GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - If you want a local wine for your Thanksgiving meal, St. Kathryn Cellars' "Cranberry Kiss" is a winner.
Talon Wine Brands, which includes St. Kathryn Cellars, Talon Winery and Meadery of the Rockies, recently won 21 medals - 10 gold, five silver and six bronze - at the 2012 Denver International Wine Competition held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Denver.
Cranberry Kiss won silver.
"People love to buy it for Thanksgiving," owner and head winemaker Glenn Foster said. "It's a beautiful cranberry color. It's really flavorable - it tastes like cranberry, with a touch of sweetness. It has just the right amount of pucker power."
Eight-hundred wines from 13 countries entered the competition with Talon Wine Brands, the second highest medal winner overall.
"We're tickled to get some international attention," Foster said, who entered the annual competition for the first time this year. "It's really wonderful. We're proud."
One of the gold medal winners was Talon Winery's Viognier. Priced at $13.95, Foster said it's a bargain.
"Viognier is one of the best grapes in the Grand Valley," Foster said. "It's luscious, a decadent wine, with a great tropical fruit character."
The white wine pairs wonderfully with seafood, he added.
Another gold went to an un-oaked Talon Chardonnay.
"It's also white, a little dryer, crisper than the Viognier," Foster said.
Sweet Scarlet - a dark, sweet red wine from St. Kathryn Cellars - also won gold. It's a rich blend of half-Merlot and half-blackberry, Foster said.
Wines are tasted by a panel of judges, in "a rigorous, double-blind" competition where judges "have no idea what they're tasting," Foster said.
Foster founded Talon Winery in Fruita in April 2005. He expanded his wine making in 2008, by purchasing Meadery of the Rockies and St. Kathryn Cellars in Palisade. Under the three brands, Foster and his executive winemaker Brian Stevens make 40 different wines and they plan to add two additional wines in the spring.
"We've done well over the past five years since we took over (Meadery and St. Kathryn)," Foster said. "We're winning lots of awards."
Over the past year, Talon Wine Brands has won 70 gold, silver and bronze medals at various competitions in Colorado.
TripAdvisor named Palisade in its Top 10 Wine Destinations in the U.S. in their Travelers' Choice Awards 2012. Meadery of the Rockies was singled out as a "don't miss" winery, along with Carlson Vineyards, Plum Creek Winery and Hermosa Vineyards.
St. Kathryn Cellars and Talon Winery are housed in the same building, just off I-70 at 785 Elberta Ave. Meadery of the Rockies is located at 3701 G Road. Both locations are open for tasting, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cranberry Kiss, normally $15.95, is on sale - 15 percent off - at St. Kathryn Cellars through the end of November.