Friday, December 3, 2010

Wine Country International: Wonderful wine books for the holidays!

Wine Country International Magazine's
Wonderful wine books for the holidays
By Christopher J. Davies


Exploring Wine: The Culinary Institute of America's Guide to Wines of the World, Completely Revised 3rd Edition

Authors: Steven Kolpan, Brian H. Smith, Michael A. Weiss
Rating: Must read!
Format: Hardcover, 792 pages
Price: $65.00
ISBN: 978-0-470-77063-3

CIA's latest, completely revised edition is the ultimate textbook for wine education.  Just shy of 800 pages, this book is an amazing resource for wine enthusiasts and professionals alike. You will need to eat your wheaties before attempting to pick up this book. But after reviewing its interesting chapters and scanning it's breathtaking photography, you will not want to put this book down.

Chapter one starts out logically covering growing grapes and the fundamentals of wine making. Chapters 2 and 3 are devoted to Wines of The New World and Old World. Every established and upcoming wine growing country and region is included, providing an excellent overview of each countries popular grape varietals, wine laws and grape regions. New information about wine and regions in India and China is also included in this edition.

This book demystifies many aspects of the world of wine. But best of all it provides some of the best information on pairing foods with wine. This is a wonderful addition to anyone's library.

The Art and Design of Contemporary Wine Labels

Author: Tanya Scholes, Foreword by Michael Mondavi
Rating: Excellent!
Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
Price: $45.00
ISBN: 978-1-59580-046-6

Wine label design is a very important ingredient of wine sales and marketing. It has been proven that a great design can have a major impact on sales. Graphics, color schemes, font styles and font sizes are combined to create an attractive label.

This book discovers the "art of the label" showcasing approximately 250 different labels from around. The author provides intriguing background stories and the reasoning behind each label's design.

This is a fantastic collection of many creative design styles. If you are a lover of good design, this book is for you. If you are a wine producer planning to hire a label designer, this book is a must!


The Great Family Wine Estates Of France
Authors: Photographs by Solvi dos Santos; Text by Florence Brutton
Rating: Excellent!
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Price: $50.00
ISBN: 978-0-500-51531-0

Wine is everywhere you look in France. This book and it's beautiful color photographs give a rare insiders view of the aristocratic and elegant lifestyle of France's wine barons. The collection of photos is divided by wine regions. The photographer has captured many old and opulent aspects, architectural features and cobwebs. The book is also filed with photos of lush vineyards, cool & dark wine cellars and many wine bottles and glasses.

This is a perfect coffee table book for Francophiles and wine lovers. It also contains maps, resources and useful charts on each major wine producing region in France.


Story by Christopher J. Davies, (C)2010, all rights reserved.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Denver International Airport Has Bold Development Plans For The Future

Proposed train terminal

Denver International Airport Has Bold Development Plans For The Future
By Christopher J. Davies

The Denver International Airport, or DIA as locals call it, is just 15 years young. It's a super-sized airport comprising of 34,000 acres or 53 square, which makes it larger than Disney World in Orlando (25,000 acres).

Getting to DIA from downtown Denver takes a little time as its terminal is actually 24 miles away from Larimer Square. Once you enter DIA, the drive to the terminal is similar to entering Disney World in Orlando, sans the monorail. As you get closer to the terminal you see its enchanted white roof which depicts snow-capped mountains.

Having all of the space is a good thing. As in 15 short years, DIA has grown to be the world's tenth busiest airport and the fifth busiest airport in the United States. In 2009, 50 million passengers were transported through DIA making it one of the busiest hubs in the aviation world.

As a frequent world traveler, I made the decision to move to Denver eight years ago primarily based on DIA's convenient parking, modern terminal and excellent flight routes. DIA is centrally located in the middle of the country allowing me to get to New York in three hours or San Francisco in two. For European flights I love Lufthansa's daily direct flights from Denver to Frankfurt, which make for quick connections to most European cities.

