby Trust has offered different challenges—and now, on the cusp of the release of our fifth vintage, I pause to briefly reflect on the factors that contributed to the wines of the 2013 vintage.

In my experience, the primary factor that contributes to the maturation of grapes in Colorado versus most other wine-producing regions of the world is the weather. “If you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes,” has long been a quip served up to out-of-state visitors by Coloradans; but for a winemaker, the uncertainty of changing weather patterns can be inordinately stressful. Such a scenario was never more evident than in the autumn of 2013: Dancing around the rain on one hand and the heat on the other on a daily basis made deciding on the optimal date to harvest the fruit extremely difficult.

Once all of the grapes were in, we were faced with the challenges of careful sorting, acute attention to fermentations, and the lengthy process (burning the midnight oil on many occasions) of determining our oak-aging program. By mid-November, the vintage was finally in barrel. With the brunt of the workload behind me, I was still unsure of what these children of 2013 would produce—all of the wines were “closed,” each one giving much less of itself in its early stages than any previous vintage.

If there is one thing that my partner, Ray, has taught me in our five years of nurturing the wines of Ruby Trust to fruition, it is patience. As a winemaker, I invariably want every wine I sample from barrel to put its best foot forward every day… and if it doesn’t, I feel a pressing need to change something. We had given so much to the raising of our offspring of the harvest, and we felt like we were receiving precious little in return. But like any of the progeny of Mother Nature, our 2013 vintage needed time to blossom. Our patience began to reap rewards when, after a year in barrel, the wines started to open up, revealing soft tannins, bright acidity, and rich, expressive fruit; the disparate elements were finally coming together. With more than ten harvests under our belt, I felt that this one had become the most rewarding. While bottling the wines several months ago, many of our regular volunteers scored 2013 as our best vintage yet! Neither Ray nor I could disagree.

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Winery Visit – Allis Ranch Winery

Allis Ranch Winery (and Ruby Trust Cellars) are the only two wineries in Colorado that can boast famed wine author and critic Robert Parker has tasted their wines.  So how did owner and winemaker of Allis Ranch, David Rhyne, get him to do the tasting?? Through a fund-raising event, David bought a ticket to enjoy dinner with Parker in September 2012 and boldly brought along his wine. Parker said he would taste the wine, but would be very honest about his findings. He was pleasantly surprised, impressed with a Colorado wine and actually tweeted about his thoughts! Yeah, Colorado and Allis Ranch!!

So what impressive wines is Allis Ranch producing?? Viognier, Grenache, Syrah and Rosé…all Rhone varietals and in the Rhone style of wine production. David believes that Colorado’s hot days, cool nights and altitude are similar to the Southern Rhone area of France. He cold soaks his grapes for 3 days (which extracts color) and uses a long maceration process to produce deep, inky dark red wines. He also believes his wines do best aging a long time in oak. He likes the French oak to bring out the vanilla and sweetness of the grapes and likes American oak to enhance the black pepper spice in his Syrah.

David uses Old World techniques to produce his wines, making big wines and then taming them down in oak. His philosophy is to “have the grapes’ express themselves naturally and believes in producing only high quality wine.”  All his grapes are sourced from the Western Slope of Colorado, and primarily from 3 vineyards. Viognier is the only white; his Margaret’s Rosé is dry; 2 Husky Syrah is named after his dogs – Allis and Strider; his Reserve Syrah is incredible; and the Grenache is top of the line and only 1 barrel is produced per year when the grapes are available.

What’s really cool about visiting Allis Ranch is the drive there from Sedalia and winding up at the tasting room, which is a 1910 Sears Roebuck “kit” home. It was brought by train to the area and then built in 1923. Allis Ranch is named after Pat Allis, who was the latest land owner. When she died in 1995 she sold the land to Colorado Open Lands, a non-profit, who divided the ranch into 10 – 35 acre lots with 440 acres of open space. David and his wife Margaret (who by the way is the wine labels’ creator) did some “swapping” for the kit home, totally refurbished it and now use it for the winery’s production facility and tasting room.

Allis Ranch Winery is by appointment only for groups of 10 or more, so get a group together and head out for a tasting of some incredibly delicious Colorado wines!!



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