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A bright pinot perfect for Thanksgiving

Daily Staff ReportsVail, CO, Colorado
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Theres something about a good wine that can leave you weak in the knees. After sipping half a glass of this bright, fruity pinot noir, that was my first thought. The grapes in this wine grew on the Sonoma Coast, about 25 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The clusters of fruit were picked in the early mornings in September and October and cold soaked for five days to intensify the color and flavors, before being fermented. After aging the wine for seven months in 100 percent French oak, the winemaking team at La Crema layered the final blend.And what a blend it is the wine opens with aromas of ripe cherries with a touch of spice. In the mouth you taste flavors of cherry, plum and even a hint of orange peel. Melissa [Stackhouse] is a really talented winemaker, she is making absolutely stunning pinot noirs for La Crema. Theyre shifting the focus in their pinot program a little bit towards Russian River and Sonoma County, just because she likes that brighter style of fruit in the wines, said Mickey Werner of Alpine Wine and Spirits in West Vail. Its more fragrant, more elegant, with a little more red cherry and plum in those wines. The oak doesnt quite come into play, shows up as a little more tea leaf and white pepper spice in the Sonoma Coast bottle.Pinot is the perfect Thankgiving wine, Werner said. It picks up the earthy textures of the bird and also has enough fruit to pair well with sweet potatoes, cranberry, everything thats sweet in the meal. I stay away from Cabernet and Merlot generally because its too tanic for Thanksgiving thats my personal preference. Caramie Schnell, Arts & Entertainment Editor

November is here and that means Thanksgiving and snow, hopefully a lot of it is right around the corner. And while the third Thursday of November brings together family and friend and gives us a chance to say thanks, it really brings the chance to do some quality eating. And is there a sadder sight than a feast without wine? I dont think so. But never fear, Freemark Abbey Chardonnay 2004 is the perfect white accompaniment to your feast.Yes, I said it. There is a white wine that will accent all your homemade deliciousness and unlike a red wine, it wont finish the job the turkey started and put you in a permanent food coma. Mickey Werner of Alpine Wine and Spirits said this is a classic Napa Valley white. This wine can really stand up to a variety of flavors, including cream dishes and bigger-fowl tastes like quail.The wine has the depth to follow through, Werner said. He said some of the white wine from the region can be flabby, but not this one. The chardonnay also has a good acidity. It has a real pure butterscotch flavor. It encompasses golden apple and a little bit of oak.Werner said that the winery has had the same winemaker for 20 years and he always produces a great wine. But if you havent heard the name in while its not because the wine had a few bad years, but that the winery has experienced old name factor, which is when people know its good but want something new and different. The chardonnay can be ordered at the companys Web site http://www.freemarkabbey.com for $20. But most of the local liquor stores can order it for you and check around to see if any store plans to carry it in the future. Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer

Different doesnt have to be a euphemism for bad, it can actually just mean different. And that is probably the best description for Tanqueray Rangpur. The gin is distinctive from the gin you know and love (or hate).The company really focused on the lime flavor, said Mickey Werner, manager of Alpine Wine and Spirit. And you can definitely taste it, but a rangpur lime has very little in common with the green citrus fruit that you are picturing. The fruit, which comes from and mostly likely originated in Rangpur, India, is a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon. It is highly acidic and has orange flesh and peel. But the gin still has the flavor of juniper that its usually associated with, as well as a little basil.Tanqueray Rangpur also has a lower alcohol content 84.6 percent compared with gins usual 95 percent making it lighter, and easier to sip. Werner said this gin should be served solo on the rocks. But if you are a dedicated fan of gin and tonics, try using less tonic water than usual.If you are looking to eat something with your liquor try seafood. Along those lines consider something classic really get into the gentlemans club feeling that is inherent to gin. In that vein try a traditional crab cake. Werner said you cant go wrong with shrimp and cocktail sauce.Tanqueray Rangpur has enjoyed a lot of good press since it debuted in 2006. But if you like your gin traditional and see no reason to change it, this is likely not for you. But if you are willing to give something new and, yes, different, give it a try. Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer


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