Alfred Eames Cellars Hitting High Points

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Excepts from the Dec 2023 Forbes article by Tom Mullen.

During a recent trip within the U.S., the car’s GPS navigation system took me on an unexpected route between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Basalt, Colorado. It steered me through a small town named Paonia in western Colorado, where I happened to have spent time—decades ago—as an intern for an environmental newspaper. Wanting to see this town again I veered in. Remembering that this region apparently now has a reputation for producing wine, I parked outside a wine and liquor store and purchased some bottles.

The owner recommended a wine from Paonia that—earlier this year—had gained statewide recognition. This Alfred Eames Cellars 2019 Carmena won top prize of a ‘double gold’ in the 2023 Governor’s Cup Wine Collection winners. I bought that bottle, as well as a bottle of Eames Pinot Noir, and looked forward to tasting both.

Colorado Vineyard image

A week later in California, I opened the bottle of Alfred Eames Carmena with an Australian and American wine aficionado couple living in Santa Barbara. Both tasted it blindly, and considered it better than some of the more highly renowned European and American wines set before us.

Carmena is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Carmine grapes. Carmine is a cross betweeen Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carignan, and was created in 1946 by Doctor Olmos of the University of California as a cool coastal climate substitute for Cabernet Sauvignon. Carmine grapes produce a high tannin wine and are now grown along the east coast as well as in west coast regions of the U.S., as well as in the states of Michigan, Ohio and Colorado.

Colorado is a wine region to monitor during the coming years.

Alfred Eames Cellars. Carmena. Colorado. 2019. 95 points.

This wine produced in Paonia, Colorado, is unfined, unfiltered and fermented in open vats before being barrel aged in French oak. Delicate raspberry aromas and flavors of red plums, black peppers, persimmons and red licorice. Slick acidity, low key tannins.

Eames Pinot Noir image

Alfred Eames Cellars. Pinot Noir. Colorado. 2015. 93 – 94 points.

Unfined, unfiltered and fermented in open vats. Barrel aged in Frech oak. Aromas of red fruit such as raspberries as well as some gorse and tar. Delicate attack, raspberries mid palate and bright mint on the finish. A slightly tart but complex wine, somewhat dazzling with freshness and ripeness and subtle fruit flavors. Succulent acidity, soft and deft tannins. A subtle and seductive beauty. Pair with cheesecake, goat cheese or caviar.

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