Signature rail bridge on Pena Blvd

Recently airport management and the city of Denver unveiled bold new expansion plans for adding a South Terminal complex which will included a 500 room terminal hotel and rail way station with connection to Downtown Denver. DIA has contracted world-famous, visionary engineer and Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava, a modern-day Frank Lloyd Wright of transportation design, to create a world-class addition to the existing terminal.

While airport management has been under recent criticism for their artistic tastefulness after placing a blue mustang sculpture on the road leading to the airport terminal, the decision to hire Mr.Calatrava will make an enormous artistic impact on DIA's reputation worldwide.

During the unveiling, Airport Director Kim Day explained, "Today is an historic moment for Denver International Airport. Mr. Santiago Calatrava is one of the world's premier designers of rail stations and airports. His recent work includes the Olympic Sports Complex in Athens."

While the unveiling was pitched as conceptual designs with an emphasis on conservative fiscal, Ms. Day assured the attendees that the estimated Phase One expansion cost of $650 million for the new terminal, rail station, 500 room terminal hotel with convention center, offices and signature rail bridge will be paid for by the airport's cash flows.

Mayor John Hickenlooper also spoke, "We have a world-class airport. 6,500 plus jobs will be created by RTD and this construction. No tax money or general fund money will be used".

Hickenlooper introduced Mr.Calatrava who shared his vision by sitting down at a drawing table and painting "live" for everyone to see while his drawing was projected on a large screen causing jaws to drop as this modern-day Picasso painted long strokes across canvas illustrating how the new architecture fit into the backdrop of the current airport terminal and the mountains to the west of DIA. At the end, all of his paintings were gathered by his assistant, so that they could preserved perhaps in a museum or exhibit some day.

A futuristic animated movie was also shown which gave viewers a front side ride into the airport, passing under the new signature rail bridge as an RTD train transported passengers overhead from Downtown Denver. The modern rail station resembles a classic open air European Rail Station and the plaza and terminal hotel will rival modern airport terminals such as the new terminal in Munich, Germany.

Mr.Calatrava is as big as they get in Architecture as well as the art world. In 2006 he had a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called "Sculpture Into Architecture". Philippe de Montebello, director of the Metropolitan Museum, stated: "It is a rare delight to present the work of such an accomplished architect and artist. This exhibition takes an intimate look at Santiago Calatrava's inventive practices, and uncovers the connections between the private artist and the public architect as he meditates over forms, themes, and construction."

Before leaving the presentation, Mr. Calatrava commented, "I am inspired by the city, the people, the landscape and the existing airport. I have tried to do an addition that complements and connects with the existing architecture".

The construction won't begin until December 2011 and is scheduled to be completed by 2013. The hotel architecture was designed by Gensler, a global design firm with an office in Denver. M.A Moretenson Construction, who recently completed construction of 1800 Larimer St, in Denver—the First LEED-CS Platinum Pre-Certified High Rise West of the Mississippi--will
be the construction manager/general contractor.

On August 26, 2010, RTD broke ground on the $1 billion East Corridor commuter rail line, the largest single rail project in the voter-approved FasTracks program. The groundbreaking ceremony was held at Denver International Airport (DIA) on the south lawn of the Jeppesen Terminal, the future site of the DIA rail station.

The rail station will be completed in 2016.

The future of Denver International Airport is bright and destined to open increased routes to Asia and Europe. I commend airport management, Mayor John Hickenlooper and RTD for having the vision to take DIA to such a outstanding level.

Note: All images supplied by The Denver International Airport


Denver International Airport

View the animated movie and learn about construction progress:


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Taste of Elegance 2010 dishes by The Fort

Geoffrey Groditski

Geoffrey Groditski, Executive Chef, The Fort
Shares his Dishes From the Taste of Elegance! 
Story and photos by Christopher J. Davies

The 2010 Denver International Wine Festival Taste of Elegance Chefs Food and Wine Competition took place ion Thursday November 4, 2010. The event celebrates the gold medal wines from the Denver International Wine Competition.

Twelve Master Colorado Chefs were assigned two gold medal wine each and had just 7 days to create custom paired dishes for 450 guests.

