One-of-a-Kind Wines Hit the Glass at Telluride Wine Festival

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May 12, 2006

TELLURIDE, CO - (News Release) - Wine aficionados looking for extraordinary experiences are preparing their palates for 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival, June 22-25.

Organizers of the longest-running festival of its kind in the Rocky Mountains are proud to announce their 2006 Special Reserve Tasting Program, offering exceptional, one-of-a-kind wines poured by the people who made them and discussed by some of the world's leading wine experts.

"There's a great story behind every great wine. This is something truly special," says Jay Fletcher, board member for the Court of Master Sommeliers and director of fine wine for Southern Wine and Spirits of Colorado. "Winemakers and master sommeliers will be there, too, throwing out their own evaluations. It's not only a great opportunity for the wine enthusiast, it's true entertainment, as well."

The Telluride Wine Festival, known for its refined educational opportunities, is a unique experience, indeed. Held in the historic town of Telluride, high in the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado amid stunning views of snowcapped peaks soaring to more than 14,000 feet above sea level, the four-day event features more than six dozen wineries from around the world pouring their finest at venues throughout town, as well as in Mountain Village, just a gondola ride away.

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Some of the bottles being poured during the festival's four Special Reserve Tastings - individual, hour-and-a-half sessions held Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24 - are worth $400 or $500 a bottle, or more, says Fletcher, who'll be hosting "Bordeaux: The World's Greatest Wine," the festival's fourth and final tasting.

"I'll offer a little tour of Bordeaux, talk about the climate and why it's one of the great places on Earth to grow wines," says Fletcher, who plans to pour wines samples from the six distinct communes of France's most famous wine region, with a special focus on 2003s. "That's one of the hottest vintages on record, and it's just coming onto the market."Lindy Novak Lahr of Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery, in California's Napa Valley, will be hosting another Special Reserve Tasting entitled "A 10-year Vertical Tasting of Spottswoode Cabernets."

"This is an opportunity to learn about a small, specific but well-known vineyard site and what it alone can produce over the course of a decade," says Novak Lahr, daughter of Mary Novak, who bought the Spottswoode vineyard in 1972, producing its first cabernet sauvignon nine years later.

Other wineries featured in the Telluride Wine Festival's 2006 Special Reserve Tasting Program include: Beringer Vineyards; D.R. Stephens Estates; Gemstone Vineyard; Walter Hansel Winery; and Rudd Estate.

Wine experts on hand during the Special Reserve Tastings - who host their own wine seminars during the festival, too - include: Richard Betts, master sommelier and wine director at Aspen's Little Nell Hotel; Frederick Dame, master sommelier, president of the Court of Master Sommeliers and winner of Wine Spectator magazine's Grand Award for wine programs; Doug Frost, author and one of only three people in the world to become both master sommelier and master of wine; Bobby Stuckey of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colo., winner of the James Beard Foundation's Wine Service Award in 2005; and Laura Williamson, master sommelier and senior consultant for Small Vineyards Imports.

Despite its stature among wine and culinary festivals and its reputation for haute cuisine, the Telluride Wine Festival is a nonprofit organization. This year, all proceeds will be donated to the Telluride Medical Capital Fund.

"Come enjoy the greatest food and wine party of the year," says Keith Hampton, the festival's director. "Beautiful scenery, spectacular wines, awesome fun. Cheers."Tickets to each of the 25th annual Telluride Wine Festival's Special Reserve Tastings, $125 per person, are not included in any of the varioous other ticket packages. For more information, visit www.telluridewinefestival.com or call (970) 728-3178.