Rockyspring Winery Review
Address: 1339 Wolfe Road Hartsel,Colorado 80449.
Phone Number: 719-837-2044
Reviewer: Becky Parr
Review Date: 1/17/2013
Reviewer: Becky Parr
On a mountainside in Colorado, literally in the company of buffalo and antelope, sits the homey, wooden building that houses Rockyspring Winery.
The Place:  Its a bit of a drive between civilization and Rockyspring Winery or maybe it just seemed like that to the Texas tourists who set out to find out what Colorado wines had to offer. We were treated to a lovely view that included a herd of buffalo, a herd of antelope yes, playing a lone coyote, and a winding road up the mountain to the winery itself. Fortunately the signage is excellent, so we always knew which fork to take; but Id recommend a sober designated driver for this particular mountain lane. Be prepared to stop a few times to take photographs of the surrounding mountain scenery.
The Experience: Another well-positioned sign points out the door to the winery, on the bottom floor of the wood house, and its a good thing if not for that sign and the placement of a small bar directly inside the door of the winery tasting room, I think we might have wondered if we were in the wrong place. The tasting room, painted lavender, is more reminiscent of my grandmothers closet than a winery tasting room. There are two tables positioned by the windows leading to a gorgeous view of the mountains, but the rest of the walls painted purple are covered with displays of handmade blankets, scarves, hats, and other sundries, which are lovely, but unfortunately give the room a bit of a disheveled feel. Several stainless steel wine vats are visible at the long end of the room, but I consider that a plus, since I really like to see where the magic happens. I also checked out the bathroom, and the fledgling conservationist in me appreciated the use of well water in the sink.
The People:  We were greeted by the cellarmasters wife, Edeltraud Carlson (his name is David) and were the only visitors to the winery that afternoon, which wasnt surprising since it was midafternoon on a Thursday. We quickly learned that Rockyspring is a family business, and they are very proud of what they have built. The winery has been commercially producing wine since 2010, but based on Edeltrauds dialogue, I guessed that they have been making wine for their own use for much longer than that. Its in the family. One of their daughters designed the labels for the wine bottles, and several of them are very lovely. Her mother is obviously proud of that contribution.
The Wines: Rockyspring Winery has a lot of different wines. I counted 31 different options on their tasting menu. One thing I love about Colorado is that the tastings frequently seem to be free, which is the case here; I would certainly have preferred a wine glass to the little plastic cups in which our tastes were served, but we did get to taste a lot of wine!
I am not a sweet wine fan, and a great many of Rockysprings wines tend toward the sweet side. Fortunately my boyfriend was with me, and he is much fonder of sweet wines than I. He commented favorably on the sweet wines, and was particularly fond of the cherry wine and the peach-apricot Chardonnay, which he imagined pairing very well with some tangy marinated pork chops we cook at home on the grill. He is also extremely fond of port; Rockyspring has four ports on their menu, and he tried two. One he said was good but unremarkable, and the white port, which won a gold medal in an area competition, didnt particularly ring his chimes.
I tried several of the drier white wines. I was actually pretty pleased with the Gewurtztraminer, which is not overly sweet and seemed fairly well balanced. The Chardonnay and what they call their House wine, made in the piesporter style (never heard of that) were also pleasant, if a bit unsophisticated.
Being a red wine lover, I tried a bunch of reds old vine Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, shiraz, Sangiovese, and valpolicella. My favorites were the Italian two, by far. The others seemed to me to taste too much like each other. I was puzzled by that, as well as the sweetish notes that several of the wines seemed to have. I purchased a bottle of Sangiovese to take home, and even now it seems a bit on the sweet side for Sangiovese.
Fruit- and berry-flavored wines seem to be Rockysprings strength. Since this is a family business, I have no doubt the Carlsons make what they like to drink. Colorados wine industry in general seems to be fairly young, and Rockyspring gives the impression of being a young winery. If someone is just beginning their adventure into the world of wine, this might be a good place to start. They have remarkable ambitions; they want to spruce up their patio and deck so people have more than just a single picnic table for sitting and enjoying the wine and the view. They are just beginning a wine club. They want to do weddings.
I would love to come back in five to 10 years and see what theyve done.
Insiders Tip:  Edeltraud is proud to share that many of the fruits used in the wine are grown on-site, and that Rockyspring hopes to soon become a winery that gathers 100% of their fruit from inside Colorado. According to their website, Rockyspring will produce custom labels and even wine blends for special events.