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The wide selection of wines available at Palisade's Talon Winery. -Terri Cook

Behind the Vines: Talon Winery

Owned by an accomplished falconer, this Western Slope winery just south of I-70 features a variety of flavorful white wines.

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Although Glenn Foster worked alongside his dad, Reed Foster Sr., who co-founded Sonoma’s Ravenswood Winery, as a teenager, it wasn’t until he’d completed a decade-long stint in Colorado that Glenn and his wife Natalie returned to California to dive into the family industry. In 1995, after learning about our state’s flourishing Western Slope wine scene, the couple leapt at the chance to return to Colorado, where Glenn spent a few years working at several wineries across the region.

In 2005, the Fosters began producing wine under their own label, Talon Winery. After quickly running out of room in their cramped start-up quarters, in 2008, the duo purchased a three-pack of Palisade wineries—St. Kathryn Cellars, Meadery of the Rockies, and Confre Cellars (which was eventually phased out)—greatly expanding both their retail and production space, and creating their overarching company, Talon Wine Brands. Today they sell a diverse assortment of vino under three distinct labels: Talon Winery, St. Kathryn Cellars, and Meadery of the Rockies. Read on for more about the Fosters’ original label, Talon Winery:

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The Space: Conveniently located just south of I-70 in Palisade, Talon Winery’s tasting room is housed in a modern Victorian-style building adjacent to vineyards and the tall, brown Book Cliffs that frame the Grand Valley’s northern side. The interior features cheerful yellow walls, gleaming wooden floors, and an extra-large tasting counter that’s frequently crowded with thirsty interstate travelers. St. Kathryn Cellars is also located in this space, creating the largest tasting rooms and gift shop in the state.

The Grapes: Although the Fosters don’t grow grapes themselves, most of the fruit that Glenn uses to craft his wines is grown locally.

The Wine: Glenn sells several red wines under the Talon brand, but he tends to feature his whites, which range from dry to medium-sweet. To retain the grapes’ natural fruitiness, Glenn uses a special chilling system to ferment the grape juice while it’s cold. The result is evident in his 2015 Viognier, a pale-gold wine with hints of tropical fruit that pairs nicely with seafood and creamy sauces or cheeses. In contrast, the 2014 Gewurtztraminer, which is made from a spicier grape, has more floral scents and a sweeter and more citrus-rich taste, ideal for serving with sharper cheeses.

Buzzed Trivia: Glenn is an accomplished falconer, and his winery’s name reflects this passion. The eye-catching, black-and-white raptor labels and his two signature ‘Wingspan’ blends reinforce this unusual connection with nature.

Taste it: In summer, the winery is open Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Visitors can taste five wines for free; additional tastes cost $1 apiece. If you’re part of the growing number of Americans who enjoy rosé, be sure to try Talon Winery’s 2014 Rosato. A flavorful blend of Riesling and Merlot grapes, this dry rosé is perfect for sipping chilled on a steamy summer afternoon.

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Take Home: Talon Winery also offers a large selection of goodies and gifts, which range from knickknacks and BBQ gift boxes to wine jellies and sausages. But the most prominently featured item is fudge: colorful swirls of the decadent sweet in both traditional and unusual flavors, including peanut butter, chocolate caramel sea salt, and the sure-to-please strawberry chocolate dream.

Visit: Talon Winery is located at 785 Elberta Avenue, Palisade; 970-464-9288

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