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Breaking the boundaries of beer

Daily Staff Reports
Vail CO, Colorado
AE Red, White, and Booze TS 12-20-07
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This Sonoma County Zin is big and fruity. The goal with the ruby red wine, according to the bottle’s label, is to produce a wine with “dark fruit flavors of black raspberry and black cherry. The wine is aged in small oak cooperage to add structure and complex notes of vanilla and toast.”

“It’s a beautiful, bright berry fruit,” said Mickey Werner, wine wiz at Alpine Wine and Spirits. “I actually have customers who come from Boulder to get this Zin from me because they can’t get it in Boulder. It got its name because Tim Murphy and a bunch of producers would get together, they’d harvest grapes, look at them and they’d decide who’d get the best lots by playing liar’s dice.”

Werner said he’d pair this wine with seared Ahi tuna or even with barbeque ” “go to Moe’s, pick up some pulled pork and have that Zin ” that’s be great.”



” Caramie Schnell, High Life editor

When I find a wine that I like, I am always interested to try the vineyard’s other offerings to see how they match up. After tasting Matanza’s Creek merlot a few moths ago ” and loving it ” I jumped at the opportunity to taste the company’s Sauvignon blanc 2006.



The wine has bright citrus flavors ” think pink grapefruit and lemon. But it’s not all citrus, there’s also melon and figs. Matanza’s Creek is located in Bennett Valley, the next valley over from Sonoma in California. Mickey Werner, the wine wiz at Alpine Wine and Spirits told me that the grapes from Bennett bring in herb flavors. The company purchased grapes from over the hill in Sonoma to bring in the melon flavors.

“Sonoma is slightly warmer and brings in the melon and fig flavors to round out the wine,” he said. The wine, in my opinion, did have a really nice balance between the two, it was very enjoyable to drink and the flavors really come through. And it has a creamy finish, Werner pointed out.

“It is a real clean, real pure classic California Sauvignon Blanc,” he said. Right now the trend is to try to imitate New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs, which are brighter wines, but not for Matanza’s Creek Werner added.



Being a classic Sauvignon Blanc, this wine stands up well to a cream sauce, an excellent choice to warm you up after a day on the slopes. Werner also said to try it with spicy food, maybe a gumbo or a blackened catfish. And, of course, it goes great with shellfish such as oysters and shrimp. In that regard it will be an excellent addition to a New Year’s Eve party ” especially with all the classic appetizers.

” Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff writer

Calling Samuel Adams Utopias beer is a stretch, in my book, but that’s the point ” to break the boundaries of what people traditionally consider beer, according to the brewmaster.

This beer is extreme ” first, it’s 27 percent alcohol by volume, making it the strongest beer available in the world. (At around $130 a bottle, it’s likely one of the most expensive brews, too.)

Second, there’s no bottle or aluminum casing ” this beer comes in a copper-colored brew kettle-shaped bottle “reminiscent of copper kettles used by brewmasters for hundreds of years,” according to the companies web site. There’s only 12,000 numbered bottles of Utopias released world wide. So what does it taste like? Well, not beer, that much is for sure. There’s a distinct smell of honey and fruit on the nose; in the mouth, it tastes of coffee and a hint of molasses. To me it’s much more spirit than beer.

The 2007 edition of Utopias is a blend of brews, some of which have been aged for up to 13 years. Bourbon casks were used to age a portion of the beer, contributing to the distinct cinnamon, vanilla and maple notes in the brew. ” The beer is then finished in sherry and madeira casks from Portugal. The sherry casks add nutty, oak, and honey notes, while the madeira casks contribute slightly more elegant, creamy fudge-toffee aromas and flavors,” according to the press release. Experts recommend serving the beer in 2 ounce portions meant to be sipped.

” Caramie Schnell, High Life editor


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