The dishes were tasted by a prestigious panel of judges: 
* Hosea  Rosenberg, Top Chef Season 5 Winner
* Kelly Liken, Chef/Owner Restaurant Kelly Liken-Vail, CO
* Claire  Walter, Food Critic & Author of "Culinary  Colorado"
* Wes Marshall, Wine Writer and Author of "What's a Wine lover To Do?"
* Tom Spilman District President, KeyBank

This year I was excited that one of my favorite restaurants, The Fort had agreed to let their chef participate! Better yet, Chef Geoffrey Groditski received an honorable mention from the judges. Top Chef Season 5 Winner Hosea Rosenberg, was surprised by the dishes and claimed that this was his first time ever tasting Buffalo Tongue! A delicious dished that paired well with Borghese Vineyards 2009 Sauvignon Blanc- North Fork Long Island!

Darcy and I visited Chef Geoffrey recently at The Fort and took photos of him and his wonderful dishes.

He was kind enough to share his recipe's from the Taste of Elegance!

Paired with Zerba Cellars 2007 GSM Blend Mourverde- Columbia Valley, WA

Beef cheek #2                           
Cleaned of excess fat and connective tissue
Carrots 2 ea (Peeled and roughly chopped)
Shallots 6 ea (Peeled and chopped)
Garlic cloves 20ea (Crushed)
Ruby Port  2 Bottles
Rich veal stock 1 qt
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients except salt and 1 bottle of port in roasting pan and cover.  Place in 400 F oven for 2 ½ to 3 hrs.
Remove from oven. Strain liquid from cheeks and vegetables and reserve.  Dice all meat and vegetables and place in pot on stove.  Add cooking liquid and remaining bottle of port and cook over low heat for 2 -3 hrs until liquid has reduced by at least half and the consistency is that of a ragout.  Salt to taste.

Goat cheese grits

Stone Ground Grits #2
2-3 oz olive oil
1.5 cup yellow onion medium diced
4 T minced garlic
2 cups chardonnay
1.5 qt chicken stock
.5 qt heavy whipping cream
#2 goat cheese chevre

In rondo, sweat onions and garlic till translucent. Add wine and reduce by half.  Add chicken stock, cream and grits. Stirring frequently, cook for 30 to 45 min over med heat till liquids are absorbed and grits and tender.  Turn off heat and stir in cheese until fully incorporated.

Paired with Borghese Vineyard 2009 Sauvignon Blanc-North Fork, Long Island

3-4 pounds buffalo tongue
1 bay leaf
1 T peppercorns
1 yellow onion coarsely chopped
1 carrot coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk coarsely chopped
Water to cover

In large pot bring water and all ingredients except tongue to a boil.  Add tongue and simmer 2 ½ to 3 hours.  Remove from water and let cool for 10-15 min.  Peel skin off of tongue and than place tongue in cooler to chill.  When completely cooled slice tongue in ½ inch pieces across grain.  Heat pieces in non stick skillet or under broiler for 1 min until hot.  Place on crostini and garnish with aoli and chile infused honey.

1 baguette sliced in ½ inch pieces
Olive oil ½ cup
Assorted herbs and garlic ¼ cup

Put oil in pot on low heat and add herbs and garlic. Simmer 5-10 min.  Remove from heat and strain.  Brush pieces of baguette with oil and bake at 400 F for 3-5 min until golden brown.

Horseradish Vanilla Aoli

1 egg yolk
Juice from 1 lemon
1 t Dijon mustard
1 t vanilla extract
1 T prepared horseradish
1 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine 1st 5 ingredients in food processor or blender and blend thoroughly. Slowly add oil to emulsify.  Add s&p to taste.

Chile Honey

1 Cup clover honey
1 T ancho chile powder
2 oz chicken broth

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes.



The Fort
19192 Hwy 8
Morrison, CO 80465

Tel. 303-697-1963

Wine producers:

Castello di Borghese
Vineyard & Winery
17150 County Rte 48
(Mailing: P.O. Box 957)
Cutchogue, New York 11935
Tel. (631) 734-5111

Toll Free: (800)-734-5158

Zerba Cellars
810 Highway 99W
Dundee, OR 97115
Tel.(503) 537-WINE

Tasting Room
85530 Highway 11
Milton-Freewater, Oregon 97862

Story and photos © 2010 by Christopher J.Davies, all rights reserved.

