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Pair Muscadet with seafood

Daily Staff ReportsVail, CO, Colorado
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There is only a few places in the world that grows cabernet franc well and the Loire Valley is one of them, said Mickey Werner, the winewiz from Alpine Wine and Spirits. This is a little surprising, considering most everyone thinks of the Loire Valley as white wine producing, Werner said. The valley is a real broad shallow flat wide river that runs across the northern strip of France and there are two or three great red wines out of the area.I agree. This ruby-colored wine has intense aromatic qualities with a hint of spice. Werner said he picked up wildflowers and a hint of violet in the nose. In the mouth, the wine is full and very balanced. Theres an underlying hint of blueberry and plum. The tannins are very soft, and Werner recommends serving the Chinon with food because of the high acidity levels. The Couly-Dutheil web site suggests serving the wine with roasted duck, chicken, lamb or grilled beef. It goes great with game this time of year, Werner agreed. It works really well with pork dishes and even foods that have a little sweetness, like pumpkin, squash or sweet potato.Caramie Schnell, Arts & Entertainment Editor

There are many different whiskeys out there, but you wouldnt want to drink most of them straight up. Ive always preferred my first love, Jack Daniels, mixed with Coke, and I wouldnt call what I do sipping, exactly, but Ive always appreciated it for what it is basic and familiar. But when it comes to Irish Whiskey, Bushmills exquisitely smooth Black Bush shouldnt be mixed with anything except maybe a good book or a conversation with friends on the front porch while the balding trees shed their fall foliage. Because this is not your typical party whiskey, if you dare mix it with anything, the integrity is lost. On the rocks, this particular water of life is magical. The secret to Black Bushs success lies with its blend. It is comprised almost entirely of single-malt whiskey, aged in sherry-seasoned casks, and then blended with small amounts of single grain whiskey to lighten it up a little bit. It still comes out darker than most blended whiskeys, and with much more aroma and flavor. Its flavor is rich and perfect for sipping. That sting at the back of your throat wont let you forget youre drinking whiskey, but there is no disappointment as the smooth taste sinks in and warms your body.I might never give up Jack and Coke on the weekends, but if I ever decide to step up to a little higher price-tag and much higher quality whiskey, Black Bush would be a step in the right direction. Charlie Owen, Daily Staff Writer

Sometimes all I want is the original. Trends can be great they expose you to different things but they can leave you craving the real thing. And for me, when I think wine, I think France. When I say the name of a wine in my head, I have to confess its always in a French accent. Mickey Werner, manager of Alpine Wine and Spirits in West Vail recommended a great French white wine, Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu 2005 from Clos de la Clemenciere.This wine is produced in the Loire Valley in the northwest coastal part of France and is made from the melon de Bourgogne grape, often referred to as melon. Usually French wines are named for the region they are produced in, but muscadet is the exception, instead named for its taste.The wine was light and crisp with fruit flavors, a mix of citrus and apple and finished with coconut. Werner said the variety is known for citrus flavors like lemon zest, which make for a bright, vibrant wine. Right out of the refrigerator it was incredibly light and tasted like it had far less than its 12 percent alcohol content. It was so easy to drink. The wine has high acidity and really should be paired with food.Muscadet and oysters are a classic pairing, Werner said. But it pairs with any shellfish, which tend to be oily, because the wine cuts right through it. The wine cleans your mouth out so your next bite of seafood will be clean.I paired it with a bay scallop pasta and it was delicious. Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer


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