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Taste of Wine: Rico’s road trip to Colorado and Utah

With Covid-19 waning and the country reopening, it was time for a road trip to two of my favorite places in the United States – Beaver Creek, Colorado, and Springdale, Utah (bordering Zion National Park).

With a full tank of gas and my wife ready for co-pilot duties, all I needed was a green light from Senior Editor Frank for this week’s column and I was off!

I will cover a pair of fine dining Italian ristorantes and two restaurants with breathtaking views. First is Zino’s Ristorante in Edwards, Colorado, a few miles from Beavercreek and run by GM Adam Salvaggio and Owner/Exec Chef Nick Haley, an amazingly talented culinary expert who could be a celebrity chef with his passion for food excellence, creativity, and personality.

Chef Nick personally prepared and presented items from each section of the menu including some new ones that will debut in the summer menu that launches June 22.

Chef Nick spoiled us with the Mais Neapolitan-style pizza with Olathe sweet corn, homemade pancetta, caramelized onions, lemon Panna, Mitica cheese and tarragon.

This was one of the best pizzas I have ever experienced! Other highlights included the gnudi – roasted beet and goat cheese “gnocchi” with heirloom tomatoes, garlic, crispy kale and shaved parmesan.

Dulivia Ristorante
Fork-split Wild Boar Osso Bucco topped with pesto and served with chickpea, carrots and mint at Dulivia Ristorante in Springdale, Utah. Photo by Rico Cassoni

This was light in texture and beautiful in color. Also, the Burrata Ravioli shown above is updated for the summer menu with bay scallops, manila clams, shrimp, lobster butter sauce and hints of lemon along with a homemade ricotta cheese filling.

“My goal is traditional classics with my own style using farm-to-table and local abundance food sources such as the pancetta made on-premise,” Chef Nick said.

With dinner I enjoyed the 2018 Cerbaiona Rosso di Montalcino and Vietti Nebbiolo Langhe Perbacco.

“The new summer menu features an easier to understand and more intuitive beverage menu,” Salvaggio said during dinner.

Thank you, Chef Nick and Adam, for an amazing evening.  Zino’s is a must for anyone in the Beaver Creek area! See zinoristorante.com.

The second Italian venue is the newly opened Dulivia Ristorante in Springdale, Utah. Along with its next-door sister restaurant, Switchback Grille, they bookend Springdale’s fine dining. Both are owned and operated by Kristen and Michael Marriott.

Dulivia customers are greeted with beautiful art, indoor and outdoor seating areas that overlook the Watchman Mountains, classical guitar and jazz music and a stunning 400 bottle glass wine cooler display. Most impressive was how smooth Dulivia was running for having been opened only one week.

Our server Angelique was knowledgeable about the menu and the extensive Italian wine selection. We were warmly greeted by hosts Brook and Estrella.

Chef Miguel Aliaga, formally trained in Italian cuisine based on his time spent training in Italy, was at the top of his game with a menu of classic dishes covering all of Italy vs any specific region.

The Watchman Zion
Breathtaking view of Zion’s The Watchman summit from the patio seating area of King’s Landing Bistro. Photo by Rico Cassoni

We started with rustic house-made Italian bread with roasted peppers, cream of beans, and olive tapenade along with imported Burrata cheese served with poached pears and a balsamic reduction.

For dinner, I had the Wild Boar Osso Bucco with chickpea, carrots and mint. This was beyond fork split. The meat was falling off the bone. Chef Miguel also let me sample the Tagliatelle Bolognese, one of my favorite pasta dishes.

The meat sauce clung to the homemade wide noodles allowing the deep, rich flavors of the bolognese to marinate in my mouth with the affordably priced by-the-glass ($9) 2016 Bibi Graetz Casamatta Toscana Rosso.

The Rosso had cherry on the nose with red fruit on the palate complements the richness of the Osso Bucco and bolognese. We finished with tiramisu, heavenly mascarpone enveloping espresso-soaked ladyfingers, topped with chocolate powder. Thank you, Kristen, for the opportunity to dine with Dulivia.

You, Michael, Chef Miguel, and your Team are off to an amazing start!  Anyone going to Zion must include Dulivia in their dinner plans. See details at dulivia.com.

With the following accolades, AAA Four Diamond Award for 25 years, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, OpenTable Diner’s Choice and Beaver Creek #1 Restaurant Rated By Trip Advisor, Grouse Mountain Grill (GMG) in Beavercreek, Colorado, is an easy fine dining choice.

GM Daniel Schoenfelder sat us at the best table in the restaurant with a breathtaking view of Beaver Creek Mountain and beautiful green trees vs. a bustling winter ski resort.

Exec Chef Anthony Ferrozzo prepared a mouthwatering pan-seared Alaskan halibut served with a corn and fava bean succotash, handmade gnocchi and carrot lobster jus. Chef Tony shared a sample of the to-die-for Olathe Corn Soup.

I highly recommend checking out GMG and having both the corn soup appetizer and halibut. See grousemountaingrill.com.

Our road trip column concludes with King’s Landing Bistro (KLB) also in Springdale, which offers the best view of the Watchman Mtns from its quaint and romantic patio seating area.

It is worth going to KLB even for a glass of wine and an appetizer to savor this view and enjoy the farm-to-table seasonal menu. KLB is owned and operated by husband and wife chef team Thomas King and Phu Nguyen.

I had a 14-ounce Creekstone Farms Duroc Pork Porterhouse served with roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts, bacon lardons, seasonal chutney and basil along with a J Lohr7 Oaks Cab Sauv. This was a great dinner pairing! Details at klbzion.com.

I highly recommend dining at all these restaurants when in Beaver Creek or Springdale. Please tell them Rico from Taste of Wine and Food sent you!

— Story by Tech Director/Writer Rico Cassoni.

Wine Bytes
Chandler’s Oceanfront Dining now has live music this Sunday and every Sunday this Summer in Carlsbad, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Happy Hour also returns Friday thru Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Join Chandler’s on the outdoor patio and indoor dining room. For more info call 760-683-5500.

Register today for the virtual Wine Classic presented by the University of San Diego and Seth O’Byrne on Saturday, July 10. Join in for guided wine tastings, an online winery marketplace, silent and live auctions and lots more. This is a free event. Register at ranchandcoast.com.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator. View his columns at tasteofwineandfood.com. Reach him at [email protected]