Hospitality industry professional Leo Bortolotto has worked in the realm of fine wine and food for more than a decade. He spent several years in Europe learning the finer points of pairing European cuisine with the ideal complement of wine. He shared his passion for the culture by leading rafts of tourists in exploring renown and rare Italian wineries. Leo’s decision to relocate to his adopted home of Denver, Colorado was with the intention of realizing his vision for an eclectic and customer-focused wine boutique. This venture, a retail wine shop in the Lower Highland community of downtown Denver, is a journey every wine lover must make.
Website URL: http://www.amendment21wines.com
"This 135-acre estate (all in the famed La Crau) has produced a 2009 Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape composed of 65% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and the rest other authorized varietals (from vines that average 60 years of age). The wine is aged 18 months in foudres and concrete tanks. This classic offering had just been bottled before my visit, so it was probably tighter than it will be in 6-12 months. Deep ruby/purple-colored with notes of garrigue, seaweed, licorice, plums, black cherries and raspberries, it typically reveals a Mediterranean sea breeze-like character that is difficult to articulate. The sweetness of the tannin, full-bodied mouthfeel, and evolved style remind me somewhat of the 1983, which is still drinking beautifully. The 2009 can be consumed now or cellared for two decades."
- Robert Parker, 92 points
The region of Abruzzo is found in Italy’s deep south on the Adriatic coast. The region is comprised of extremely mountainous terrain with the Apennine range reaching up to 9000 feet above sea level. The hillside vineyards planted on calcareous clay benefit from warm and significant sun exposure that is ventilated by dry breezes coming off the Adriatic.
The wine coats your glass with a dark and inky quality, producing voluptuous legs which take their time in reaching the bottom of the glass. Black fruit, plums, cedar, and black licorice aromas abound. This robust wine coats your palate with firm, yet approachable tannins. Try pairing it with lamb, grilled sausage, pasta with meat sauce, and pizza.
Monterey County lies directly in the center of the California coast. This microclimate is influenced mainly by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean; cool coastal breezes are ideal for the development of delicate grape varieties, such as Pinot Noir.
This Pinot Noir opens with a bright lavender color. A quick swirl of the glass will release equally bright and fragrant aromas of blueberries, blackberries, and potpourri. The palate is soft with sturdy acid and fruit-driven flavors of red fruit, berries, and baking spice.
Chablis lies in the northernmost wine-making region of Burgundy, very near to Champagne. Part of the continental climate zone, this region is cooler, a bit more harsh, and the soils are comprised of limestone and chalk. Here chardonnay is made in a fresh and vibrant style with very little or no oak aging. This results in wines with high levels of acidity, less fruit flavors, and a more “steely” characteristic.
This Chablis from Simonnet Febvre offers a light straw color with hints of green, indicating its cool climate origin. Bright aromas of lemon peel, fresh white flowers, and sea water abound. The wine’s acidity is racy and sharp, both stimulating and cleansing your palate. This Chablis would pair perfectly with lobster, vegetarian dishes, oysters, clams, fried appetizers, bass, grilled chicken, and tuna.
‘Ventoux’ refers to a grand mountain found in Provence in southern France that marks the divide between the Rhone and Provence regions. Vineyard sites surround the lower hillsides and produce wonderful blends of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre.
This blend of 80% grenache and 20% syrah from the Paul Jaboulet Aine label offers an enticing crimson color with hints of brick red along the sides of your glass. Aromas of red berries, forest underbrush, and garrigue rise from the glass. Tart red fruit flavors abound along with more earthy elements of wet stone. The finish carries just a touch of spice and licorice. Try this red with game meats, barbecued dishes, duck, sausage, salami, and hard, sharp cheeses.
At the Starmont Winery, located on one of the first vineyards established in Napa, precision is the name of the game. Completely powered by photovoltaic panels, its winemakers conduct a fine-tuned, energy efficient production process that controls for temperature and humidity using ecologically passive methods.
The very approachable 2008 vintage was meticulously crafted through this process and the result is sophisticated, but also relaxed. It piques your interest with some zin-like jamminess that is tempered by cassis, fresh blackberry and what the winemakers identify as “baked pastry notes.” The tannins are soft and velvety -- the wine drapes itself over your palate. This is one cab that can easily fly solo. Make it your first fireside wine this fall.
The 2008 vintage was awarded 89 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.
The DeRose vineyards are situated in the little-known Ciniega Valley, part of California’s Central Coast wine appellation and directly on the San Andreas fault. This creates a split geologic profile, where the soil from one side contains limestone and the other sandstone. This zin is sourced from vineyards with both characteristics and vines well over a century old. Old vines tend to produce less fruit, so more of the good stuff goes into each grape.
The wine is brimming over with big berry-cherry jamminess, but give it a few moments and it displays some underlying vanilla and black pepper. It is on the medium-body side of the zin spectrum, which still makes it heavy by many other grapes’ standards. An ideal accompaniment to the heartiest Italian fair. $22.99
The ruby-hued Hawthorn Pinot Noir pulls you in with an enticing stewed strawberry nose. This pinot noir is a product of Willamette Valley, Oregon, which has become a celebrated appellation for that variety. Pinot noir is a cool climate loving grape, and Willamette’s mellow temperament doesn’t disappoint it -- the appellation is world famous for excellent expressions of a grape that can be very delicate to work with.
Along with overtones of cooked fruit and rhubarb, the palate displays subtler notes of the grape’s typical earthiness. This wine, like many pinots, is fun to explore on its own, but can be further enjoyed with roast duck or lamb. $18.00
"Where is Leo Drinking?"
Win a free bottle of wine!
Every two weeks a photo of Leo drinking Amendment XXI wine will be featured on Amendment XXI's Facebook page. To enter the contest, simply comment on the photo with your best guess as to where Leo is drinking, be as specific as you can! The entrant with the best descriptive answer will be awarded a bottle of Amendment XXI. If there are several applicants with the correct answer, a winner will be randomly selected from that pool.
The winner will be announced via Facebook two weeks after the photo's original air date. We will publicize the winner's name along with the original hosted photo and a wide angle version of the photo allowing everyone to see where he was.
If you have been mentioned in Amendment XXI's Facebook post, you're the winner! In order to redeem your prize, stop into Amendment XXI and present your I.D. to verify you were the profile linked to the winner of the contest. The store is located at: 2548 15th Street, Denver, CO 80211. The store hours are: Mon – Wed: 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. | Thu – Sat: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. | Sunday: 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
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"Established in 1978, Pine Ridge Vineyards produces classically proportioned, expressive wines that embody their history and distinct place of origin.
Pine Ridge founder Gary Andrus, inspired by the illustrious wines of Bordeaux, believed in the Napa Valley's potential to produce wines of similar stature. He planted the property's original namesake vineyard on a steeply terraced hillside flanked by a dramatic ridgeline of pine trees in the Stags Leap District."
This bold Napa Valley Cabernet delivers complex aromas of opulent dark fruit such as cassis, ripe plum, and blackberry liqeuer. The palate echoes the seductivess of the nose with earthy
elements of cedar box, minty chocolate, and mocha. Lush tannins deliver a textured, mouthcoating finish of roasted espresso and black cherry. This wine can easily add another 8 to 10 years of aging.
The 2009 vintage received 90 points from the Wine Advocate