Vail Daily review: A coffee liqueur with a kick | VailDaily.com
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Vail Daily review: A coffee liqueur with a kick

Daily staff reportnewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Patron XO Cafe
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I’m a simple man. That’s why I usually only review beer, and the variety available today is confusing enough. Patron XO Caf is potentially very complicated. Look up this delicious adult spirit on http://www.patronspirits.com, and you’ll see a host of recipes for comlex, hoity-toity drinks that look like the things you’d find mixed by trendy bartenders at trendy bars that probably wouldn’t let me in the doors.I didn’t make any of those drinks at home, either – my bartending supplies are pretty much limited to liquor, ice and beer.So I sampled Patron XO Caf neat, and it’s just fine that way. If you like coffee liqueurs, but have always wished they had a little more octane – and who doesn’t? – this is the adult beverage for you.The folks at Patron have taken tequila, coffee and who knows what else to create a smooth, flavorful drink with a 70-proof kick. Now, that means you need to be careful, but if you like sweet, powerful beverages like Gran Marnier, you’re likely to enjoy this.I enjoyed it straight-up, over ice and mixed with cola. All were winners.Surely there are Daily readers more adventurous in their at-home mix-mastery than I, and XO Caf deserves a place on those booze artists’ home palettes. But you don’t need to go in search of the next great whatever-tini to enjoy this drink.You can find this spirit at Scott Miller, Vail Daily business editor

In the wake of a recent review, I’ve been labeled a cork sniffer. I’m still mulling that one over. To clear things up, here’s what I think: There are varying opinions about the role that the cork plays in the sanctity of a bottle of wine. Some scoff at the notion that the cork could tell you anything about the bottle aside from whether it was stored upside down or right side up. Others might claim that the cork can give an indication of the nose of the wine. There are also camps for and against synthetic corks, natural corks and screw caps. I say it doesn’t matter. If the wine inside the bottle is worth its brass, then it doesn’t make a difference what kind of element is holding it in there.The Quivira Sauvignon Blanc, natural cork and all, is the first 2009 bottle I’ve gotten my hands on. This is exciting as, due to the nature of this variety of grape, a young bottle is more likely a delicious bottle. True to its name, this sauvignon blanc was bleach blonde in color and slightly dry in demeanor. Upon first sip, the wine reviewer in me would call it smooth. The sorority girl in me would call it chuggable. In frat boy terms, that means a happy date. For our purposes, it means the wine was low in acidity, with a pretty flat body and minimal alcohol taste. Upon the cream sauce recommendation of the winemaker, I paired this wine with farfalle pasta in a roasted tomato alfredo sauce. Surprisingly, the wine had a much more robust attitude when paired with the pasta. The flavors in the dish sparked more pizzazz and brought out the fig flavor of the wine. Bottom line, I enjoyed this wine. And the great thing about sauvignon blanc is that it is typically harvested earlier in the season, which means that it avoids most of the weather fluctuations and, year after year, there is consistency in the flavor. So whether you pick up this year’s vintage or a bottle from last year or cut this out and paste it into your diary and re-read it next year and are reminded of this wine, it will all pretty much taste the same.You can find this wine at Beaver Liquors in Avon.Krista Driscoll, Daily Staff Writer

The St. Francis Winery & Vineyards dwell in the Sonoma Valley, just north of the Bay Area in western California. The birthplace of the California wine industry, the Sonoma Valley is a labyrinth of different soils and topography, which allows it to produce a large variety of grapes and wines. But enough with the geography, let’s talk wine.The St. Francis Zinfandel has a robust body and in-your-face mouth feel and doesn’t tip-toe around the booze issue, either. Once uncorked, this zin gives off an earthy scent with a strong alcohol component. I cupped my hands around the top of the glass, stuck my nose in it and took a deep breath to exact a more accurate description, and the heady aroma made my head spin a little and my eyes tear up. The first sip was a bit overwhelming. I felt like I’d shoved a handful of cotton balls into my mouth and tried to swallow them. It was as if the wine hit my tongue and evaporated and took all my saliva with it. This bottle would benefit greatly from decanting, and if that option isn’t available, it at least needs some time to air out in a glass before being palatable. I patiently waited for the wine to breathe and the moisture to return to my mouth before taking another drink. Once I convinced my tongue not to roll over and play dead, the second taste allowed some of the bitter spiciness to come through and was much more enjoyable.Make no mistake: This wine packs a punch. I could feel the hangover setting in before I finished the second glass. The best bet for pairings with this one would be richer, creamier foods to offset the dry spiciness of the wine: veal, lamb or anything doused in a pound of butter. If dry reds aren’t your thing, you might pass on this zin, but if you’re willing to be patient and give it a try, it will definitely grow on you.This wine is available at West Vail Liquor Mart.Krista Driscoll, Daily Staff Writer


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