Christopher Davies Photography

Denver International Wine Festival

Denver International Wine Competition

Chef Hosea Rosenberg website:

Chef Kelly Liken website:

Claire Walter blog:

Wes Marshall Blog:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Capital Grille blends food and wine deliciously!

Tony Glorioso (Caymus), Chefs and Charlie Stauter, Managing Partner 

The Capital Grille blends food and wine deliciously!
Story and photos by Christopher J. Davies

Impeccable service, warm décor and ambience, delicious dry aged steaks and ultra fresh seafood (flown in daily) makes for the best culinary experience that you can get! The Capital Grille delivers this precisely like a fine Swiss clock!

The Capital Grille has one of the finest wine lists of any multi-store (40) national restaurant chain. Each restaurant boasts an impressive 5,000 plus bottle cellar. With this many wines, it is no surprise that they carry the annual Wine Spectator Award of Excellence!

Our local Capital Grille is located in Downtown Denver in historic Larimer Square. It's an amazing location with a bustling bar crowd. A favorite place for business lunches as well celebratory dinners.

Caymus Wine Pairing Dinner

The Capital Grille's wine programs are always educational and value added!
Recently we attended a Caymus Wine Dinner which was held in a private dinning room. The dinner was hosted by Tony Glorioso, Caymus' Western Sales Manager and a 20 year wine industry veteran.

My wife and I attend a lot of wine dinners, but I have to say that this was one of the best run, most delectable, that we have had in a long time. Best of all it was offered for $95 per person, which represented an excellent value considering the fact that we enjoyed 6 premium wines from Caymus paired with highly creative culinary fare by New York born and raised Chef/Partner Lawrence Bergstein. Just 30 lucky wine and food lovers got to enjoy!

Tomato Gazpacho with Chilled Shrimp

-2008 Caymus Conundrum
Wild Mushroom & Boursin Crostini
Mellon Balls with Fleuer De Sel & Lime

Caymus Conundrum is their signature white blend ($22.99 wine store price)

-2007 Mer Soleil Silver Chardonnay
Tomato Gazpacho with Chilled Shrimp

-2008 Bella Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir
Wild Salmon With Olathe Corn Risotto,
Lobster Mushrooms & Maple Sage Butter

Wild Salmon

What a surprise hit for us and our table guests! This was an exceptional dish paired with what became my favorite Caymus wine of the evening. The Salmon was outstanding, cooked just right to a perfect firmness. 2008 Bella Glos Las Alturas Pinot Noir sells in wine stores for around $45.
-2008 Caymus Cabernet
Garlic & Rosemary Filet with Truffled Fingerling Potatoes & Rosemary Garlic

Rosemary Filet

The filet was cooked perfectly and paired very well with the Cabernet. This was exactly what we expected...a classic pairing. ($70 wine store price)

-2007 Caymus Special Select
Duck Confit With Black Mission Figs, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Fava Beans & Madeira.

Duck Confit

Very lean, premium duck without a trace of fat and a delicious crispy skin, complimented by the figs and smoky bacon. This paired well with the Caymus Select Wine. ($70 wine store price)

-Mer Soleil Late Harvest White
Assorted Desserts

This excellent grand finale of cookies and elegant dessert wine!
Tony Glorioso was an amazing host guiding us through the Caymus wines and inserting history about the California wine industry. The food was outstanding and the service was impeccable. Best of all the wine pourings were generous. Rating: Outstanding!

Don't Miss! The Capital Grille's Master Wine Tasting Event
Taste 11 wines for just $25

Master Sommelier George Miliotes (one of 170 in the world) has selected an outstanding selection of wines from California, Europe and Australia. Head on down to any Capital Grille to receive your personalized tasting. The cost is just $25 per person and this is an ideal prelude to dinner. Order some appetizers and savor a flight of 11 wines from around the world.  Hurry! The Master Wine Tasting Event runs through September 5, 2010.

