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Royal Gorge Route Railroad Wine Train
by
Terry Sullivan

Royal Gorge Route Wine TrainThere is something about railroads and trains that capture nostalgia. When our children were younger we made several stops to Steamtown National Historic Site where adults became reminiscent and children climbed aboard trains. Trains still have an allure and a wine train captures the imagination. Our first wine train experience came in Colorado as we traversed the twenty-two miles of track along the Arkansas River from Cañon City, Colorado. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad follows the river as it meanders through the steeped-walled and often narrow gorge. For nearly ninety years passengers rode the train through the gorge. Passenger service ended in 1967 and the natural beauty of the gorge was hidden from travelers until the railroad reopened the route in 1999 for passenger service.

We boarded the train and walked up a stairway to the Vista Dome car. Tables were set for diners and wine tasters. Tables for two or four traversed the length of the car. Seats were plush with a cranberry velvet covering. Tables had white cloth tablecloths and cranberry napkins. A vase of miniature lilies added hues of pinks, yellows and orange to the setting. Our table was near the end of the car and was set with four wine glasses one-third full of wines and a glass of water. All wines were from Cañon City’s own Winery at Holy Cross Abbey. Featured wines included a 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, a 2006 Monterey Chardonnay, a 2006 Colorado Merlot and a 2005 Colorado Cabernet Sauvignon. Before the train started on its journey a plate of appetizers was served. The appetizers were prepared to match with the wines. We started our first appetizer and shortly thereafter the train began to move through the gorge.

Royal Gorge Route Wine TrainA crab cake with roasted bell pepper sauce was paired with the Sauvignon Blanc Reserve. The wine matched the vegetative notes of the appetizer. The crab cakes had a sweet finish which matched the perceived sweetness from the fruit aftertaste of the wine. The second appetizer was jumbo shrimp marinated in Italian dressing and served over artichoke, tomatoes, bamboo shoots and fresh rosemary. The appetizer was paired with the Chardonnay. This appetizer intensified the tropical fruit and apple tastes of the wine. The third appetizer was s stuffed chicken breast with kiwi vinaigrette over mixed green salad. It was paired with the Merlot. The Merlot overpowered the chicken, however the Sauvignon Blanc matched well. The last appetizer was a slice of roast beef with fresh dill cream cheese and a touch of horseradish with a mushroom reduction. It was paired with the Cabernet Sauvignon. The roast beef enhanced the cherry taste of the wine. It took time to taste the wines and food. Thoughts about the flavors of the wine and food are interrupted with the beautiful scenery, which demanded your observation and reflection.

A waitress asked what wine we enjoyed the most. She then returned with a full glass of the wine. This was just in time to stroll to an open observation car, wine in one hand and camera in the other. The train began to makes its way back toward Cañon City. The Arkansas River side of the train offered stunning views of the river and gorge. Several rafters braved the white water rapids with waves, shouts and occasional screams. The meandering tracks afforded sights of the engine almost directly opposite the open deck car. The train stopped below the Royal Gorge Bridge built 1000 feet above. A steady beat of camera clicks captured the miniscule people on the bridge a thousand feet away just as they were clicking their cameras of the train below. Continuing along the tracks one can observe the remnants of a redwood water line that was built along the rock side opposite the tracks. The water line transported water to Cañon City.

Royal Gorge Route Wine Train     Royal Gorge Route Wine Train     Royal Gorge Route Wine Train


The wine express offers a relaxing afternoon ride through the gorge with wines and appetizers. You have plenty of time to taste the wines and food and make your way to an open car and marvel at nature’s wonder and water’s power.

Royal Gorge Route Railroad
3rd Street, Off Highway 50 (Royal Gorge Blvd),
Canon City, CO


Visit this Colorado lodging facility that partners with Wine Trail Traveler.

                                      

Spero Winery
Wine Country Inn
 
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Copyright: Terry and Kathy Sullivan 2006-2014