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Carlton McCoy, pictured, is the wine director at The Little Nell.


The Benefit of La Carafe

By Kelly J. Hayes

Photo by Jessica Grenier


Two familiar faces from The Little Nell debut a side project that’s palate-pleasing and philanthropic.

The most meaningful projects are built on heart and soul. The Little Nell’s wine director, Carlton McCoy, and food and beverage director, Csaba (Chubby) Oveges, have combined both of those with French soil and good taste in their emerging wine project, La Carafe. Three years ago, the pair embarked on a venture to create a portfolio of wines that would reflect the authentic deliciousness of the table wines of France. They also wanted to help fund a trio of Aspen charitable ventures.  

  “In the autumn of 2016, Carlton and I took a car trip through the wine regions of France looking for producers we could work with to produce affordable, accessible French wines,” explains Oveges. “It was also part of our plan to give back to the community that has been so good to us,” adds McCoy.

  The result of their journey was the release this past year of a selection of high-quality, unpretentious French wines made in conjunction with small independent producers the pair met on their trip. La Carafe’s wines include a Chablis-style chardonnay, Hautes Côtes de Nuits Blanc, from a subregion of Burgundy; as well as a rouge (syrah, carignan mourvèdre) and a rosé (grenache and syrah) made with Vincent Dubernet from Corbières in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

  The first release was an immediate success with their allotments selling out nearly instantaneously. La Carafe wines can currently be found at Of Grape & Grain ($28 per bottle) and on wine lists throughout Aspen. Beginning this fall, after their first accounting, 100 percent of all proceeds from the La Carafe wines will be awarded to The Buddy Program, Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club and the Shining Stars Foundation. Heart and soul in action.