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Red wine for summer

Daily Staff ReportVail, CO, Colorado
Cassie Pence/Vail DailyFrom left: Gazela Vinho Verde, Parque Carmenere and 360 Vodka, all available at Avon Liquors.
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The season of warm weather including hiking, biking and, of course, barbecuing has reached the valley in full force. Barbecue brings up the inevitable question, is there anything that goes with smoked meats other than beer and soda. Now, that answer is a resounding yes. Parque, a Chilean winery, has the perfect offering to be paired with the succulent meats and the intense flavors associated with barbecue in its Carmenere wine. The grape, originally from Frances Bordeaux region is rarely found there now. Today, the grape is grown most prolifically in Chiles Central Valley and home of this wine.The wine is slightly smoky with a little bit of a dried fruit taste and the entirely unexpected and subtle flavor of green pepper. The wine has a low level of acidity. It is a relatively quiet wine compared with its relative, cabernet sauvignon, but stands up well to the barbecue flavors without overpowering them. In fact, they complement each other naturally because the wines round and smooth flavor it cuts through any spicy sauces or mixes with smoky flavors. It is medium bodied, which makes it a good choice for summer because it is not so heavy as to weigh you down or be sure to put you to asleep after the first glass. And it is a perfect choice to enjoy after a hot summer day as an alternative to beer. Parque is available at Avon Liquors and at about $10 a bottle it is genuine steal. So at your next barbecue wow your friends with this wine (and your taste for culinary adventure) as another alternative to the tried and true beer route. Jess Slosberg, Daily correspondent

Vinho Verde, which translates to wine green, is a region in Portugal, next to the Atlantic Coast. Gazela is a green wine, which means it should be drunk young, immediately after you get it, said Jarrett Osborn, the wine guy at Riverwalk Wine and Spirits in Edwards. Three grapes are blended to make the wine, which is aged in stainless steel. The crisp, fruity wine is a steal at under $10. You want them cheap. Theres no reason to buy a $20 vinho verde, Osborn said. The bad ones can be sour, the good ones are nice and crisp which this one is.Osborn suggests pairing the light wine with light seafood, maybe fresh oysters or shrimp cocktail or even a light salad. And dont forget to chill the wine its the perfect deckside refreshment on a hot July afternoon.The wine retails for $8.59 at Riverwalk Wine and Spirits. Caramie Schnell, Arts & Entertainment Writer

So I admit it at first I was skeptical that the green, eco-friendly vodka that arrived on my desk was much more than a marketing ploy. Turns out 360 Vodka, the newest vodka launched by McCormick Distillery (the people responsible for the cheap, uhh, value well vodka), does have a fairly significant environmental bent. The glass bottle holding the 80-proof liquor is made from 85 percent recycled glass. The labeling, packaging and promotional materials for the vodka is made from 100 percent recycled paper products. Theyve also developed a postage paid mail-in program for the bottle closures which look similar to the Grolsch beer topper for infinite reuse. Locally grown grain is used to make the vodka, which is pretty smooth probably because its quadruple distilled and filtered five times. Try my vodka lemonade recipe 2 ounces of 360 Vodka, 4 ounces of raspberry or strawberry lemonade, a cup of ice and a few sprigs of mint and a strawberry for garnish. The retail price for 360 Vodka is $28.99 and it can be found at Spikes Liquor, Lionshead Liquor, West Vail Liquor, Minturn Mile Liquor, Avon Liquors and Sweetwaters and Broadway Liquors in Eagle. Caramie Schnell, Arts & Entertainment Writer


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