Delizio’s delights! Monthly wine dinners a hit in Bega Park neighborhood eatery

The Colorado Statesman

If you haven’t been to Delizio’s Café and Wine Bar in the last year then you really should go. They just celebrated their one-year anniversary on March 15, and deserve a lot of support for being gutsy enough to open a unique business this crazy economic climate.

Delizio's features a diverse wine selection.
Photo by Kimberly Dean/The Colorado Statesman
Owner Bob Mickus, shown here, and wife Laina are gracious hosts for this 1-year-old gem on Littleton’s Main Street.
Photo by Kimberly Dean/The Colorado Statesman
Delizio’s, located on historic Main Street in Littleton across from Bega Park, hosts monthly wine dinners.
Photo by Kimberly Dean/The Colorado Statesman
Delizio’s celebrated its one-year anniversary on March 15
Photo by Kimberly Dean/The Colorado Statesman

They are doing very well, and attracting new business all the time. This neat place is located on historic Main Street in Littleton across from Bega Park, which is the name of Littleton’s sister city in Australia. It is a great place to experience wine with food paired perfectly, either inside by the bar, or out on the patio. Just ask owner Bob Mickus which wine to drink with what dish, and he will surely point you in the right direction. Bob and his wife, Laina, are both very gracious hosts who are nothing if not genuine and unassuming.

Delizio’s hosts monthly wine dinners, and I attended their second on March 14, which was a smash hit! When you walk in the front door of their red building for one of these events, you will be greeted by one of the servers or Bob himself. You will be shown to your table, at which you’ll find literature describing the anticipated experience. (Ask for a table near the fireplace.)

I was told that Chef Miguel Martinez went through four separate trials to pair the correct wine with each dish, and in this case, he did very well. The “wine guy,” as he called himself, was Eric Butenhoff of Baroness Wines, and he reminded me of Kevin Spacey. Butenhoff-Spacey informed the small crowd of 18 that when pairing foods, the wine and the dish should “shake hands,” meaning that they should go together, taste-wise, to bring out the flavors of each other.

The other alternative would be to do the exact opposite. For example, a spicy curry dish with a sweet Riesling to complement each other, without competing. What you should never do is throw a dish and a wine together without any thought at all. You will fail, and neither the food, nor the dish will forgive you.

The first pairing of the evening was a green salad with grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto and drizzled with oil and vinegar and a hint of lemon, served with a Cabernet from Paso Robles AVA (American Viticultural Area) called Sultry Cabernet 2008. It is a “full bodied… red wine, deep burgundy red in color.” On your nose you have “rich currant, plum, black cherry and vanilla oak. There are slight, mouth-coating tannins on entry with a blackberry and cherry mid-palette. The finish is aromatic, clean and sustained,” according to the tasting notes.

The wine was very fruit-forward, meaning that you taste the actual grapes on the tip of your tongue right away. This is the kind of wine you could serve with almost anything. The dish was very savory, and in this case, it seemed that they were going for an opposite flavor pairing. It worked very well.

Next up was the Magness Cabernet 2009 from Napa Valley, which was a bit more complex, and the crowd seemed immediately taken. It was paired with a tortellini dish with Alfredo sauce, peas, onions and a kind of bacon that I couldn’t get enough of. Good thing I had another course to look forward to.

The main course was a beef stew with onions and carrots, and a fresh bread roll to sop up all the good juice as you finished your wine. This was my favorite pairing of the evening with 22 Black Cabernet, also from Napa AVA. Again we had black cherry, blueberry, cassis and toasty oak. Magnificent.

To top it off (as if I needed anything more) we enjoyed a Columbia Valley AVA (Washington State), Chateau Smith Cabernet coupled with a molten chocolate cake garnished with strawberries, whipped cream and chocolate sauce. I thought someone was going to have to carry me out on a stretcher!

Joyce C. Johnson, a regular, sat next to me. We chatted through the third and fourth courses, and she was real wine connoisseur. Johnson said of the Chateau Smith, “That was really my favorite. I’m ordering a half case!”