Heard It Through the Grapevine

Six of Colorado’s 12 Master Sommeliers share their preferences.

Heard It Through the Grapevine


WAYNE BELDING Boulder, Author, Diving into Wine (divingintowine.com)

1. If you could drink only one wine (region or appellation) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
German Riesling. It hearkens back to traditions of long ago and now comes in many forms and styles with multiple layers of complexity.
2. Which wines are the most underrated or underappreciated?
Dry rosés in the summertime are sensationally good. Any good dry rosé from Provence is textured and wonderfully refreshing. But you have to drink them fresh. They don’t get better with age.
3. What’s your go-to wine when it comes to entertaining or impressing people?
Nebbiolos—a Barolo or Barbaresco—are among the more revelatory wines you can have. They tend to look older than they taste, so they have to age. A 20-year-old Barolo from a good producer unfolds beautifully.
4. What wine tops your bucket list?
Although I’ve had other vintages of it, a ’45 Mouton Rothschild would be something I’d go out of my way for. It’s one of the legends of the last 100 years.


BOBBY STUCKEY Boulder, Owner, Frasca Food & Wine

1. If you could drink only one wine (region or appellation) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Friuli-Venezia Giulia—the region that inspired Frasca Food and Wine
2. Which wines are the most underrated or underappreciated?
Sauvignon Blanc from Friuli. We often think of Sauvignon Blanc as the French varietal from the Loire Valley, but Sauvignon Blanc has been in the Collio and Colli Orientali since Napoleon.
3. What’s your go-to wine when it comes to entertaining or impressing people?
When I host a party, I always start with a magnum of Champagne. Krug is great for any season.
4. What wine tops your bucket list?
1985 Conterno Monfortino


BRETT ZIMMERMAN Boulder, Owner, Boulder Wine Merchant

1. If you could drink only one wine (region or appellation) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Burgundy. Even though the majority of the wines from this region are either Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, the styles vary tremendously based on village, producer, and vintage. It is always exciting to see what is released.
2. Which wines are the most underrated or underappreciated?
The wines of Germany. The quality of top Grosses Gewächs (Great Growth) wines is on par with the finest wines produced anywhere in the world.
3. What’s your go-to wine when it comes to entertaining or impressing people?
True Champagne. This area that suffers from a lack of American popularity, unless you are celebrating or hanging out in a VIP room of some Vegas club. The world of Champagne is so much better than it was 10 years ago, with a wide array of grower-produced wines available at lower prices than most of the big houses.
4. What wine tops your bucket list?
I would love to drink more wines from Henri Jayer. This late Vosne-Romanée producer was one of the greatest producers of Burgundy and responsible for influencing multiple generations of winemakers and wine drinkers. The limited number of his wines that still exist in the world today are unbelievably expensive.


BRANDON TEBBE Colorado Springs, Summit at The Broadmoor

1. If you could drink only one wine (region or appellation) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tuscany. Anything Sangiovese-based. Brunello, Chianti, Vino Nobile, etc. Particularly from the producers Montevertine, Poggio di Sotto, Selvapiana, Uccelliera, and Isole e Olena
2. Which wines are the most underrated or underappreciated?
Anything outside of the “normal.” Hungarian wines for instance—I currently serve Sauska Rosé from Villany, by the glass, and feature the Bordeaux blend “Cuvee 7” on my wine list. From Uruguay, the Parcela Unica Tannat wines from Bouza are amazing. So is the Bibich Wineries “G6” Grenache from Croatia.
3. What’s your go-to wine when it comes to entertaining or impressing people?
Typically I like to open a Barolo or Sangiovese. Favorites that come to mind are G.D. Vajra Barolo d’Albe or Elio Altare “Cerreta” Barolo, and for Sangiovese, Uccelliera Brunello di Montalcino or Frescobaldi “Vigneto Montesodi” Chianti Rufina Riserva. For whites, my go-to would either be a Chablis from Patrick Piuze or a Riesling from anywhere in Germany.
If my company prefers new world wines I would open Stonestreet “Christopher’s” Cabernet from Alexander Valley or perhaps Brick House Vineyards “Cuvée de Tonnelier” Pinot Noir from Ribbon Ridge within Willamette Valley, Oregon.
4. What wine tops your bucket list?
My bucket list wines are more about quality than price. But if I were to go for it? A Giacomo Conterno “Monfortino” Barolo Riserva.


SEAN RAZEE Beverage Director, Vail Resorts’ Mountain Dining Division

1. If you could drink only one wine (region or appellation) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This is the equivalent of asking a golfer to choose only one club to play with for the rest of their life! I’d choose Champagne—although this is kind of cheating because Champagne comes in a variety of styles from dry to sweet, white and rosé.
2. Which wines are the most underrated or underappreciated?
In the wine trade, our own domestic wines are often the most under-appreciated. We often get so excited about wines from outside our own neighborhood that we sometimes forget to enjoy what we have. Regions like Walla Walla, Washington; Eola-Amity Hills, Oregon; and Prichard Hill, California, often fall off the radar.
3. What’s your go-to wine when it comes to entertaining or impressing people?
For sheer “impressive” factor, I like to go with wines in large format bottles such as magnums (1.5 liters) or jeroboams (3.0 liter). But a super classy wine for entertaining is Vega Sicilia’s Valbuena, a Spanish wine from Ribera del Duero. Valbuena is richly fruited in the style of a new world producer, but maintains a rustic, spicy component.
4. What wine tops your bucket list?
In wine circles, we call extremely rare or obscure wines “unicorn wines”—as elusive as the mythical creature. I’ve been able to enjoy more than my fair share of these, but I prefer wines with a connection to history. Topping my list of wines is a French “war vintage” Burgundy, the 1945 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche. But at $15,000 bottle, I’ll need a lot of friends to join me!


JAY FLETCHER Executive Director of Fine Wine, Southern Wine and Spirits, Aspen

1. If you could drink only one wine (region or appellation) for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That would be boring! One of the great things about wine is variety. If I had to, I’d go with a white Burgundy, a Corton-Charlemagne.
2. Which wines are the most underrated or underappreciated?
Without a doubt, the wines of Germany. Until the 19th Century, wines from the Rinegau and Mosel were among the most sought-after in the world. They have vineyards that are 900 years old. Another underrated region is Mont Sant in Spain.
3. What’s your go-to wine when it comes to entertaining or impressing people?
A Premier Cru Bordeaux like Château Lafi te or Château Latour. Any DRC (Domaine de la Romanée Conti) but a Henri Jayer trumps a DRC.
4. What wine tops your bucket list?
One that has eluded me is a Portuguese still wine called Barca Velha.

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