Red, White & Brew: With Independence Day around the corner, try domestic brands (column)
Alpine Wine & Spirits
Editor’s note: The Red, White & Brew weekly feature highlights drinks from local liquor stores.
So much quality American product is available these days. Especially in the wine and beer world. With Independence Day just around the corner, we will once again focus on domestic brands. They deserve our attention for many reasons but one of the most important to me is the fact that they continue to improve and evolve every year.
Predator Zinfandel from Lodi, California, is the wine with the ladybug on the label. Their sustainable way of grape growing ensures the health and vitality of the land. “Natural predation” is an eco-friendly strategy to control harmful critters in the vineyards. Ladybugs, along with predator mites, feed on destructive aphids. The wine itself is an intense, full-bodied wine with red fruit, blackberry and spice. Lingering tannins add to a long, smoky finish. And that smoky finish is just right and very balanced. Try it with your grilled meat — it’s a perfect match. A bottle of it costs $15.99.
Today we will mention a wine that is completely different and entirely captivating. Crisp, bright, refreshing and vibrant — that is Pine Ridge’s Chenin Blanc+Viognier blend. In France, Chenin Blanc and Viognier are grown in different appellations on opposite sides of the country and are never blended together. In California, however, a more relaxed and experimental approach is taken. And the result is astonishing. The 2017 vintage contains 17% Viognier but in 2018 there will be 22% — the most I’ve seen in the past 10-plus years. Always solid and consistent, a great value and worth the $15.99 you will pay for it.
Now that summer is officially here, we must pay tribute to the fantastic seasonal beers available. One of my personal favorites is Denver Beer Co.’s Maui Express Coconut IPA. If you love coconut as much as I do, then there is no need to tell you more. But if you are unsure about real shredded coconut in an IPA, know that it is easy drinking and refreshing. The coconut is a forward flavor, and it doesn’t cover up the citra and mosaic hops, which form a juicy fruit character. The most fabulous part is that drinking it may transport your mind to a sunny day at the beach. Come try it for $7.99 a six-pack until the end of June.
It’s been said that you eat with your eyes first. Serve up this delicious, nutritious and eye-catching salad at your next gathering.