Last weekend, we were the comped guests of The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey
, who were holding their annual Winemaker's Dinner
for the first time in conjunction with the Royal Gorge Route Railroad
The dinner was just one part of the Harvest Fest
weekend, which included lots of live music on the winery grounds; book, poster and bottle signings; and of course, vino galore.
On the train, we were treated to eight, wine-paired courses, a couple of which are pictured and described below. Of those wines, some were quite special, such as the 2010 Colorado Syrah
, of which only 405 cases were produced.
Principal owner of the winery since late 2005, Larry Oddo
, says that of the five competitions that particular wine was entered into, it earned three separate double-gold medals, including a best-of-class nod.
Though the 2013 Colorado Governor's Cup
and Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
were nice to pull awards from, Oddo says he's most proud of the Taster's Guild International Wine Competition
recognition because "it's not just wine critics judging — it's restaurateurs and sommeliers — it's like the People's Choice award versus the Academy Award ... and we're going against a lot of the top U.S. wineries."
Plus, he notes that the fight to prove to the nation and world that Colorado-produced wine can be fantastic is never-ending. Though, he concedes, some of the problem is we're "shooting ourselves in the foot with over 100 wineries but only about a dozen that treat them like real businesses ... for every great one, there's three to four middling, and people buy them at a cheap price point and think that that's the entire Colorado wine industry."
For their part, the Abbey produced around 11,000 cases of wine this past year, down a couple thousand cases from pre-recession days. They were also impacted by the Royal Gorge Fire back in June — usually one of the winery's busiest sales months in the tasting room.
But no cloud of that difficulty hung over the scenic wine-train ride on Friday evening. Take a look for yourself:
Oddo says the train's owners were in attendance and "over the moon" with the whole evening, calling it "by-far the most special evening they've had on the train." All of which is to say you can likely expect next year's Winemaker's Dinner to be riding the rails once again. A fine wine pairing has been made.