Vail Valley Red White & Brew: Drink Joka Vodka, support veterans |

Vail Valley Red White & Brew: Drink Joka Vodka, support veterans

Vail Daily staff Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyBuy vodka in the Vail Valley, help American veterans

VAIL, Colorado Buy vodka in the Vail Valley, help American veterans. Seems like a good idea, at least Aspenite Joe Nedlin thinks so. The former Vietnam vet has been treking around mountain towns with his creation, Joka Vodka, since it was released in November. A handful of liquor stores and restaurants in the Vail Valley carry the vodka. Im not asking you to give money, to make a donation, he said when he dropped the bottle off at the Vail Daily building. Im saying this is a great vodka and if youre so inclined to buy vodka, buy Jok.The name comes from Nedlins own nickname when he was in the military The Joker. All of the profits from the vodka, usually priced between $25 to $29 per bottle, benefits American veterans and so far Nedlin said hes raised around $3,500. Its probably the best product we could come up with in this economy to help veterans, being that everyone buys liquor, Nedlin said. And we can proudly say were the only spirit in the United States that gives all of our money to American veterans.Helping veterans is great, but I wondered if the vodka was any good. I admit, Im a bit of a vodka snob. If I cant drink top or close to top shelf, I generally opt for water. Its just not worth the headache. After a sip of Joka Vodka, my worries were assuaged. Its a very smooth vodka with a slightly sweet edge to it, likely because its made from corn something thats proved popular among people allergic to gluten and who cant drink vodka made from wheat, Nedlin said.The vodka is made by Bend Distillers in Bend, Ore. using a recipe Nedlin helped design. Its filtered five times through high-quality charcoal and lava rock, which takes out the impurities and gives the vodka its smooth, mild flavor. This vodka is available at Beaver Liquors in Avon, Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail, Village Warehouse Wines in Avon and Avon Liquor. Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

Sometimes its tempting to think of Riesling as one of those white wines that even people who arent big fans of white can enjoy. The grape, originally from the Rhine region of Germany, creates a crisp, typically drier wine that lacks some of the cloying undertones of lesser-priced Chardonnays and has more body than the other big white, Sauvignon Blanc.Since no one has as much experience making Riesling as the Germans, its an article of faith that the best ones hail from the Rhine Valley. But as is the case with so many other famous European grapes Americans have gotten their hands on, those crafty Californians are busy trying to prove otherwise.Blackstones Riesling is a modestly priced bottle that represents only a few years worth of experience on the part of the Monterey winery. Dwelling mostly in the red realm previously, Blackstone added Riesling in 2005 and has improved on it over the ensuing few years. The 2008 is on the drier side for a Riesling, with a bright mouth-feel and hints of apricot and other fruits. It has a very nice finish and overall is a clean, refreshing white thats a perfect way to welcome the summer season (assuming it isnt snowing again by the time this is printed!). Served just lightly chilled, itd go nicely with a mild fish off the grill or even with a dessert like a bowl of those fresh strawberries now in grocery stores.At $12, the Blackstone is a good bottle to pop open around one of those red-only folks to see what they think. Chances are theyll look at white in a new way.Visit for more information. Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor

This intense, full-bodied, structured red wine shows off the star quality the malbec grape, a bit player in Bordeaux, achieves in Argentinas Mendoza region. This budget-priced beauty displays remarkable complexity and aging potential, with flavors of blackberry, leather, chocolate and spices. Its a great value. Serve with red meat or pasta. Visit for more information. Michael Dresser, L.A. Times/Washington Post News Service

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