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Democrat Wine Has a Colorado Label

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How do you make a Democrat whine? That’s easy: Threaten one more upper-class tax cut, and then order him to give Antonin Scalia a sponge bath.

But, what about a Democrat wine? Patrick Laguens, a Fort Collins chef and restaurant proprietor, owns the rights to the party-oriented label, which will be served during dinners and events at the Governor’s Mansion during convention week.

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Laguens blends merlot and cabernet franc grapes — a right-bank Bordeaux style, he says — to embody the party of FDR, the Kennedys, and Obama in a bottle. (That’s right, liberals will have to get over the whole red-is-for-Republicans, blue-is-for-Democrats axiom, because blue spirits have a 20/20 at the end of their name.)

The wine is among four varieties that Laguens has previously released under the Astrology Series label, including a chardonnay, a syrah and a cabernet sauvignon. He first started his wine-making venture about four years ago, as a négociant, a French term for merchants who buy grapes from several different growers to make their own wines.

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“In the U.S., we have more grapes and resulting juices than we have livers to consume it,” Laguens says.

Laguens tasted 700 different grape juices from California before selecting his wines. He chose the merlot/cab franc for the Democrat label simply because it’s a personal favorite and easy to drink: “It’s one you can pull the cork on and it’s good to drink right away.”

A wonk could probably ascribe the wine’s traits to particular Democratic virtues, but let’s just say it’s an elegant yet accessible red that goes great with food.

Staff from the governor’s office sampled the wine and the fare at Laguens’ new restaurant, Plank, earlier this year. A group (without Governor Ritter) traveled to Fort Collins for a meal, shortly before the establishment officially opened its doors.

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Laguens has had his brushes with party royalty before. As a chef, he used to cook for the late Texas Governor Ann Richards and at other D.C. party fundraisers.

These days, Laguens is getting Plank up and running. The restaurant frequently changes its menu to offer fresh meals and food ideas (entrees range between $13 and $24).

Laguens’ wine won’t be at that other party convention in Minneapolis. He does own the rights to a Republican label but hasn’t actually produced any yet. So, how would Laguens make a Republican wine?

“We were joking we’d use the same bottle, but charge $15 for one and $25 for the other,” he says.

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