In spring during normal years, Settembre Cellars Owners Blake and Tracy Eliasson would be passing out samples of their well-aged, single-varietal, Colorado-grown wines in their North Boulder taproom. But this is not a normal year, and so, like other food and drink businesses, the Eliassons pivoted.
What they turned to is a unique winemaker-paired dinner that (at the risk of sounding too promotional) is an exceptional way to try Settembre’s older vintages and support local restaurants. The next dinner, June 27, for instance, marries meals from Jaipur Indian Restaurant and some choice Settembre vintages — mushroom mater with 2013 cabernet sauvignon, saag paneer with 2013 syrah and saag paneer with 2012 reserve cabernet sauvignon.
You’ll get three bottles basically split into two 325-milliliter bottles (using one of the Eliassons’ fancy rebottling tools), so you can taste your way through the dinner without having to glug down a whole bottle.
The Eliassons pair wine with food through extensive taste-testing: They order a bunch of meals from one of their favorite restaurants, sample their own wines to see what complements what best, and then pass the results onto us in a dinner ordered entirely through the winery (secure.settembrecellars.com/page/wine-dinner-home.)
“I like to call them wine-maker paired dinners because a lot of times wine dinners are chef-paired,” Tracy says. “For me, a wine dinner is about getting to try a food and how it pairs with the wine, so it’s not just wine with dinner.”
The Eliassons have invited guests to their back patio to run these pre-run taste tests, and Tracy says it’s been a novel way to feel a sense of community while social distancing.
The ability to sample these older vintages of Colorado-grown single-varietals is somewhat unique to Settembre. The Eliassons age wine longer than larger wineries typically do, which has helped them carve out a niche in the local wine scene.
“We want to know what that vineyard, what that place, what the potential is,” Tracy says. “We get the best grapes we can, and we treat them as if they’re great grapes form Burgundy, hand-sorting and buying the best oak. I like to say we’re light-handed in our wine-making, and let the grapes shine through.”
New to Settembre is a 2017 rosé (rosato) made from cab franc grapes, as well as a 2017 cab franc from the same vineyard that provided grapes for the rosé. It’ll return its much-heralded dry riesling with a 2015 vintage this summer, and the Eliassons are also dipping into the cider world, offering a 10% ABV dry, uncarbonated cider made from Colorado apples. The proceeds from the sale of the cider will be donated to the nonprofit Conscious Alliance, Hillside School (a Longmont school that works with kids with dyslexia), and the Columbine Elementary PTA.
To taste these new wines, order curbside pickup or join the Settembre Cellars Wine Club, with discounts on wine, exclusive offerings and wine tastings (when the Eliassons choose to reopen the taproom).