Two of the things that I most enjoy when hiking in the Colorado mountains are the depthless blue sky over my head and the array of wildflowers at my feet, and during a recent visit to Boulder, I had an experience that combined both these pleasures – and then amplified them considerably. I was walking near Wonderland Lake when I noticed what I thought was a Larkspur. I have always loved this flower, in part because it has a second, equally beautiful name – “Delphinium,” from the Greek for “Dolphin.” It acquired this name because of the shape of its nectary, but I like to think that its etymology derives in part from the fact that in its blue inflection this blossom resembles the Aegean Sea, so beloved by the Greeks.
In any event, I was wrong, because the flower in fact proved to be Wild Blue Flax, and I was so taken with its singular charms that I went home and returned with a bottle of wine that I intended to sample and review that afternoon – Virage 2010 Napa Valley Rose’ ($24) – and photographed them together. This was a sound decision on my part, because this remarkably refreshing wine is as lovely as the garland of flowers that surrounds it. Made from a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it has delectable cherry and berry flavors complicated by hints of apple, spice, and hibiscus tea, with delicate notes of pomegranate lingering in the background. Unfortunately, like so many good things in this world, Virage 2010 Napa Valley Rose’ is available in a very limited quantity (alas, the winery produced just 54 cases), and so I suggest that readers acquire a bottle or two as soon as possible. And if they do, I promise that they will find themselves enjoying a wine with an uncommon power to enliven the spirit – like the sea does, for instance, or the sky, or . . .