Avanti Winery handcrafts its own signature wine blends alongside more than 25 local Colorado wines, furnishing oenophiles with myriad grownup grape-juice choices. A bottle of chardonnay ($16.95) transports hints of vanilla, lemon, almonds, and hazelnuts to taste buds, and the popular white table wine ($16.95) melds five varietals potent enough to charm palates and steal guests’ girlfriends at dinner parties. Swill sips of Avanti's table red wine ($17.95) or uncork the signature cabernet sauvignon ($22.95), bursting with maroon-tinged fruits. The merlot ($22.95) introduces cherries and a dry finish to palates, and the port III’s dashes of caramel, cherry, and chocolate ($24.95) form a trio of dessert flavors in tipsifying liquid form. Avanti Winery also offers free wine tastings Thursday–Sunday from a different Colorado winery each month.
Owner and senior wine instructor Dani Cross created VinBoutique with a mission to introduce palates to the best French wines. A certified level-III sommelier, Cross personally travels to France to hand-pick vintages from small production companies and develop relationships with local vintners, ensuring her customers enjoy a collection of reds, whites, and bubbly that is exceptional not just in craftsmanship and taste, but also in value. "By tasting my wines, you can actually hone your palate way quicker because [the wines are] technically correct" in the way they are selected, shipped, and stored, she says. "If you're not tasting something that's proper, you won't know what chardonnay is supposed to taste like."
A strong belief that wine should be enjoyed and shared with others inspires VinBoutique's tasting classes, where Cross and other wine experts share insights into different varietals, food pairings, and wine-making techniques. Hosted at local restaurants––including Crave Dessert Bar and Randolph's at the Warwick Hotel––each class includes a light food pairing designed specifically for the tasting, where chefs join in to offer their own unique insights into the relationship between vino and victual. Using an approach designed to be both fun and unintimidating, Cross also includes a question-and-answer section, as well as easy-to-follow tasting notes, making her classes accessible to everyone from the casual wine fan to the connoisseur who can uncork a bottle using only their mind. As Dani continued to try new wines and savor her favorite French vintages, she became dismayed. Often, the wines she bought had been stored improperly or for too long, destroying the bouquets and noses that she loved. "Born of frustration, I decided to start my own [wine boutique]." And thus she curated a selection of French wines for VinBoutique. "By tasting my wines, you can actually hone your palate way quicker because [the wines are] technically correct" in the way they are selected, shipped, and stored, she says. "If you're not tasting something that's proper, you won't know what chardonnay is supposed to taste like."
In addition to bottles of red, white, and bubbly, Dani and a team of instructors offer wine classes suitable for everyone from the casual wine fan to the connoisseur who can uncork a bottle using only their mind. Each class comes with notes and take-home materials, and is taught by a teacher who can both go into great technical detail or give thorough overviews so that student's don’t "get cross-eyed."
Traditional and contemporary recipes reign at India's Kitchen, where chefs sheath chicken, lamb, seafood, and vegan entrees in a flurry of freshly ground exotic spices. They sizzle naan and kebabs in a tandoor clay oven and flood kormas and masalas with housemade yogurt, cream sauces, and coconut milk. Chefs can customize spiciness levels or swap in gluten-free ingredients for the handful of dishes that aren't already gluten-free, adeptly maintaining each dish's intricate flavors and inspirational coming-of-age story. An extensive daily lunch buffet lines up some of the kitchen's greatest hits for guests to sample, and the restaurant also extends its culinary services to the catering realm.
Cylindrical light fixtures dangle amid the dining room's vibrant red-orange walls, which contrast charcoal-hued floors and furnishings. A trickling faux rock fountain beckons patrons to venture to the full bar, where staffers sling Indian beers that harmonize with the aromas and flavors of the cuisine.
A year after Scott Kerkmans created the role of Chief Beer Officer for the Four Points by Sheraton hotels, it began to get around that Denver was the "Napa Valley of Beer." As NPR later reports, the rumor is a culmination of a life spent steeped in beer culture. Before creating Colorado Beer Week and beating out more than 7,000 applicants for the title of CBO, Kerkmans was on the production side at Alaskan Brewing Company. He’s since authored articles for Draft Magazine, taught at Cook Street School of Fine Cooking, and judged burped renditions of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Great American Beer Festival. He shares his taste in microbrews with more than 140 hotels and restaurants worldwide through the Four Point's beer program, but keeps his feet planted firmly on his home turf during his nine-day spring festival, which highlights the finest pours from Colorado breweries including New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Ska Brewing Company.
Within Vines Wine Bar's low-lit interior, patrons dine Spanish-style, sampling from more than 80 wines by the glass and 50 different tapas. Experienced sommeliers, including the executive chef, suggest varietals from more than 12 countries, including American options such as Wente Monterey chardonnay ($13) and Franciscan Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon ($18). On the flower-flecked patio or in the comforts of an indoor leather chair, diners can dunk cubed bread and fresh produce into one of three fonduta fondu options—melted goat cheese, garlic-and-herb brie, or chardonnay cheddar ($13)—that form a triumvirate of cheese as classic as the Porky's franchise. A wild mushroom ravioli ($8) complements velvety tannins, and a freshly baked beef brioche and brie ($15) impresses wiser aged wines with a firm handshake. All Groupon customers will also receive a 10% discount at the Vines Cellar upon redeeming their Groupon.