The Capital Grille, Denver is located at 1450 Larimer Street Reservations can be made by calling 303.539.2500 or by visiting  In addition to its main dining room, The Capital Grille features private dining rooms for up to 42 guests, as well as the Chef’s Table, with a front line view of the open kitchen, accommodating up to 10 guests.

For more details about Caymus visit

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wine Country International Best Food & Wine Books-Summer 2010

Wine Country International's Best Books for Summer 2010
By Christopher J. Davies
The three new books below classify as the ultimate "bible's" for their subject matter. If you are a foodie or aspiring wine lover, you should purchase these books and use them for reference.


Planet Barbecue!

Author:  Steven Raichlen
Rating: Excellent- Must Buy!
Format: Paperback, 638 pages
Price: $22.95
ISBN 978-0-7611-4801-2

Steven Raichlen is the king of BBQ education. He has built a virtual BBQ empire with more than 27 books on the subject, several television shows, the annual Barbecue University hands on seminar series, a line of barbecue products, plus more. If you have watched his shows or read any of his books, you'd love his straight forward approach to grilling.

In Planet Barbeque, Raichlen demystifies BBQ techniques and provides 309 recipes from 60 countries. This magnificent book breaks down recipes by salad, breads, meats, fish and desert. The recipes are a result of Raichlen's extensive research and travel around the globe.

After reading Planet Barbecue you will want to moth ball your kitchen and cook every meal on the BBQ! This book is the ultimate barbecue lovers bible. Grill on!


Listen to a podcast of Chris Davies radio interview of Steven Raichlen at this webpage:

The New Book Of Soups
(second edition)

Author: The Culinary Institute of America
Rating: Excellent
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages
Price: $36.00

ISBN-10: 0867308605
ISBN-13: 9780867308600

The Culinary Institute of America needs no introduction. They turn out some of the world's best chefs. The world's best chefs keep returning to CIA to get more education.

The new book of soups has 160 new and improved recipes with step0by-step instructions and spectacular mouth watering photography. You will find the chapter on Soup Basic's particularly useful for honing your soup skills in the kitchen. So whether it a hearty soup, creamed soup, chowder or bisque,hot or cold, this book is the ultimate soup maker's bible!

What's a Wine Lover to Do?
Author: Wes Marshal 
Rating: Excellent/ Must Buy!
Format: Paperback, 384 pages  
Price: $17.95
ISBN: 9781579653705 (1579653707)

OK. The title says it all, drink wine fool!

Wes Marshall's new book is cram packed with straight forward, useful information that will help you expand your wine horizon's. While they say you can't judge a book by it's cover, this book's cover has so many teasers and tips just on the cover that will make you open the pages and not want to put it down.

Reading it will teach you everything from how to find wine values, decoding wine labels, pairing wine with food, how to taste and how to exploring wine regions with confidence.

This book will go down as one of the top ten books on wine. It's plainspoken explanations are bound to appeal to every palate! 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Traveling overseas this summer? Don't forget travel insurance

Traveling overseas this summer? Don't forget travel insurance
Story and photos by Christopher J. Davies

We travel a lot for business and on journalistic assignments. While most of these trips are "fam trips" or familiarity trips, that are funded by tourism associations and governments, we always take out travel insurance for personal protection. Most people are not aware that their domestic health insurance is not accepted by international doctors and hospitals.

Our good friend, radio broadcaster Pierre Wolfe always takes out travel insurance before going on an international trip. Several years ago he and his wife Jean were strolling through Paris and Pierre suddenly tripped and fell on Jean, breaking her ankle. "You never know when something like this can happen". Fortunate for Jean, she was able to receive medical attention at the hospital and resume her trim, albeit on crutches. She returned home to Denver and recovered fully.

Some of the travel we take has slightly increased risks, like cycling in the Loire Valley, hot air ballooning in South Australia or extreme travel through the fjords of Patagonia. So for a peace of mind, we always take out travel insurance, just in case. The cost is reasonable, because most people never file a claim. Our cost for a typical ten day trip is under $300.

Travel insurance packages usually include other benefits like coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption, trip delay, medical expenses, baggage loss and more. This came in very hand this April when my wife and I visited Italy to cover the VinItaly trade show, Italy's colossal wine convention.

