Vail Daily’s Red, White & Brew: Saboteur is a sweet, strange, special beer |

Vail Daily’s Red, White & Brew: Saboteur is a sweet, strange, special beer

Vail Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Vail Daily reviews says Odell Saboteur Brett Barrel Brown Ale is a deep, chocolate brown with an effervescent, ephemeral texture

Despite craft beer’s unprecedented boom of the past decade, beer still sits lower on the cultural totem pole than does its elitist cousin, wine. Interestingly, the U.S. has had a heavy hand in both the sullying and the sanctification of beer’s good name – while our country leads the international pack in craft beer production and envelope-pushing, it also is responsible for products like the “Dirty 30,” which not only cemented beer’s popularity among NASCAR fans and 17-year-olds but also made lots of people think that beer shouldn’t taste like anything at all.Cheap beer aside, more expensive “Brett” beers like Odell Brewing’s Saboteur have given beer another notch in its wine-battle belt. Brett stands for “Brettanomyces,” which is a genus of yeast that is, as Odell puts it, “the ultimate adversary of wineries.” This is because the yeast generally imparts undesirable, rancid flavors and aromas to most wines and, indeed, to most beers. With some beers, however, Brettanomyces helps construct a complex, sour flavor profile that is an experience all its own.Since all that qualifies a beer as a Brett beer is the use of the yeast, the Lewises and Clarks of beer drinking will encounter Brett beers of all shapes and sizes. Saboteur is the darkest one I’ve tried – a deep, chocolate brown with an effervescent, ephemeral texture. The first impression on the tongue is one of an almost porter-like brown ale, but that quickly gives way to a fruity, earthy, sour finish. It’s a disconcerting mix of flavors and textures that is next to impossible to pin down, but it’s got a magic all its own (think sorcery, not card tricks). Saboteur, which is oak-aged and bottle-conditioned, is soft and supple, but it has a sour bite from the Brettanomyces – however, there’s little alcoholic bite, despite the 10 percent alcohol content.Saboteur is a sweet, strange, special beer. If you’ve never had a Brett beer, it’s a fine place to start – not as sour as some and relatively drinkable. If you’re sick of wine snobbery, sit back, pop open a Saboteur, and bask in the glorious sunlight of victory.You can find this beer at Alpine Wine & Spirits and West Vail Liquor Mart.Aaron Butzen, Daily Correspondent

The Chateau Montelena Winery is one of the oldest and best-known in Napa Valley. Grapes were first harvested from the estate vineyard in 1886 and, with the exception of a brief period during Prohibition, the winery has been churning out delicious, award-winning wines ever since. According to the winery’s website, the most famous of these is a 1973 chardonnay, which was chosen by a prestigious French wine community in 1976 as the top-rated wine in a blind tasting, which featured four white Burgundies and six California chardonnays, thus putting Napa Valley, and its wine, on the map. The 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay retains the same quality and delicate balance of flavors nurtured by the climate and soils of the Calistoga region that were present in that 1973 vintage. The winemaker’s notes indicate that the grapes are harvested at night and pressed in two different ways: Two-thirds of the harvest is whole-cluster pressed to maintain the intricate fruit flavors, and the other third is destemmed and pressed to release more aroma and a bolder taste.The wine has a light citrus bouquet with hints of grapefruit and peach. To say that wine can have weight, be heavy or light on the tongue, may seem a strange concept, but this one definitely tips the scales. After the initial tingle, the straw-colored stuff sits on your tongue, and the flavor lingers after the wine is gone, making your mouth water in a really good way.I find that the best way to bring out the sweeter notes of a wine is to pair it with rich foods with a touch of spice. This one accompanied a four-cheese white pizza with basil, garlic and red pepper. The ricotta and pepper teased out the tropical fruit flavors on first sip, while the garlic and goat cheese pumped up the more earthy spice tones. That said, this wine is too good to drink merely as a palate cleanser with good food; I would recommend savoring a glass or two on its own to get the full effect.This wine is available at Avon Liquors, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits and West Vail Liquor Mart.Krista Driscoll, Daily Staff Writer

Another bold visitor from the home of port wine in Portugal’s Douro Valley, the Prazo de Roriz is one of those wines I know I’ll likely never drink again. And that’s not because I didn’t like it – I did – but how to remember that name? That aside, the quick take away on this one is that this is not a wine for the faint of heart. Very robust, dark and firmly structured, this Douro demands to breathe for a good hour or two before drinking. In fact, it improved noticeably after leaving it out for a full 24 hours, and no doubt it’ll be even more approachable after a few more years in the bottle.Today, though, the Prazo de Roriz is a nicely balanced and softly textured full-bodied wine that’s a good one to grab if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten path of, well, whatever reds you usually drink. With dark plum, dark chocolate and dark color, this is perhaps more of a winter wine – although it might hold up well against barbecue and other grilled foods. A glend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca – with a little Tinta Roriz and Tinto Cao thrown in for good measure – it’s difficult to compare this wine with more common bottles. Suffice to say it’s a little adventure in a bottle if you’re looking for something different. An everyday table wine, though, this is not.For more information about this wine, visit Miller, Summit Daily Editor

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