Sip and Ski in Vail

Wine lovers will find excellent off-slope drinking and dining in this Colorado culinary town.

While known for fabulous ski hills and snow-dusted peaks, Vail also hosts a top-notch scene for wine lovers. After a long day of skiing, forget about hot chocolate—go for a glass of wine paired with a meal featuring the finest in Colorado meats and produce.

At Bol. a bowlingalley dream for foodies and wine drinkers, choose from 21 wines by the glass (from Napa Valley’s Mount Veeder Winery to France’s Olivier Leflaive) or off of a 100-bottle wine list. Located in Vail Village, the food—served in the dining room, bar area or brought to your lane—goes beyond popcorn and burgers; bites include American Kobe rib eye or Colorado corn fritters.

Block 16 Restaurant hosts monthly wine dinners that bring the winery owner or winemaker to this contemporary-styled restaurant. Its private-label Cabernet Sauvignon, produced by Page Wine Cellars in Napa Valley, features exclusive label artwork from Manuel Felguerez, Mexico City’s most famous abstract artist.

At Kelly Liken, her namesake restaurant in Vail Village, Chef-Owner Liken—who appeared on Top Chef D.C.—crafts dinners inspired by the seasons. Wine Director Rick Colomitz (Liken’s husband) culls wines mostly from California and France, with a few Colorado selections too. Sixty are available by the glass, some in three different pour sizes.

Tucked into the Four Seasons Vail is Flame Restaurant, where Chef Jason Harrison sources ingredients from as many local farms as possible and strives to get diners out of their comfort zone with dishes like savory granola served alongside foie gras. The diverse, 11-page wine list ($36–$1,935 per bottle, plus many by-the-glass options) is also available in the Fireside Lounge and its adjacent outdoor terrace complete with fur blankets to snuggle up in.

Just 20 feet from the Eagle Bahn gondola in Lionshead, Tavern on the Square pours 18 wines by the glass, including Veuve Clicquot, to sip on the outdoor patio kept warm by a fire pit. Or keep toasty inside this cozy gastropub with a small-plates menu that changes weekly but often includes locally raised game meats and comfort foods like brie-and-prosciutto grilled cheese.

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