Six weeks into its new Eagle Rock location, Colorado Wine Company buzzes. A customer asks for a "yummy" Prosecco; another wants a well-priced Chardonnay. Owner Jen Nugent quickly obliges and welcomes a couple who've arrived for the weekly Friday night wine flight tasting. At the same time the Mandoline Grill truck's driver arrives and advises he's secured a spot out front. Hectic but always user-friendly, Colorado Wine Company 2.0 has already hit its stride.
Proprietors John and Jennifer Nugent took advantage of the move to make some changes: Most notably, there are now six beers on tap. (The pair are partners in Echo Park's Sunset Beer Company -- so expect interesting craft brews). What else is new? Turn the page to check out CoWineCo's updated, grown-up look.
Three blocks west on Colorado Boulevard from its previous location and on the north side of the broad thoroughfare (next to local landmark Tobacco World), CoWineCo occupies a slightly smaller space than before, although it feels larger due to the 20-foot-high exposed bow-truss ceiling. At the front are the wine store's signature cradling wine racks; wood blinds and dark gray walls give the room a vintage feel. There's a wraparound bar and comfy bar stools at the check-out counter so customers can taste and buy. A pew-style banquette along the wall for seating at small bistro tables gives the space more of a clubby wine bar vibe. Stemware has been upgraded, and there's proper glassware for the specialty craft brews.
Since the wine store's launch eight years ago, the Nugents found that customers' tastes have expanded. "People are taking chances on French wine, more so than in previous years," Jennifer says. What hasn't changed? The Friday and Sunday tastings, with the Friday night tastings including five wines and a generous cheese plate. Popular themed pairings will return. To be calendared are sake tastings, the all-Lambrusco-and-cured-meat pair-up and the goofy White Trash food and wine tasting in the fall. Look for a planned beer and cheese event in the summer.
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Also on tap: An inventory of boutique or smaller production wines, Champagne, beer and premium Japanese sake. Because of the expanded bar area, there are now eight to 10 wines available by the glass and select samples. A display case holds food items and useful gifts for imbibers.
On recommendation, there's a super-dry Bodegas 2010 Querida Albarino from California's Edna Valley and the biodynamically grown 2011 Gamay Beaujolais Chateau Cambon Recolite to try. The house go-to bubbles are Champagne Jacquart's Brut Mosaique. "Bubbles should be had every day, they are so food-flexible," advises John.
And what were the answers to searches for a "yummy" Prosecco and a well-priced Chardonnay? The Adami Prosecco and Kenneth Volk's 2008 Santa Barbara County Chardonnay.