What makes a wine ‘wild’ and is that even a good thing? The grower’s name, Kai Bab Sauvage, lends itself to the subtitle here. Sauvage is a French word, meaning ‘savage’ as in ‘wild,’ which fits when you consider that the young winemaker, Patric Matysiewski, has developed an exclusive technique to create their wines.
Kai Bab has been farming for 20 years and has put his experience to good use for the Sauvage Spectrum Winery, growing 26 different grape varietals. Combined with Patric’s unique entrance into the wine business their fruit-forward approach to wine an interesting addition to Western Colorado’s thriving wine industry.
Patric started out on the Eastern slope of the Rockies making beer, then moved on to make carbonated canned wine. Kai Bab approached Patric about making their own wines in the Grand Valley and the rest is, as they say, “history.” Their goal is to make their wines more fruit-forward and not oaky or yeasty, appealing to Millennials. The winery is known for its delicious, affordable sparkling wine, Sparklets, with the cost per bottle below $25. They choose to keep their wines unpretentious; for instance, using crown caps (like on a bottle of beer) instead of corks.
The winery also produces Pet-Nat, a sparkling wine that pre-dates Champagne (which the French claim was created by Dom Perignon in 1697). Pet-Nat is made the way the monks made their sparkling wines in 1531. Having lots of yeast, it drinks similarly to a beer and is 100% sulfite-free.
Sauvage Spectrum has another trick up their sleeve. They are a “custom-crush winery” creating wines for labels that are not their own. They do everything from selling their grapes, their juice, bulk wine, and even bottled wines for other winemakers. Yes, Patric can even be their winemaker! I had to ask Patric why they would do that. Aside from the obvious profit motive, he said, “It’s fun to see other people’s dreams come true and be part of that process.”
The winery has two full-time employees: Patric, owner and winemaker, and Elijah Columbia, cellar master. Kai Bab is the owner and grape grower (his full-time occupation is farming). Natasha Sauvage oversees their HR needs. They self-distribute their wines and encourage bar and restaurant owners to sell the wine from kegs. The wine flavor is not affected in the process and the cost to the bar or restaurant is a few dollars per glass, which allows them to make a profit selling wine.
Although Patric and Elijah are always busy working the winery, they feel called to support the local wine community and the community at large. They have joined with other wineries and businesses in the area to create the “Winter Wine Tour” of Palisade. The $70 tour includes wine tastings at four Colorado wineries and lunch at the Palisade Café and Wine Bar. Transportation is available with Pali Tours and accommodations are available at the Spoke and Vine Motel.
Sauvage Spectrum has partnered with the Wildland Firefighter Foundation collaborating with Infinite Monkey Theorem Winery to create ‘Ignition Alliance’ wine with 20% of the proceeds going to families of firefighters who have been injured or died in the line of duty. The stunning label on the wine was created by an 18-year-old local artist.
The answer to the question is, yes, wild wine is a good thing when that means delicious wine is created in new ways. Visit Sauvage Spectrum winery and “celebrate every day.”