You can imagine this, can’t you? People wearing colorful ski gear surround a warm and toasty outside fire pit as snow falls gently to the ground.  You hear the clip clop of ski boots worn by cold weather enthusiasts who are ready to join a vibrant crowd. Music and laughter fill the air. Bodies of these revelers may be aching but their spirits are high; each is ready to share their experiences of the day whether it includes skiing down the bunny slope, snowboarding from the highest peak, or snowshoeing across new terrain.  The vibe is energetic, carefree, and full of conversation.  It’s time for après ski and you’re invited!

My favorite winter sport is snowshoeing, yet the rest of my family is enthralled with snowboarding and skiing.  I love walking briskly through the snow and communing with nature and its silence, something that rarely happens in the hustle and bustle of my daily life.  The others prefer taking a few more risks. The challenge of swooshing quickly to the base from a high altitude with the snap of the cold wind in the face thrill them like no other sport.

One thing we do have in common, though, is to gather in the late afternoon over hearty appetizers or a rich fondue paired with a glass of something special.

I’ve been tasting plenty of wines lately (of course). As I swirled and sipped, I realized that each would be perfect for après ski imbibing. Trust me, if you love your post-adventure-in-the-snow wine as much as I do, these delicious choices (all sent as samples) will satisfy your palate as much as your day satisfied your sense of adventure.

Après Ski Bubbly and Rosé

You’re celebrating the best snowboarding moments of your life? It’s time for bubbly! A glass (or bottle) of Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs ($22) will help maintain your effervescence into the night. Light pink in the glass, I noted aromas and flavors of roses, cherries, strawberries, vanilla, and a hint of lemon with a creamy, ever so satisfying texture; the wine is 100% Pinot Noir. You’ll find those dancing bubbles as refreshing as your day on the slopes.

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Trust me, there will be more than one rosé lover in the après ski crowd. Share a bottle of Centine Rosé Toscana ($10), a luscious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sangiovese from Tuscany. I was smitten with the fresh, clean scents of strawberries and roses wafting from the glass. With snappy acidity and light tannins, this dry, refreshing rose presented flavors of red fruit and berries leading to a lasting, zingy finish. Try this approachable wine with a cheese plate or a hot cup of onion soup with gorgonzola and prosciutto. Après ski just became much more fun!

apres ski

Après Ski Whites

Those who are craving that first sip of white wine will find these choices as energetic as the day.

Crisp and invigorating, a glass of Terras Gauda 2015 O Rosal ($25) from Rías Baixas D.O in Spain will pair beautifully with a plate of cheeses, raw oysters, or roasted vegetables as you sip and share stories of the day. Pale gold with a hint of green, this wine (mostly Albarino with some Loureira and Caino Bianco grapes) burst with aromas of melon, stone fruits, orange peel, and honeysuckle.  On the palate, you’ll savor tastes of lemons, limes, more stone fruits such as juicy peaches, minerality, and dollop of honey.  Bone dry with mouthwatering acidity, the creamy finish will be a flavorful reminder of how you conquered the hardest slope on the mountain.

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The Borgogne Blanc JJ 2014 Vincent (about $18), a delightful Chardonnay from Burgundy, was ever so satisfying with each sip. Bursting from the glass were aromas of stone fruit, herbs, vanilla, freshly baked bread, and minerality leading to a balanced palate profile boasting medium acidity and subtle but dense notes of pear, stone fruit, and juicy green apple. Pair this beauty with appetizers of baked Portobello mushrooms, vegetable quiche bites, or (what the heck?) potato skins laden with the trimmings…You’ll be planning your next ski adventure in the French Alps before the bottle is finished.

apres ski
Rich, broad, and oh-so juicy was the Pacific Rim Yakima Valley Dry Riesling 2015 ($12), an exceptional choice for the Riesling lover who prefers a drier profile instead of one that is very sweet. Aromas of stone fruit, tropical fruit, petrol, and minerality were enticing; on the palate, I discovered a long rich mouthfeel with notes of peach, apricots, petrol, spice, and bracing acidity leading to a balanced, lengthy finish. This expertly crafted Washington wine will pair with that platter of fish tacos or baked oysters you’ve been eyeing on the menu…

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Après Ski Reds

Plenty of wine lovers will agree: there’s nothing like savoring a glass of delicious red wine after a day on the slopes.

Pinot Noir lovers will appreciate a bottle of Adler Fels Pinot Noir 2014, a lush and delicious wine of grapes from California’s Santa Barbara and Sonoma Counties. Sweet perfume, intense red fruit such as cherries, white pepper, and a hint of stone fruit were just a few of the aromas floating from the glass. On the palate, I discovered a balanced profile with medium acidity, integrated tannins, and subtle notes of maple syrup, cherries, and pepper. The finish was rich and lingering – just what you need to relax and reflect upon the day.  If you must, pair this Pinot Noir with your favorite paté, charcuterie platter, or lamb lollipops by the firepit…or just enjoy each glass on its own.

apres ski
What better way to warm your toes than with a glass of Scherrer Syrah Calypso 2012 ($45) in your hand? From grapes cultivated in Green Valley in Sonoma County, this seductive Syrah was rich, broad, and concentrated. Scents of herbs, olives, lavender, red flowers and juicy red fruits gave way to mesmerizing notes of chocolate, leather, blackberries, spice, and rustic herbs bolstered by brilliant acidity and tannins as smooth as your favorite slope of the day. A delicious food pairing? How about steaming bowl of chili or a platter of barbecued pork sliders shared with the crowd?

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You’ve spent a king’s ransom on lift tickets, so consider a Cabernet Sauvignon for après ski that’s a true value on your wallet as well as your palate. Chateau Montelena 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon ($53) fits the bill. Sit back and relax…you’ll crave aromas of rich red fruit, plums, cherries, and spice. On the palate, I found vanilla, juicy cherries, savory spice, and pepper. Its medium body, fresh acidity and beautifully developed tannins (you won’t believe how smooth until you have a taste for yourself) were exceptional. I enjoyed this Cabernet with a rich lasagna, but you may love a glass with braised short ribs and a side of pappardelle pasta as you’re under the warming lights at an outside bistro.

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Whether it’s in Chamonix, Park City, Turin, or Stowe, you’ll find plenty of snow aficionados who love their après ski endeavors.  Now there are a few more reasons to crave this part of an adventurous day. Let’s drink to that!

Cheers! ~ Cindy

 

 

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