Wines of Colorado Review
Address: 8045 W. US Hwy 24 Cascade,Colorado 80809.
Phone Number: 719-684-0900
Tasting Hours: May-Sep 10:30-8:30, Oct-Apr 10:30-8:00
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 1/22/2013
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Visiting The Wines of Colorado is an incredibly unique experience. Even after being prepped by a local, I was in no way prepared for the eclectic atmosphere and variety of food and wine that this combination restaurant and wine tasting extravaganza has to offer.
The Place:  From the outside, The Wines of Colorado doesnt bear any resemblance to a winery, wine bar, or even a restaurant, at least not to my Texas tourists eye. We actually passed it the first time; I saw the sign, but said, That looks like a gas station it cant be it! But, after a little argument with the GPS, we ended up in the parking lot, and prepared to experience the Wines at their best.
The Experience: As mentioned, the facility doesnt look like much from the outside. Fortunately our local friend has visited The Wines of Colorado in the summer season, knew about the creekside dining area, and took the time to point it out to us. It was below freezing for our visit in January, but a glimpse into the creekside portion of the facility made me want to come back in July so I could truly experience all the location has to offer. I have no doubt that the creekside area is lovely when there isnt snow on the ground!
As it was, it was cold, so we went inside to find a facility that is part restaurant, part gift shop, part wine retail store, and part huge bar that offers a taste of seemingly every wine Colorado has to offer. The place has an eclectic but homey feel; going into the gift shop, one gets a sense that there are a lot of wine-themed treasures to be discovered. The extensive shelves and racks of wine bottles leave no doubt that you can go home with multiple bottles of whatever you happen to like. I particularly appreciated the shuttered doors leading to the restrooms, decorated mural-style with the slogan In Vino Veritas and a likeness of a mustached man who must be Marv Parliament, the owner.
The People:  He didnt introduce himself, but Im guessing the affable gentleman behind the bar was the aforementioned Marv himself. Approaching the bar, one is greeted not only by Marv, but by between 25 and 30 open bottles of wine, standing at attention in a semicircle, just waiting to be tasted and enjoyed. I practically swooned. Actually, I think I clapped my hands.
The Wines of Colorado is also a restaurant; the creekside dining area being closed for the winter, we ate in the patio area, which was fortunately quite enclosed. Our server, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, suggested a cheese plate that frankly could have fed a person for lunch, then recommended buffalo burgers and lasagna that were both delicious. She was personable, prompt, and well versed in the menu.
The Wines:  The barmaster asked about my tastes in wine, and upon learning I like drier, spicy reds, he poured samples of Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and whatever else I desired. After several free tastes tastes seem to be free in Colorado I ended up with a Cabernet from The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey. As is the method at The Wines of Colorado, you ask for a glass of your choosing from among the myriad selections at the bar, and it miraculously arrives at your table. The cabernet from Holy Cross was a touch spicy, smooth, and well balanced; not only did it cause me to ask for the Holy Cross Merlot for my second glass, but it made me wish we had more time in Colorado to go to Canon City and visit the winery. The Merlot, too, was quite excellent.
My boyfriend went through the same tasting routine at the bar and selected a glass of Boulder Creek Cabernet Sauvignon. He said it was fabulous; incidentally, it was the first taste the bartender handed him, and he said nothing else compared to it. I had a taste and it was indeed quite good, although I still preferred my Holy Cross. I still regret not trying to haul a bottle of Holy Cross home in my suitcase.
When asked about the wine selection, the barmaster said it changes all the time. So I have a feeling that if I went back in a month or two I could have an entirely different tasting experience but I am quite sure it would be just as fabulous. Perhaps in the summer I would try some whites.
Insider’s Tip:  All the wine seems to be $5.95 a glass, which by my standards is an excellent deal. As mentioned previously, creekside dining is available in warmer months, which I never would have realized if I hadnt visited with a local. And the buffalo burgers are to die for.