Raise a Grand Tasting glass: Complement gourmet eats on Saturday with wine from all over the world | VailDaily.com

Raise a Grand Tasting glass: Complement gourmet eats on Saturday with wine from all over the world

Kim Fuller

VAIL — Taste of Vail is coming to a close on Saturday, but the grand foodie finale is still to come. Saturday night's Grand Tasting and Silent Auction is the ultimate decadent date; the king of all things culinary. The event will feature all of Taste of Vail's participating wineries and restaurants, spirits and beer, as well as an auction to aid digestion.

Let your taste buds lead the way, but it never hurts to do a little wine research before you go. Here are a cup-ful of domestic and international wineries to get you started:

Bodegas Muriel — Rioja, Spain

Bodegas Muriel is a third generation family-owned winery. The cellars are in the historic village of Elciego, which is known for being surrounded by some of the best "terrior" in Rioja. All of their wines are 100 percent Tempranillo.

Family member and winemaker Jose-Maria Ryan Murua, known as Chema, will be representing the winery at this year's Grand Tasting.

At the Grand Tasting, try:

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Muriel Crianza

Characteristics: This Tempranillo has mature oak aromas of vanilla and coconut combined with notes of balsamic and dark red fruit with hints of licorice. The palate is full and elegant, leaving a very pleasant sensation in the finish. It is the perfect wine for everyday drinking.

Pairings: This wine is ideal for Spanish tapas, lamb, beef or cured cheeses.

Muriel Gran Reserva

Characteristics: After fermentation this Tempranillo is aged in American and French Oak barrels for 30 months and then aged another 3 years in the bottle before release. This wine will age gracefully; it develops into a combination of fine oak (vanilla, herb and spices) with dried fruit, such as raisins, caramel and a hint of leather and tobacco.

Pairings: Try the Gran Reserva with strong cheeses, aged beef and fish.

Chateau de Sours — Bordeaux, France

Chateau de Sours has been producing wine for more than 200 years. They have a relatively small annual production of red, white and rose wines, as well as their Reserve de Sours sparkling rose.

"Chateau de Sours is delighted to attend this Vail food and wine event, and to be able to present and pour our red, white and rose wines in the snow," said proprietor Martin Krajewski, who is representing the winery at the Taste of Vail. "[Our] classic Bordeaux wines produced in a modern style with a soft, light and fresh touch and ready to be enjoyed any time, any place and anywhere."

At the Grand Tasting, try:

La Source Blanc 2011

Characteristics: This wine is pale lemony-yellow color with a slight green hue. The nose holds hints of tropical fruits, grapefruit and pineapple. Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris give a well-balanced structure to the blend's citrus notes.

Pairings: Enjoy this white with Ratatouille-style preparations, as well fresh and brightly flavored dishes.

Clos Cantenac, St Emilion Grand Cru 2011

Characteristics: Clos Cantenac 2011 is made from 100 percent fully ripe young Merlot. The wine shows a deep dense cherry red, with a lively nose of blackcurrant, blueberries and raspberries with a lush aromatic range of fresh red berries, fragrance, cigar, mocha, truffles, spice and a very subtle hint of graphite.

Pairings: Sip alone, or try it with creamy brie cheese.

Valentin Bianchi — Mendoza region, Argentina

Valentin Bianchi is the largest and oldest family-owned winery in Argentina. It is located 250 kilometers south of Mendoza. The soil is a little more chalky than some Mendoza-style wines, as it is surrounded by a cooler climate influenced from the Andes Mountains. While Argentina is known for its Malbec wines, Valentin is known for its Cabernets as well.

Federico Nino will be representing the winery at this year's Grand Tasting.

At the Grand Tasting, try:

Famiglia Chardonnay

Characteristics: This wine is a soft pale yellow. It is aromatically complex with alluring hints of vanilla, apples and spices enriched from new oak. The nose carries added nuances of coconut and clove. There is a rich, silky mouth-feel, with a refreshing acid balance and a long, pleasant finish.

Pairings: Try the chardonnay with creamy pasta dishes, lobster, chicken of any kind — or just a plate of cheese and bread.

Enzo Bianchi

Characteristics: This is the winery's flagship "Bordeaux style blend" combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot. This vintage is violet red color, showing fruit aromas of plums, black cherries and mulberries mixed with spices, and leading to mature fruit and spice on the palate.