Our trip to Italy was ambitious, we were planning to start in Verona to cover the Vinitaly show, then travel south for the purposes of researching stories about Italian food, cuisine and luxury travel. We visited the lovely lakeside town of Peschiera del Garda, tourist crammed, historic Florence, Lucca, which is famous for its intact Renaissance-era city walls and for producing the best olive oil in Tuscany, Montalcino the Tuscan hill town most famous for Brunello di Montalcino wine, Perugia the notable artistic center of Umbria and Rome the capital of Italy, the city of lost empires and the gateway to god.

My memories of this trip have all of the experiences and joy of being one of our trips of a lifetime until the last 48 hours before we were supposed to board our flight back to the US. It was Thursday April 15th. We had just arrived at our final hotel of the trip, The Hotel dei Consoli, located in a quiet neighborhood only 4 blocks from the walls of the Vatican.

When we arrived at our hotel by cab, the desk manager came out and assisted us with our luggage. When we entered the lobby, I noticed that it was dark. The manager told us that there was a power outage in the neighborhood. And since our room was located on the third floor and the elevator did not work, we left our bags at the desk and decided to find a restaurant for lunch.

When we returned 90 minutes later the hotel lobby was bright and illuminated. The desk manager greeted us with a grin on his face. "Your luggage is in your room. Did you hear about the Volcano eruption?"

Over the next two days we watched the story of the Icelandic Volcano unfold on TV into one of the world's biggest airline catastrophe's of all time. First all the flights in and over the UK were cancelled. Then Germany and France. It did not take long for the whole of Europe to be grounded.

We were stranded in Italy! Our friends still laugh about our predicament. They all say that they wish they were "stranded" in Italy.

Our trip was extended an additional 7 days longer than the original planned 13 days. Total trip length in Italy was 20 days. The cost of the extra days was $2,900. Fortunately for us we had travel insurance. Our policy's trip interruption feature covered us for a maximum of $300 per day (hotel and meals). It also covered us for the theft of our brand new Garmin GPS unit, which mysteriously found it's way out of my wife's luggage.

So while no policy offers 100% coverage, we were elated to receive a refund check from Travel Guard insurance reimbursing us for two thirds of our additional expenses incurred in Italy. To say that we are now big believers in travel insurance would be an understatement. Who could have imagined that a natural disaster like a volcano erupting in Iceland could affect so many people in Europe, so quickly?

The fantastic memories of this trip will be forever with me. But I can't erase my memories of the tens of thousands of stranded people that we saw at the Rome train station and at the Frankfurt Airport.

Protect yourself!



Travel Guard

Insure My Trip

CSA Travel Insurance

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Anatomy of a Beer Competition

Anatomy of a Beer Competition

Story and Photos by Christopher J. Davies

We have been running professional wine competitions since 2004. Our annual Denver International Wine Competition has grown to become one of the nation's well respected double-blind wine competitions with a rapidly growing amount of entries received every year.

Over the past several years Darcy and I have become friends with Keith Villa, the Brewmaster at Blue Moon Brewing a division of Miller/Coors. Keith is an interesting guy who also likes to make his own wine every year!

I was excited to learn that gourmet food and beer pairings are just starting to become popular in the US. I am talking about the typical beer and a hotdog at Yankee Stadium. I mean premium craft beers and gourmet food.

It should not be hard to do you think? After all, the Germans have been pairing brews with their cuisine for centuries. Want an nice beer and food pair? Visit the Hofbräuhaus in Munich and try Two original Munich veal sausages with a Münchner Weisse. Yummy!

August 6-8, 2010
14th Berlin Beer Festival
The International Berlin Beer Festival attracts around a million visitors to the Karl Marx Allee. Every year at the first weekend in August more than 240 breweries from 80 countries present 1,800 different brands of beer.

Denver International Beer Competition

Our goal this year was to recreate our popular chef contest "The Taste Of Elegance" replacing award winning wines with award winning craft beers! After consulting with fellow journalist and beer expert Dan Rabin, I was surprised to learn that there were as many as 70 different styles of beer nowadays. After careful review Dan was able to provide us with a food friendly list of 24 beer styles.

