Good weather, perhaps more than anything else, is necessary for good wine, and Colorado-based meteorologist and self-described “California Cab girl” Jennifer Broome predicts a sunny future for the burgeoning wine regions in her state. Born in Greenville, S.C., Broome has worked as a meteorologist in San Antonio, Texas, and now, for KDVR Fox 31 in Denver, Co. She is also host, producer, and blogger of the travel website and show Swept Away with Jennifer Broome and credits her love of great dining experiences for getting her into wine, including discovering favorites such as Staglin, Quintessa and Silver Oak. She recently spoke with Wine Spectator about her love of wine and how the wine-and-food scene is changing in her home state of Colorado.
Wine Spectator: What similarities do you find between wine and weather?
Jennifer Broome: Some will smack you in the face. But then there are a lot of them that have smokiness and remind me of fog; how not everything is necessarily clear right away. Sometimes you have to venture in to find the beauty of it. Some of them you’re going to smell and sniff and smile and get that burst of sunshine. The complexities of a glass of wine can change just like the weather changes. You can instantly go from that moment of sunshine to that quick change of clouds rolling in, which is like the flavors changing in your mouth into something much mellower, and maybe that light rain shower that follows. And of course, weather is so important to how the grapes are going to fare and how the wine is going to taste.
WS: What do you think of the dining and wine scene in Denver?
JB: There seems to be a revitalization of really good restaurants. And they’re going after that foodie, and not just a foodie but the wine drinker. For example, the Kitchen is getting in the keg-wine scene that is happening right now. A number of restaurants are doing a good job at offering local wines. Row 14 Wine Bar and Bistro is one that has done an exceptional job. I’ve gotten to the point of asking restaurants what Colorado wines they offer. Yes, I’m a big California Cab girl, but it is also about trying new things, trying different varieties and finding some good ones that are locally sourced and supporting the people where you are.
WS: You travel around Colorado quite a bit. What do you think about the local wine industry?
JB: I love it. There’s something about it that is homegrown and welcoming. The small production gives you that extra-special feel and is something that you won’t get elsewhere around the country. My favorite Colorado wine that I’ve had so far is Ruby Trust Cellars. I had it at the incredible Cafe Diva in Steamboat Springs.
I was completely shocked and impressed when I went to Creekside Cellars in Evergreen. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is great, and affordable. And I can’t leave out the dinner at Smith Fork Ranch in Crawford where owners Linda and Marley Hodgson and general manager Jim Nielson introduced me to my first real taste of great Colorado wines including S. Rhodes and Jack Rabbit Hill. Their devotion to farm-to-table gourmet food and fine wine is inspiring.
WS: How do you think consumers perceive Colorado wines?
JB: I don’t think that most people consider Colorado wines up there yet. With more and more restaurants coming on board, and not only just serving local wines but having sommeliers that will actively pitch local wines to customers and supporting something that is happening right here in the state, it’s really catching on. When I go to Virginia, I certainly want to go and experience wineries there. I lived in Texas for a few years and had the chance to experience some fantastic wineries there. It is interesting to me how different the industries are, but yet they’re facing the same battle: How do you get traditional California wine drinkers to try the local wines? You've got to produce quality stuff and a lot of the information comes via word of mouth. That is why if I find a great Colorado wine, I’m going to get that out there. Colorado is a very affluent state, a well-traveled state, a state that is interested in being part of the green movement, living organic and clean, but also interested in being fit and being healthy. Wine plays a part in that. Yes, everybody thinks of Colorado as a beer state, but the emergence of the local wine industry is changing that some. I think that it is a shock for a lot of people how good the wine is here.