West Elks Wine

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The West Elks region, Colorado’s second AVA, boasts the highest vineyards in the northern hemisphere, at just over 6400 feet—and you have to go up and over an 11,000-foot pass in the Rockies to get there. By comparision, the highest vineyards in the world—at the moment—are in Argentina in the northern Andes planted at an elevation of 7,000-plus feet. There are only a handful of wineries in this AVA as of yet, but they are producing some exciting wines. This elevation produces some scintillating Riesling and Gewurztraminer. These aromatic styles of wine are generally are made with some residual sugar left in the wine but acidity levels are high which make an excellent counterpoint to sweetness.

More intriguing perhaps is the potential for Pinot Noir. Alfred Eames, whose winery is just south of the town of Paonia, grows Pinot at an altitude of some 5400 feet, getting good color and intensity of character and vibrant richness. These are not the fruit bombs of California’s biggest Pinots, but that Read more »

Varietals Produced in West Elks View all

  • Pinot Noir

    “With so voluptuous a perfume, so sweet an edge, they make the blood run hot,” Joel Fleischman, wine columnist at Van...

  • Gewürztraminer

    Gewürztraminer’s direct and obvious charm has made it a popular varietal in almost every corner of the wine world. Ex...

  • Cabernet Sauvignon

    “King of the Red Wine Grapes.” The colonizer of the vineyards, pushing native wine grapes into its shadows. The Caber...

  • Syrah

    The irony here is that Syrah’s origins could give Carmen Sandiego a run for her international wallet. Syrah’s deepest...

  • Chardonnay

    British wine writer and critic, Jancis Robinson, once noted that throughout the 80’s and 90’s in the United States, C...

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