Ladrón Cellars opens wine tasting room in Englewood
Richard and Tracy Crockett smuggle grapes into Englewood and show the results to their Ladrón cellars tasting room, which opened on November 5 at 11435 East Briarwood Avenue.
The name Ladrón translates to “thief” in Spanish, a nod to the fact that the grapes used here come from various vineyards on the central coast of California as well as western Colorado. “It was always about focusing on finding the fruit that would produce the style we love,” says Tracy, which means investing time in research and tasting.
The couple first showcased their wines at various wine festivals and farmers’ markets while working full-time in IT. “We both had a passion to create something that you could be proud of,” Tracy notes, adding that it’s “a lot more fun than computer science”.
They also traveled extensively to taste and learn about winemaking, making trips to New Zealand; the Moselle and the Kaiserstuhl in Germany; the Rhône Valley (Hermitage, Côte Rôtie and Chiateauneuf-du-Pape) and Burgundy in France; and all over Washington state.
In the Californian vineyards, the Crockett’s source their supplies mainly from Rhône grape varieties such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, as well as Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. From the west side, the emphasis is on Bordeaux grape varieties for the reds – Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc – and Viognier for the white wine. “We source from some really amazing wineries,” says Richard – twelve in total, including Rancho Boa Vista Vineyards, Bien Nacido, G2, Defiance, Glenrose, Zaca Mesa, Jada and BookCliff Vineyards in Colorado.
The couple’s goal is to show examples of styles of wine that people cannot gravitate towards and to broaden an individual’s wine experience. For example, although oak is used in the Ladrón cellar process, it is not as intense as other wines. “I believe our style of Rhone Valley grape varieties – Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre – provide the traditional fruity wine that is not hidden by aging in oak barrels,” says Richard. “The grapes show not only the big dark fruit notes, but other flavors such as licorice, beef jerky, dusty cola, saltiness and baking spices.” These aromas are very concentrated in the grape varieties of the Rhône Valley, very different from the traditional assemblages of Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir, he explains.
Artwork on all bottles is by Phil Lear of Colorado Springs. Richard talks about wine with Phil, who is then able to create an amazing painting to capture it and bring it all together.
The Crocketts are clearly doing something right; they received a Colorado Governors Cup silver medal for their white wine blend, Evidence. Two other wines, Graffiti and Grafter, received a 90 point rating from wine reviewer Jeb Dunnuck.
The urban tasting room brings the cellar to the city. “You can spend a Wednesday and still have that full experience,” says Richard. They describe the tasting room as very elegant but comfortable, with a modern mountain feel. There is a large dog-friendly patio with mountain views as well as tours, live music, yoga, charcuterie classes, and space to host private events.
Ladrón Wineries offer flights, which is a great way to try something new. “It’s almost inevitable [a guest will] say, ‘I’ve never tasted a white wine like this,’ ”notes Tracy.
Bites Yayas Euro Bistro in DTC are available to accompany to vino. “They create meat and cheese pairings for our wine flights that show how food can complement and change the taste of wine together,” says Richard.
Grifter, for example, has notes of pepper, wood, currant, leather, tobacco and cherry and goes well with a pressed goat cheese with fine herbs. The graffiti is accompanied by gorgonzola cheese, Kalamata olives and spicy nuts. Stowaway is described as a very spicy dry wine thanks to the Syrah and Petite Sirah grapes from the warmer climate of Paso Robles. “This one calls for a triple cream like a super soft brie on a crostini,” notes Richard. “Let this wine do the talking and let the brie provide the texture needed to delight the palette.”
Ladrón Cellars is located at 11435 East Briarwood Avenue in Englewood and is open 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information visit ladroncellars.com.