We launched the Denver International Beer Competition in March. The double-blind competition was held on May 1, 2010 at the Omni Interlocken Resort. Eighteen certified beer judges and 7 beer stewards participated.

I learned a lot during this judging. Beer competitions are more precise and by the book than wine competitions, primarily because beer can contain a lot more ingredients than fermented grape juice. In contrast wine is subjective and 6 different judges may have different opinions about what they are tasting.

The beer judges awarded 33 medals that day including three best of show.


Best of Show
Gold Samuel Adams Imperial Stout, Boston Beer Co.
Silver Full Sail IPA, Full Sail Brewing
Bronze Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red, Boston Beer Co.

Category 1: Lagers
Gold Mama’s Little Yellow Pils, Oskar Blues Brewery
Silver Saranac Adirondack Lager, F.X. Matt Brewing Co.
Bronze Samuel Adams Octoberfest, Boston Beer Co.

Category 2: Amber Ales/Hybrids
Gold Samuel Adams Irish Red, Boston Beer Co.
Silver Red Mountain Ale, Silverton Brewing Co.
Bronze Samuel Adams Boston Ale, Boston Beer Co.

Category 3: Dark Ales
Gold Strom Bomb Stout, Wind River Brewing Co.
Silver Black Butte Porter, Deschutes Brewery
Bronze Bear Ass Brown, Silverton Brewing Co.

Category 4: Pale Ales
Gold Fuller’s London Pride, Fuller Smith & Turner P.L.C.
Silver 5 Barrel Pale Ale, Odell Brewing Co.
Bronze DPA, Great Divide Brewing Co.

Category 5: IPAs/Double IPAs
Gold Full Sail IPA, Full Sail Brewing
Silver Odell IPA, Odell Brewing Co.
Bronze Gordon, Oskar Blues Brewery

Category 6: Strong Ales/Lagers
Gold Russian Imperial Stout, Boston Beer Co.
Silver Old Chub, Oskar Blues Brewery
Bronze Samuel Adams Doppelbock, Boston Beer Co.

Category 7: Wheat Beers
Gold Samuel Adams Imperial White Ale, Boston Beer Co.
Silver Don De Dieu, Unibroue
Bronze Blanche De Chambly, Unibroue

Category 8: Belgian-style Ales
Gold Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red, Boston Beer Co.
Silver Trois Pistoles, Unibroue
Bronze Samuel Adams New World Tripel, Boston Beer Co.

Category 9: Fruit Beers
Gold Samuel Adams Coastal Wheat, Boston Beer Co.
Silver Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat, Boston Beer Co.
Bronze Ephemere, Unibroue

Category 10: Spiced and Specialty Beers
Gold Samuel Adams Utopias ’09, Boston Beer Co.
Silver Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock, Boston Beer Co.
Bronze Samuel Adams Honey Porter, Boston Beer Co.

Many of these winners including Samuel Adams Utopias(54% Alcohol/$150 per bottle) will be showcased in the Taste of Elegance Chefs Competition on June 9, 2010 at the Omni Interlocken Resort, Broomfield. Tickets and details are available at

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Inglorious Volcano!

Inglorious Volcano!

By Christopher J Davies

Imagine if Quentin Tarantino could solve everyone's flight problem with an alternate ending, just like he did when Hitler is killed in "Inglorious Bastards". He could have Lt. Aldo Rained fly a bomber directly into the volcano and cap it off with a major payload of TNT.

No that is not happening quite yet. Although the major European carriers are wishing for such a miracle as they are bleeding through billions of Euros.

St.Peters Square at sunset

My wife and I have been stranded in Rome since Saturday April 17th, playing the waiting game. Our carrier, our favorite airline, Lufthansa is overwhelmed with passenger requests and unable to give a clear picture of when we can expect to leave. They have no crystal ball.

Darcy on our terrace at The Hotel Hassler

When we first arrived in Rome, we stayed at the trend setting Hotel Haussler which is located near the Spanish Steps.We were there as members of the press to write a review which will be the way quite favorable. A room at the Hassler can cost more than 1,500 Euro per night.

