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Booze review: Malbec, Chardonnay, Imperial Stout

Daily Staff Reports
newsroom@vaildaily.com
Vail CO, Colorado

We review Pascual Toso Malbec, Montoya Chardonnay and The Abyss from Deschutes

They must exist, but I’ve yet to come across an Argentine Malbec that I don’t like. This 2007 Pascual Toso comes from the country’s Mendoza region at the foot of the Andes. Located in the western portion of Argentina, Mendoza is where some two-thirds of the grapes for Argentine wine come from. Hot and dry with cold nights and sandy soil, it’s the ideal climate for grape growing.

Malbecs are known for their deep red color and high tannins. They’re complex but approachable, and the Pascual Toso is no different. Even so, this is a Malbec with a few extra levels of interest than other bottles coming out of Argentina. It’s got high fruit on the nose with an oaky middle and smoky overtones that lead to a pretty smooth finish. There are so many different fruit notes going on in this wine that one could spend a few good hours contemplating a single bottle.



Although that might not be a bad way to spend an evening, the Pascual Toso begs to be paired with red meat or pasta ” it’ll hold its own and then some. For a wine in this price range, this bottle qualifies as a real find.

You can find this wine at Village Warehouse Wines in Avon, Avon Liquors and Pier 13 Liquor in Eagle-Vail.



” Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor

Galileo said “wine is sunlight held together by water.” During the winter months, and the cold, gray days that occasionally plague the valley, I often think of that quote as I uncork a bottle of wine. And a good bottle of wine might be the next best thing to a sunny day, or at the very least, it could improve your mood.

This chardonnay, from Arroyo Seco appelation of Monterey, Calif., was a little sunshine for me on a gray day last week. It helps that the medium-bodied wine is a sunny, golden straw color. The ripe pear and apple aromas and peach and melon flavors are also reminiscent of warm summer days. With a subtle hint of toasty oak on the finish, this wine is nicely balanced.



I paired my glass with aged cheddar and crackers as I typed up my very disjointed notes, but it would likely go well with chicken or fish.

“This is kind of a straight chardonnay match, so it would pair well with fish or any kind of chicken dish,” said Pete Cuccia, manager of Village Warehouse Wines in Avon.

“One of my favorite recipes is beer can chicken ” it would go great with that. Chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, that’s what I’d pair it with.”

You can find this wine at Village Warehouse Wines in Avon and West Vail Liquor Mart.

” Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

I was excited to try the latest brew from the Deschutes Reserve Series. Since moving to the area from the east coast, Deschutes has quickly risen to the top of my list of favorite microbreweries. As far as I can tell, they don’t make a bad beer.

The Abyss ” which was first released in 2006 ” is an imperial stout that’s aged in oak and bourbon barrels. Imperial stouts are known for their strong, rich, malt flavors. The Abyss is one of the more complex imperial stouts I’ve had.

After cutting the wax seal on the 22-ounce bottle and pouring some into a glass, I was immediately struck by how dark the beer was. It’s aptly named. A brown head and a fairly strong smell of both molasses and alcohol accompanied the pitch-black stout.

The first sip was complex and rich. There are hints of malt, chocolate and licorice, but the molasses and alcohol jump to the forefront ” the combination can be overpowering at times. The Abyss isn’t too bitter and the body is lighter than most of the imperial stouts I’ve had.

The Abyss’ 11 percent alcohol by volume and rich flavor make the 22-ounce bottle perfect for sharing with a friend.

“It’s a big beer,” said Nick Noesen of Avon Liquors. “It actually mellows out a bit with the oak aging. It’s something you can sit down for a while with.”

The Abyss is one of four in the Deschutes Reserve Series. The Oregon brewery releases small batches of the unique beers at various times throughout the year.

You can find this beer at Avon Liquors, Beaver Liquors in Avon and Pier 13 Liquor in Eagle-Vail.

” Chris Outcalt, Daily staff writer


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