Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu September 29 2016

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  • A Cruising Couple | September 29, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Palisade, CO: A Wine Lover’s Escape

    Palisade, CO: A Wine Lover’s Escape

    Think of wine country and chances are the first images to come to mind aren’t those of an arid desert in the middle of the United States. However, visit western Colorado, and that’s exactly what you’ll find: expansive green vineyards surprisingly set among towering rocky cliffs.

    Palisade Colorado Wine Country

    While there are a few different places that produce wine in Colorado, it’s the quaint town of Palisade in the Grand Valley that is perhaps the most famous. Here, the dry air, cool nights and artesian wells provide the perfect conditions for the award-winning wines the region produces, including Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

    You’ll find dozens of small, family-run vineyards and wineries throughout the Palisade area. The best way to experience them all is with a visit to the annual Colorado Mountain WineFest, typically taking place in mid-September. However, if you’re like us and aren’t so lucky to visit during this exact weekend, your next best bet is to save a few days in your Colorado itinerary to pack in as many tastings as possible.

    Here are three of our favorite vineyards we visited to get you started:

    Colterris Wines

    Colterris Wines in Palisade Colorado

    This first vineyard we stumbled upon was also one of our favorites. The volcanic soils of the Grand Mesa as well as the vineyard’s location near the Colorado River largely contribute to the robust, fruity wines that have earned Colterris numerous awards.

    Colterris primarily produces red wines, including Cabernet Franc and Malbec. However, the highlight of our tasting was the White Cabernet Sauvignon, a delightfully fresh wine with slight floral notes. It’s the perfect bottle to savor outside on the patio while enjoying the unique scenery. The tasting room also sells cheese, crackers and a variety of local peach products to go along with your tasting.

    Plum Creek Winery

    Plum Creek is not only one of the best-known wineries in Palisade, but it’s also one of the oldest. (It currently holds the oldest winery license in the state.) Plum Creek wines “aim at capturing the fruit essence of each varietal,” and use only grapes native to Colorado. Many of the wines are quite sweet, but without the typical syrupy quality of most dessert wines.

    Plum Creek Wine in Palisade, Colorado

    We opted to try a full tasting of all 13 Plum Creek wines on offer, and our favorite across the board was the full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. For those who prefer white, the award-winning Riesling is always a crowd favorite.

    READ MORE: Discover the World's Best Wine Routes

    Maison La Belle Vie

    Maison La Belle Vie Winery Palisade, Colorado

    If you can’t travel all the way to the south of France, then a visit to this winery just might be the next best thing. Owner John Barbier grew up in the Loire Valley and incorporates his family’s 150 years of wine production experience to effectively grow some of the best grapes in the unique Colorado landscape.

    The tasting room and winery grounds are beautiful, reflecting the minimalism, which Maison La Belle Vie prioritizes. Tastings are complimentary with the purchase of a bottle — the hard part is leaving with just one! If it’s available then don’t miss the chance to try the 2014 Petit Verdot, a fantastic wine aged for 17 months in toasted French oak barrels. This limited production goes quickly for good reason!

    Maison La Belle Vie Tasting Room Palisade Colorado

    Where To Stay

    After an afternoon of leisurely wine tastings, retreat to the quaintly named Wine Country Inn, a lovely (though large) bed and breakfast nestled amid the vineyards and within walking distance to many of the area wineries. Daily wine tasting and breakfast are included.

    Though unexpected, Palisade proved to be a perfect wine tasting escape. We love exploring unique wineries in off the beaten track locales. What interesting wine destinations have you experienced? 

More Colorado


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A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
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