Grape destinations

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Grape destinations

Local wine establishments offer unique options for oenophiles
At left, Dolph Kuss, Sabina Kuss and Renèe Felix head to another establishment on the First Thursday Art Walk, while, at right, Shaun Loveless and Bridget Hall enjoy an early evening at Eno, 723 East Second Ave.
Dean Fagner, owner of Four Leaves Winery, looks at a glass of pinot grigio as he tastes the aging wine in the back room of the winery.
At Four Leaves Winery, where Hillary Smith works, customers can make their own wine.
Jesse Ogle, playing the guitar, and Ashley Edwards, of AC JC band, perform at Four Leaves Winery, Durango’s newest wine establishment.
Jason Blankenship, a former chef at Kennebec Cafe, opened Olio, at 114 West Grand Ave., in Mancos.
Try these favorite finds for wine

Wine bars, tasting rooms, make-your-own – Durango is holding up its end of the national trend embracing all things wine.

Before you head out on a tasting adventure, a few things to note: Wine bars offer wines by the glass from a variety of makers, as well as bottles to buy and share. Most also provide some form of snacks, although that can range from a bowl of nuts or olives to a full-scale meal.

Tasting rooms offer both wines by the glass and bottles to buy or drink there, but they represent a single winery. So whether you’re ordering a chardonnay or a syrah, the same vintner is making the wine and the grapes are most likely grown in one region.

Four Leaves is the only winery in town that makes its own wine on the spot and ages it for less than three months in plastic bins (most wines are aged in the barrel at least 18 months). Regardless of how big a wine might be, it will always be young, somewhat similar to a Beaujolais nouveau.

Local fine dining restaurants also offer extensive by-the-glass pours and some of the best bottles in town, so don’t leave them out when you’re in the mood for a glass of your favorite.

Herewith, a list of wine-preferred establishments in our area:



Wine bars



Eno, 723 East Second Ave., 385-0105. Chic, sunny little coffee bar, tapas bar and wine bar open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wines are eclectic and span the globe, from Argentina to France to California. At least 20 choices are available by the glass. Eno also offers interesting cocktail specials like the Bergamot Palmer, made with Earl Grey vodka. Besides being a nice place to nab a glass of wine, it’s also a perfect place to check your emails over a cup of tea or a snack between appointments.

Jean-Pierre Bakery and Wine Bar, 601 Main Ave., 385-0122. A giant copper bar stuffed into a small dining room and an enormous old wooden table in a second room comprise the wine bar portion of Jean-Pierre Bléger’s enterprise. He offers six wines by the glass, plus a much larger selection of affordable bottles, primarily from France and California. Bring a group of friends, reserve the wine tasting room, order a bottle and a large cheese tray and the evening is yours.

Olio, 114 West Grand Ave., Mancos, 533-1381. An eight-table wine-bar-cum-restaurant 30 minutes west of town (it’s a spectacular drive) waits for you in Mancos. Jason Blankenship, the professionally trained chef and owner, is well-versed in pairing wine with food and considers that his raison d’être in this one-man operation. He likes the Lacryma Christi, a complex white, but I say give the luscious, red La Mondianese from the Italian Piedmont a whirl. You won’t be disappointed.



Tasting rooms



Sutcliffe Vineyards, corner of College Drive and Main Avenue, 382-0090. This highly rated Colorado winery offers its reasonably priced wines by the bottle or the glass in a small but cute room. (Check out the kitschy banner of Southwest beauties complete with hats and garlands as you walk in.) Grab a table on the people-watching patio fronting Durango’s busiest corner, order up a glass of the dry riesling and watch summer slip away.

Four Leaves Winery, 528 Main Ave., 403-8182. Come in for a sip of the blackberry merlot, a sweet fruit wine, or try the Spanish tempranillo, both of them made in the back room on site. You can make your own wine, too, in half or whole batches for as little as $200.



Two more



Cocktails and Creations, 858 Main Ave., 764-4296. Another novelty for our town, paint a masterpiece and drink wine while you do it. A new twist on the traditional art class, who doesn’t find inspiration in a glass of good wine and an evening of good friends?

Rochester Hotel and Bar with patio, 726 East Second Ave., 385-1920. A bar with a wine bar/coffeehouse feel and the most accommodating bartenders in town. Open a bottle of wine reserved for bottle sales to pour by the glass? Sure. Transfer your drinks to the outside patio because the weather is fine? Sure. Split a bill 10 ways? No problem. It’s the most relaxing, unfussy, laid-back place in town to meet friends for a glass of wine or a cocktail and listen to live music on Wednesdays or just the birds, if you prefer, any other night.



phasterok@durangoherald.com

Grape destinations

At left, Dolph Kuss, Sabina Kuss and Renèe Felix head to another establishment on the First Thursday Art Walk, while, at right, Shaun Loveless and Bridget Hall enjoy an early evening at Eno, 723 East Second Ave.
Dean Fagner, owner of Four Leaves Winery, looks at a glass of pinot grigio as he tastes the aging wine in the back room of the winery.
At Four Leaves Winery, where Hillary Smith works, customers can make their own wine.
Jesse Ogle, playing the guitar, and Ashley Edwards, of AC JC band, perform at Four Leaves Winery, Durango’s newest wine establishment.
Jason Blankenship, a former chef at Kennebec Cafe, opened Olio, at 114 West Grand Ave., in Mancos.
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