Wine doesn’t instantly come to mind when one thinks of Fort Collins, but since opening last November, Blue Skies Winery has continuously churned out new bottles.
“We’ve gone through all of our reds and whites twice over,” said co-owner Pat Akin. “It’s been well received.”
One would also think Colorado’s less than ideal climate for growing grapes would be an issue. However, this is not the case for them. Rather the rely on a local vineyard, Pat and his wife Kate purchase grapes from around the country. Once shipped, the wine-making begins.
“Our process is pretty simple — it’s all manual,” Kate said. “We make it like a home winemaker would, but then we add oak. We don’t have the space for big oak casks, but by adding American oak or French oak we can still get the flavor we want.”
Dan Korte helps them make the wine and has been doing so for a while.
“Once we start fermentation in the bucket,” Korte said, “we get it off the yeast and transfer it to a car boy.”
After it ferments in the glass container just the way they want it, it’s ready to be bottled. Like making most food and drink, it’s the personal touches that differentiates and heightens the ingredients.
“You can give several winemakers the same grape and they’ll all make wines that taste a little bit different,” Kate said.
Look forward to Barbera wine coming soon, a green apple Riesling later in the month and a Viognier arriving in April. Port and other dessert wines should appear later in the year.
Pair with: Extra Aged Gouda
This is a very dry white that finishes with slight acidic grapefruit notes. When paired with the gouda from the cheese plate, silky buttery and butterscotch flavors in the wine become more pronounced.
Pair with: Grana Padano
A dry red with smoky and spicy flavors, Tempranillo is complex and earthy. Grana Padano is a salty hard cheese much like Parmesan Reggiano that could go well with red or white wines. When combined with the Tempranillo, it elevates the wine’s flavors without overpowering them.
Black Cherry Pinot Noir
Pair with: Raspberry Bellavitano
Besides offering dry whites and reds, Blue Skies Winery makes sweet fruit blends of both. The Black Cherry Pinot Noir balances the black cherry and grapes perfectly and has a wonderful fresh-pressed taste. The creamy raspberry cheese brings out the berry flavors even more while introducing a hint of hazelnut. If you still don’t know what to try, the Malbec is Kate’s, and many customer’s, favorite.
Collegian Entertainment Reporter Jefferson Geiger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.