August 11, 2022


Food for all time.

WineInk: Wines to add to your to-go food order

4 min read

The trials and tribulations of the wine world may seem like trifles in this lonesome time. But for many, the economic importance of wine cannot be understated. And for others, the solace and sensory satisfaction found in a glass of wine can be an important component to continued emotional well-being.

Those two needs coalesced this past Sunday as local restaurants were forced to implement plan D, E or, I guess even F, when Pitkin County went to level Red in response to the increasing number of local positive COVID-19 cases. A silver lining for those restaurants relying on outdoor single-household rules and pivoting to take-out dining for their livelihoods is that Colorado is currently allowing the sale of wines and cocktails along with to-go food orders.

While to date there has not been a dramatic rise in to-go sales, this is a great opportunity for customers to add on to their orders and make wine and liquor purchases directly from the restaurants they love. Not only will the sales have a financial benefit for local establishments, but many are offering discounts on bottles that would not be available any place else.

“It is going to hurt but we do think it’s a necessary step in getting it under control here,” said Ellina owner Jill Carnavale about the shutdown. “We will be doing takeout and I will certainly be featuring wines to go. I do sell them on my website take-out menu.”

Diners can go to the site and peruse the 33 page wine list, which is fat with Italian gems and there are discounts available.

Jill’s sentiment was echoed this past week by a number of local sommeliers. Christel Stiver, wine director at the Hotel Jerome, has a great list that diners can pair with foods purchased for takeout.

“With the updated restrictions starting I will be offering cocktails and wine to go,” she noted in an email. “While any wine from the cellar can be purchased to go I will have a small selection of wines that I am featuring at discounted, retail pricing.”

A classic Tempier Rose, Bandol, for example, has been reduced for diners to $62 and a Chateau Calon-Segur, Saint-Estephe 2010 is $195.

Jimmy’s wine director, Greg Van Wagner, was “Thinking Different” from the start, taking to the streets with a “Booze Bike” offering free delivery of cocktails back in April.

“If you’re a big wine collector, then perhaps this is the time to add some hard-to-obtain gems to your cellar while supporting your favorite restaurant,” he opined. “In that case, go for the Screaming Eagle 2014, priced lower than many retail stores at $3,000.”

For a more a more affordable option he suggested the Cascina Fontana Barolo 2014. “This was a wine discovered while over in the region and is certainly a producer you won’t find everywhere. It’s perfume-y, elegant, and incredibly expressive.” Sounds good with a Jimmy Mac.

Wendy Mitchell at Meat and Cheese has also been aggressive about wine offers on her eclectic, natural-centric list.

“We’re offering 25% off our menu prices for wine to go. I always like to encourage people to try something new and something that might be hard to find,” she counseled. Bottles she is sneaking home for her own sipping satisfaction include the Broc Cellars Pettilant Wine Chenin Blanc and an ultimate geeky Châteauneuf-du-Pape varietal blend from Oregon winemaker Nate Ready.

If you are longing for comfort (aren’t we all) C. Barclay Dodge at Bosq pairs his wine and liquor combos with his fried chicken: “Our take away alcohol menu is comprised of beers, house-made canned cocktails (currently a “Bosqow Mule,” a play on the classic Moscow Mule) and bottles of wine.” A Nickel and Nickel Chardonnay 2019 ($50) with a leg and a thigh is a joyous way to end a ski day.

Jonthan Pullis says 7908 is also in the canned cocktails and wine game: “Yes, we have been selling quite a lot of our delicious Canned Cocktails and are also selling a selection of wines at retail prices in hopes that people need to replenish their supply and want to support restaurants when they get their To Go food.”

And the Little Nell wine director Chris Dunaway shares that sentiment: “I have a couple of offerings on our to go menu that I think are incredible!” he enthused, sharing a Olivier Leflaive Les Sétilles Bourgogne Blanc 2018 ($60), and a Mayacamas “Young Vines” Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 ($78) as two bottles that sell for less than a Benjamin.

At L’Hostaria, this town’s Italian living room, wine maven Carlos Valenzuela suggested a pair of varietals from the Boot that he is excited to offer with to-go options, one white 2018 Ribolla Gialla, Doro Princic “Collio,” Friuli ($36) and one red, a 2014 Aglianico, Mastroberardino “Redimore,” Campania ($42). Carlos captured this moment in time for us all., saying, “This is going to be very hard for all of us to survive but we will keep on following the rules until we can come anywhere near the normal life we use to enjoy,” he said. “Salute and hope to see you soon!”