For the second night we moved to the Hotel Dei Consoli, which was located just three blocks from St. Peters Basilica. The rooms were compact as a river boat but well appointed and modern. The staff were amazingly courteous and helpful. When we arrived it was a little surrealistic at first as the power had just went out in the Borgo area of Rome. The desk manager asked us if we heard about the volcanic explosion and that airports would be closed in Europe indefinitely? We decided to go to lunch in hopes that the electricity would be restored. When we returned, we were elated that the hotels juice was back. But the desk manager dropped more strange news on us about a "fireball" in Iowa. He played a video showing a meteor crashing into an Iowa. With all of these natural disasters, I am wondering we are headed towards a real 2012?

So after 4 wonderful days in Rome, we decided to "make lemonade out of lemons" and move down south to Naples. Hotels are lower priced and Naples is on the sea. We have never been there before. And since it is also the birthplace of pizza, we decided to see if we can taste the difference.

When we arrived at Rome's Termini (train station) it was filled with lines of thousands of Europeans trying to get a train to somewhere close to home.

We are now in Napoli discovering a much different and authentic Italy. Prices are more reasonable, streets are narrower and historic sites are abundant. We are staying at an amazing, recently restored hotel named Decumani-Hotel de Charme, which was a Bishops home. The owner is in his mid thirties and committed to creating a epicenter for arts and culture. Our deluxe room is spacious with 15 foot ceilings and a beautifully tiled modern bathroom with Jacuzzi tub.


The news on TV today shows that Lufthansa has just started to return 15,000 stranded Germans from the US back to Germany. The customer service lines in Italy and America are busy. The website has little info. It say's do not go to the airport. It instructs us to call the customer service lines.

In the meantime, we have just returned from a wonderful lunch at Naples #1 Pizzeria, Sorbillo. It was orgasmic. It was the first Pizzeria that I visited that had a wait list!

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Stuck" in Rome, waiting is hard to do!

Greetings from Rome, Italy!

My wife Darcy and I are stranded in Rome, hoping to get back to Denver ASAP!

We have been traveling throughout Italy since April 7th. We are the publishers of Wine Country International magazine and also produce the Denver International Wine Festival. This year, we decided to attend the VinItaly show in Verona, which is the second largest wine show in the world, with 154,000 attendees this year. We also visited several other cities to produce stories and radio podcasts about travel, wine & cuisine. On this trip we visited Florence, Lucca, Castello Banfi in Montalcino, Perugia and Rome. We have been in Rome since Wednesday, having the time of our lives.

Darcy on the terrace of room 501 at the Hotel Hassler

For our first night we stayed at the Hassler which is found in the book "1000 things to do before you die!". Mr. Wirth the owner treated us like royalty. Our room #501, was one of the best locations in the hotel with an amazing birdseye view of the Cathedral and The Spanish Steps.

Ancient Rome

We were booked to fly back to Denver today on Lufthansa Airlines (Saturday) but like everyone in Europe, we are in limbo as no flights are taking off due to the volcanic ash activity.

It has been a little difficult getting information, but fortunately Lufthansa Airlines is providing the most up to date information via Facebook (a lot more info than As a journalist who writes about travel, wine and cuisine, I have learned that optional travelers insurance is a great value. I am very happy that we purchased travel insurance from Travel Guard. We are covered for up to 5 days for flight interruption/delays.

I am attaching a few photos from our trip to Rome. For now, we plan to make the best of our extended trip here in Rome. Today we visited the Antiqua Attica section of Rome and visited the Catacombs of Domitilla. The catacombs are located about 25 minutes outside Rome, but are easily accessed by a bus. Our handy "Frommers Rome Guide" and "Lonely Planet's Rome City Guide" have provided fantastic inside information.

I will blogging from Rome until I get on a plane for home. It may be several days or weeks before flights resume. The volcano is still spewing ash.

Christopher J Davies

Tags: Europe, Rome, Italy, Flight delays, Volcanic Ash, European flights, travel blog