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Sutcliffe Vineyards

John Sutcliffe
February 24, 2018 | John Sutcliffe

A Partnership as crazy and obsessive

We would never embark on making wine with any partner without insisting that it was a truly authentic process. A process that starts early by tasting the new wines as soon as they are through fermentation, monitors them as they develop in the barrel and then imagines and anticipates the final blend. It is a time consuming and, at times, complicated process, but we would always insist that it was complied to. Telluride Ski and Golf were as committed to the genuine process as we were in partnering on their Telluride Red. It was brilliant to sense their total involvement in the crafting of this wine, no short cuts, no compromises, thorough, long tasting sessions with our wine makers and Andrew Shaffer and his critical players. Players who have a passion, as well as a skilled palate, for wines and were hell bent on creating something they could be intensely proud of. At some of the blending we would get so close to resolving the proportions, so close to a shared sense of what we wanted, but we couldn’t be rushed. Perhaps we narrowed the options, even eliminated some, but then felt we were not quite there.

We are currently close to deciding on the third blend we have done together. We came so close at our last blending to hammering it out at a long table in Alreds. I have to confess there were moments spent battling the urge to simply gloat at the most beautiful view from a dining room in the world. Fortunately the palpable joy that pervaded the group in their animated discussion dragged me back, a group where no one held back from expressing their opinions. We should have known that Telluride Ski and Golf want no compromises, they want a wine that matches their love of these glorious mountains, this quirky, authentic, little town and the world class skiing and life style they provide. Always nice to partner with someone as crazy and obsessive as oneself. 


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