Flights of Fancy :: Inverness Hotel, Colorado

Inverness Hotel's Fireside Lounge -- Englewood, ColoradoHaving some time to kill often leads me to great new discoveries, and the hours between a recent afternoon doctor’s appointment and meeting friends for dinner was no exception.

My doctor’s office had moved to Denver’s far southern suburbs where a food, shopping and nightlife boom has been underway for a couple years. With not much else to do after the appointment, I headed over to the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center to have a glass of wine and snack, check email and see what was new at one of that area’s first luxury destinations. How were the decades-old hotel’s restaurants and bars holding up amid all the new competition? Just fine, I found out.

The Inverness restaurants have, based on a look at their menus, stayed current and interesting under the guidance of Executive Chef Anthony Sinese. The best discovery was the tasting flights being offered in the comfortable Fireside Lounge with its view of the resort’s PGA championship golf course. The Lounge offers about as many flights as some airlines: nine wine flights, four cheese flights and two decadent chocolate flights.

Who can resist small tastes of wine, cheese and chocolate on an otherwise boring afternoon? Not me, so email was forgotten while I sampled. All of the wine flights are priced from $9 to $14 and have clever or simply silly names. “Drawing a Blanc” features three very different whites from Spain, Germany and France while “The Godfather” included three Italian reds. There’s a flight of Spanish reds, a flight of Pinots and the “Action Jackson” flight which includes three Kendall-Jackson reserves. I opted for the “Spanish Siesta” selection of reds, having recently decided to learn more about Spanish wines.

The cheese flights include Colorado-made cheeses such as the wonderful Haystack Mountain goat cheeses and MouCo soft cheeses as well as a flight of robust offerings “not for the faint of palate.” The “Backpacking” flight includes four cheeses that would be great to take on a long hike with some crusty bread and cured meat: Haystack’s Snow Drop, Queso de Mano, Cashel Blue and Pecorino Tartufo.

The $10 chocolate flights, which I looked at but didn’t taste, include a rich collection and a nutty one. The “Excessive Indulgence” is made up of a semi-sweet chocolate, a citrus caramel praline and a cassis pistachio praline while the “Bourgeois Delight” comes with milk- and dark chocolate-covered almonds, dark chocolate with nuts and dried cherries and a macadamia praline.

Take-home tasting sheets with room for making notes are available with each flight.

For directions to the hotel or more information, go to www.invernesshotel.com.

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