Booze reviews in Eagle County |

Booze reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff Reports
Vail CO, Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” Though I’m not sure I would call this wine the “vintage of a lifetime,” as the winemakers have referred to it, it is a darn good red wine. This wine, a 70 percent merlot, 25 percent cabernet franc and 5 percent cabernet sauvignon/malbec blend, comes from the Bordeaux region in France (The French, like the Italians, name their wine after the region rather than the grape). Merlot can have trouble getting ripe, said Jarrett Osborn of Riverwalk Wine and Spirits in Edwards, but 2005 was an excellent year ” the grapes ripened nicely and produced a great vintage. Because of this, the Chateua Lagarde is about a dollar more than usual.

The first thing you notice about this wine is the herbal characteristics ” cedar, a hint of mint and some green tea. “In a bad year, those can turn into green pepper and grassy ” not so good,” Osborn said. “This wine has beautiful herbal characteristics. I get that dark berry, but you also get some tannins.” In Bordeaux, merlot has the tannins, while California merlot generally doesn’t. “You get that little kick on the finish with the French merlot, that’s main difference between the two,” Osborn said.

Pair this bottle with lamb or even a spicy prime rib, Osborn recommended. “It will certainly hold up to a steak but I’d go with a lighter cut. (The tannins) will cut through the fat in the prime rib.” If you decide to stick this bottle in your cellar, Osborn says three to five years will help to soften the wine a bit, but it’s great to drink now, too.

” Caramie Schnell, High Life editor

One of the challenges I find during wintertime is finding a white wine that fits with with the lower temperatures and the snow on the ground. White wine tends to be associated with words such as crisp and refreshing, but during the winter I tend to like flavors that are warm, rich and comforting ” all things I crave on a chilly, dark night. Sometimes I want a change of pace, though, and the Domaine Paquet White Burgundy provided something different.

Now, before things get confusing, a lesson in French wine will help clarify what kind of wine this is. Jarrett Osborn, wine geek at Riverwalk Wine and Spirits in Edwards, said that by French law, wines are named after the region they come from. This wine is from Burgundy, from the Macon Fuisse region. The region is known for producing good, inexpensive wine. French law also dictates which grapes may used and the quantity in all the wines. In this case, it is basically 100 percent chardonnay.

This begs the question, why drink this white wine when you can drink a bottle of California chardonnay? The answer is simple ” the difference is in the taste.

“The main difference is just the little bit of oak in the wine. It has more mineral flavors. It has a honey characteristic you don’t generally find in a $20 bottle from California,” Osborn said.

This wine will pair well with pretty much any seafood you can find, but it will stand up nicely to a lighter cream sauce, Osborn said. I can imagine that a shrimp and vegetable pasta dish with a rich butter and garlic sauce would be the perfect hearty meal to have with this heartier white wine.

The Domaine Paquet is worth a try at $19.99. I don’t think it is something I would keep around the house, but I would have it again ” or something similar ” when I am looking for something just a little bit different.

” Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer

Finally there is a beer you can feel good drinking ” New Belgium’s Mothership Wit is the company’s organic wheat beer. It has everything a wheat beer should, a pale yellow color and mellow citrus, wheat malt and coriander flavors. And, it has that something extra special ” it is organic and natural.

“It tastes better and is better for you,” said Geoff Moser, manager of Riverwalk Wine and Spirits in Edwards. Wondering why you have never seen the beer? New Belgium Brewery, of Fort Collins, a perennial favorite in Colorado, has been producing the beer for a while, but it was only available in kegs. Mothership Wit started to appear on liquor store shelves in September and has become a popular item, according to Moser.

“There aren’t that many organic beers out there,” he said. There are more and more organic wines appearing every day but New Belgium really has cornered the market for organic beer. And being a wheat beer it is easy to drink and enjoy. Pair it with, well, anything. It is a great addition to any meal. The spices in the beer pair well with fajitas, especially after a long day on the hill.

And why not? The beer is spicy with floral hints. And as all beer drinkers know, the flavor of wheat beers is enhanced by a slice of lemon. There is one more thing that helps this beer stand out ” the price. It is priced at $7.99 at six-pack, which is comparable to other New Belgium offerings.

” Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer

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