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Hot dogs with pinot noir?

Daily Staff ReportVail, CO Colorado
Caramie Schnell/Vail DailyOur Red, White and Brew picks this week are 2005 Tarrica Pinot Noir, 2006 Langhe Bianco Luna d'Agosto and Kona Longboard Lager.
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Tarrica Pinot Noir, 2005, Limited Edition, $15.69Is it possible to make a hot-dog dinner seem grown-up? I have often pondered the perplexing question ,and I finally have my answer in the form of a pinot noir – Tarrica Pinot Noir 2005. While wine and hot dogs usually go together like Bolognese and sushi, when Jarrett Osborn, of Riverwalk Wine and Spirits in Edwards, suggested this unusual pairing, I knew this was a wine I had to try – and I was not disappointed.This California pinot is from Monterey (proving there is more to Monterey than a fabulous aquarium), and all the grapes are from the Rio San Lucas Vineyards. The wine is a nice garnet color and has flavors of cranberry, cinnamon and cherry. There is a hint of vanilla, which keeps the wine from getting too heavy. The fruit flavors wash over the taste buds, and the acidity gives the wine some pep. It features medium tannins and an alcohol content of 13.5 percent. The wine spent 12 months in a mix of new and old (seasoned) American and French oak barrels. The vineyards say it was harvested in September 2006.Never fear – this wine is good with a lot more than hot dogs; after I tried the hot-dog recommendation, I paired it with a grown-up meal – a salad with figs, Roquefort and grilled steak finished with balsamic dressing. The wine is great with these bolder flavors and cut some of the bite of the vinegar. It complemented the meal nicely, but also would go with salmon and other, bolder fish like swordfish or tuna steaks. Obviously, a pairing with pasta also would work well. This wine is a great choice when you are looking for a red but aren’t looking for the heavy flavors that often accompany one.

-Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer 2006 Langhe Bianco White Wine, Luna d’Agosto, $16.49There’s very little chardonnay planted in Italy, which makes it hard to find an Italian chardonnay for less than $40 or $50. Enter Langhe Bianco, Luna d’Agosto. This wine, which runs $16.49, is somewhat of an anomaly. “To get something rare for under $20 is pretty cool – in any walk of life,” said Jarrett Osborn, resident wine guru at Riverwalk Wine and Spirits in Edwards.

Though I’ll usually opt for anything other than Chardonnay when out, Osborn’s description of this wine piqued my curiosity and the first sip sold me. The straw yellow colored wine has subtle greenish hues and a smooth flavor. The wine is dry, and most importantly, not too sweet. There’s a teeny bit of an almond characteristic, which Osborn attributes to the Cortese grape. Another thing that’s turned me off in the past about chardonnay, or at least cheap chardonnay, is any hint of oak. This wine is sans oak flavor since it’s aged in steel, rather than oak.”There’s a real strong mineral characteristic,” Osborn said. “You get the body of a chardonnay but you get to use it like a sauvignon blanc and pair it with seafood, like crab or shrimp, or light chicken dishes.”-Caramie Schnell, Arts & Entertainment EditorKona Longboard Island Lager, $8.10

I admit it, I might have initially chosen this beer because of the sandy beaches, palm trees and aquamarine-colored ocean splayed across the six-pack’s cardboard box and the bottles themselves. The words “liquid aloha” might have helped, too. I mean, who doesn’t crave the ocean after being landlocked for nearly a year? Kona Brewing Company was founded in 1994 and has since grown into Hawaii’s largest brewery. Kona is the top selling craft beer in the islands and their beer is sold in 17 states and Japan.”Longboard surfing in the shadow of Diamond Head has been a tradition for over 100 years at Waikiki Beach. Our Longboard Island Lager pays tribute to this grand history,” their web site, http://www.konabrewingco.com, reads. Their Longboard Island Lager has slightly spicy hop aromas and the first sip reveals an almost sweet, malty flavor. The lager is fermented and aged for five weeks at cold temperatures to yield the smooth flavor. “While the beer typically fairs well with lighter fare, it has enough flavor and body to stand up to some heartier foods, too. Try it with herb chicken on mixed greens, garlic twists and Greek pizza,” the web site recommends.-Caramie Schnell, Arts & Entertainment Editor


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