To the uninitiated, a Winemaker dinner can sound like a stuffy affair of wine snobs, rich food and some guy walking around telling you how great his wine is. Well, sometimes they are like that, but not usually. Bacchus and Beery Wine Blog, as you might imagine, has attended many winemaker dinners but never one so fun, entertaining and interactive as the wine dinner and blending contest recently put on by Australia’s Mollydooker Wines at Morton’s Steakhouse in the Denver Tech Center. Let’s not call this a winemaker dinner, not even an event. It was more like a carnival of wine, in the best of ways.
Kelly Fleming is living the dream(s) that so many wine lovers share. First, to own a vineyard / winery and second to build a family business, in touch with nature, to be shared with her children.
In 1998, Kelly purchased 300 acres near Calistoga where today you will find a twelve acre vineyard next to her small yet beautifully designed winery tucked up against the hillside. From the private tasting room you look through glass doors into a 7,000 square foot limestone wine cave cut into the hill. Kelly, as you will see, is a hands-on vintner who has no problem with dirty boots and vineyard dust on her hands.
Bacchus and Beery Wine Blog had the opportunity to meet Kelly in the summer of 2011 to share wine and stories. Kelly is very down-to-earth with a casual elegance, much like her wines. Her easy style combined with her passion for wine made for a lovely Sunday afternoon visit far away from the frenetic pace of so many winery tasting rooms.
Kelly Fleming Wines produces only two varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. The first vintage was 2004. We enjoyed the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc’s beautiful balance with soft flavors of honeycomb, pear, pineapple, vanilla and honeydew melon. The Cabernet was well integrated with soft and supple tannins combined with flavors of dark cherry, dark berries, spice, and smoke with hints of cocoa and toasty vanilla.
The winery offers appointment tastings by contacting the winery. Elegant wines at a winery of understated elegance; Kelly Fleming Wines is a stop worth making.
B & B Wine Blog: Kelly, you are living the dream many of us have, to own our own winery. Tell us why you wanted to open a winery and how you made your dream into a reality.
KF:I wanted to continue to learn. Next I thought about my interest in food, wine and growing things. Once I found this land, the story evolved. First I was only thinking about planting grapes suited to the property. Once I got my hands dirty and spend time on the land, I was forever lost and consumed in farming. Once the grapes came, I contemplated the next step of wine production. After a few years of watching, I wanted to have the winemaking here in our control with our caring hands.
Earlier this summer Donna and I had the opportunity to spend a morning with winemaker Cathy Corison of Corison Winery. Cathy’s looks can be deceiving. She’s tiny, barley five feet tall, but exudes a modest confidence that raises her stature another foot.
We met Cathy a couple of months earlier at the CIA in St. Helena during her seminar for a bunch of wine writers on the attributes of great Cabernets. There is no question she knows her stuff in spades and is an excellent educator, in addition to being a superb winemaker.
Cathy Corison is a pioneer, entering the realm of winemaking at a time when few women were seen in the cellar. Obviously the 1970’s were a different time for women in male dominated workplaces but this petite powerhouse made it work. As you will see, even after a winemaker hired Cathy for her first crush/harvest she was fired by the winery owner before the job even started. She was too small and not tough enough for the physical rigors of the cellar, he believed. Persistent, that same winery hired Cathy back the next year.
Corison Winery is truly a family winery located on Hwy 29 near St. Helena. It is old Napa Valley, small and quaint. The tasting room, located in the winery’s barrel room, is open daily. Corison offers a personal experience that stands in striking contrast to the glitz and glamour, hustle and bustle of so many Napa wineries.
The Cabernet Sauvignon created by Corison Winery is aptly described as “power and elegance.” The same holds true for Cathy Corison herself. Please join us at our tasting in the top floor of the barn at Corison Winery overlooking the 40 year old Kronos cabernet vineyard.
The 2011 Wine Blog Awards were announced this weekend at the 2011 Wine Bloggers Conference held in Charlottesville, VA. The top Wine Blogs are nominated by the general public. A panel of judges selects the Wine Blog finalists. The winners are chosen by a combination of judge’s opinions and a public vote. These are all outstanding Wine Blogs and I encourage you to give them all a look.
Please make special note of Tom Wark’s Fermentation Blog which won both the Best Industry/Business Wine Blog and Best Overall Wine Blog. Tom has been a tireless fighter on behalf of wine consumers. He has led the battle against wine wholesalers who want to eliminate our rights to buy wines directly from our favorite wineries through their Congressional bill HR 1161 and other state legislation aimed at restricting the direct shipment of wine. Thanks Tom!
Congratulations to all winners…. Keep on Wine Blogging!
All Wine Blog Winners listed below:
Attention Colorado Wineauxs… Join Bacchus and Beery Wine Blog on July 23, 2011 at the 8th Annual Castle Rock WineFest… We attended a Colorado WineFest event last month and found some delicious Colorado Wines. Come out and support the Colorado Wine Industry…See all the details below.