This year, Copper Mountain Resort’s annual wine event, Copper Uncorked, which takes place over Presidents Day weekend, has an added twist — Valentine’s Day. The holiday of love gives a romantic emphasis to a weekend already dedicated to wine and dining.
Food and Wine
Starting on Friday, Feb. 14, restaurants around the resort will offer dinner specials featuring unique wine and food pairings. The “unique” aspect is offering wines paired with foods they’re not often paired with — zinfandel and a burger, for example, or pinot noir and mac-n-cheese.
“It always at its heart had our intent to figure out, ‘What could a wine event that is very Copper-ized be?” said event organizer Erin Woods. The event is meant to be funny, quirky and lighthearted, she added.
Saturday features multiple events, including the Wine-n-Wing Challenge. The competition pits Copper’s best restaurants and chefs against one another to create the perfect wine-and-wing pairing. These aren’t just ordinary buffalo wings, however.
“They’re really coming up with their own twist on the wing, pairing it with the varietal of the winemaker’s choice,” said Justin Peterson, executive chef at Copper Mountain. The emphasis is on taste and creativity, he added.
The wings are a little bigger than average chicken wings, more like a mini drumstick, he said. “It’s not as messy as you think.”
The event will take place outside, snow or shine, with each restaurant in its featured tent. Anyone is welcome to come and taste the wings and wine. Children are welcome to eat the snacks, as well.
“It’s outdoors and it’s finger food, and it’s in the afternoon; it’s après ski time,” Woods said. “People are coming off the mountain in their ski clothes, really casual, light-hearted, outdoors, definitely not stuffy or fancy in any way. … It’s definitely a casual kind of environment.”
In addition to a panel of judges, the crowd will get to vote for their favorite, as well. The winner receives a Big Green Egg cooker, a prize much coveted among the chefs.
Phil Brady, head chef at Endo’s Adrenaline Café, will be making a crispy chicken drummie confit, wrapped with prosciutto and stuffed with cheese, with fermented garlic and sesame sauce.
“I definitely wanted to put something there that they could pair a good wine with,” he said. “I mean, the cured flavor (of) the prosciutto, and a funky cheese in there, that leaves it way open for someone to be able to pair a wine with.”
In addition to a great prize and getting to be a bit creative, Brady is also looking forward to doing some taste testing of his own.
“All the different chefs look like they’re doing some very awesome flavors to the chicken wings, so there’s a lot to see,” he said. “I’m excited to try everybody else’s.”
“Everything is in alignment,” said Woods, in regards to the weekend’s full moon, which will add romance to the free Moonlight Snowshoe Tour following the wine-and-wings event, from 5 to 8 p.m.
Between six and eight Copper Mountain ambassadors will guide the tour, which begins just west of the West Village and takes a 3-mile loop through the snowy woods and an open meadow for stargazing. Four rangers from the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District will be along to talk about the environment and point out and identifying animal tracks.
“We’re hoping to see the full moon,” said Gail Shears, lead ambassador. “It also depends on the weather.”
A waiting list is currently available for the moonlight tour, and free snowshoe tours are given daily at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Guests can bring their own snowshoes or can rent a pair for $10.
Those who are not going on the snowshoe tour can enjoy “Love on Ice,” an ice-skating performance at 6 p.m., followed by a fireworks show at 7 p.m. over West Lake, located in Center Village.
“It’s a good time to be had,” Brady said.