Pairings: Best with red meat.

Milbrandt Vinyards — Mid-west coast region, Washington

As a fourth-generation farm, Milbrandt Vinyards began it's grape farming production in 1997, and emerged as a winery in 2005. The wines take on their Washington state characteristics, with more soft fruit notes and a silky texture.

"I think people appreciate the approachability of the wines," said Butch Milbrandt, co-owner. "It's very drinkable — it doesn't have huge tannins or a great amount of acid; it's easy to drink and the quality is there."

Milbrandt will be at the Grand Tasting tonight sharing the wine created by himself and his brother, Jerry Milbrandt.

At the Grand Tasting, try:

2010 Estate Merlot

Characteristics: This big red wine is full-bodied but not edgy. Tannins don't overcome the soft fruits, so it's drinkability comes with food and without. Aromas of cocoa, cassis and tree ripened plums come through with notes of maple and vanilla. This wine offers flavors of red berries, cherry and spice.

Pairings: Drink alone, or with grilled and braised meats.

2010 Sentinel

Characteristics: This Sentinel showcases the unique climate, topography and geology of one of a Washinton vineyars. A blend of Bordeaux varieties, it is dark, ripe and jammy with aromas of Bing cherry, blackberry and dark roasted coffee

Pairings: "This is a stand alone wine," Milbrandt said. "When you are drinking it, you don't think about pairing anything with it — you just think about drinking it."

Grgich Hills Cellars — Napa Valley, California

Grgich Hills established itself as a winery in the late 1970s when Miljenko "Mike" Grgich's Chardonnay beat the best of the best of France at the 1976 Paris Tasting.

"We are known for a style that is more European, very elegant, very food friendly," said co-owner Violet Grgich, who is representing the winery at Taste of Vail. "It's made to make the food and wine shine together; that is how we have been known for many decades."

At the Grand Tasting, try:

2011 Chardonnay

Characteristics: This Chardonnay has a naturally preserved acidity. The wine's fresh citrus and juicy peach are rounded out with rich, warm vanilla flavors and a touch of minerality.

Pairings: This wine goes well with creamy cheeses, pan seared halibut, pan roasted diver scallops, and roasted chicken-style dishes with lemon and herbs.

2009 Merlot

Characteristics: Called by the winery as a "Cabernet lovers' Merlot," its bright strawberries, cherries, and black pepper leave a velvety finish.

Pairings: A Merlot that stand nicely against rack of lamb and braised lamb, as well as pork chops.

Canyon Wind Cellars — Palisade, Colorado

The foundation of Canyon Wind Cellars is a river bench filled with loose cobblestones, sand, and mineral-rich soil, a combination which provides the vineyards with ideal growing conditions. Perched at 4,710 feet above sea level, Canyon Wind Cellars enjoys a high altitude growing location without a significantly cooler climate or a drastically reduced growing season that often comes with higher elevation vineyards.

"We are one of the only 100 percent estate wineries in Colorado," said Jay Christianson, co-owner and winemaker with his wife, Jennifer. "We grow and produce everything on our own property, which is pretty uncommon in Colorado and in the wine world as a whole."

The Christiansons also own Anemoi wines, an extension of Canyon Wind Cellars.

At the Grand Tasting, try:

2013 Chardonnay

Characteristics: Aromas of grapefruit, butterscotch, rose petal, cinnamon and clove with a touch of vanilla bean and light caramel are followed on the palate with grapefruit, apricot preserves, toasted coconut, honey, vanilla and tasted oak.

Pairings: This wine complements a creamy pasta dish.

Anemoi Lips

Characteristics: This 100 percent Syrah is fruity, earthy, spicy and bold. Aged 10 months in new American oak, Lips has classic oak characteristics, including toasted oak and rich caramel, which leads to a long, lingering finish.

Pairings: Soft goat cheese with Palisade fruit preserves.

Kim Fuller is the interim A&E Editor at the Vail Daily. She can be reached at kfuller@vaildaily.com.

if you go …

What: The Taste of Vail’s Grand Tasting and Silent Auction.

When: 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday.

Where: Vail Marriot Grand Ballroom.

Cost: Tickets are $175.

More information: Visit http://www.tasteofvail.com for Saturday’s full event schedule and to purchase tickets.