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Vail Valley Red White & Brew: Wooed by a Portuguese white

Daily staff reportsVail, CO Colorado
2007 Quinta da Murta Buceles
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his white wine may have been referenced in one of Shakespeares plays, the label on the bottle boasts. So what?If youre the type who takes a gander at the description of the wine bottles label, skip this one. Rife with grammatical errors and over-the-top claims, you just might roll your eyes and set the bottle back on the shelf. Ill admit I was apprehensive. If the same sort of care that went into the label went into the wine, I was in trouble. Thankfully, the folks at Portugals Quinta da Murta are better at making wine than writing, and I cant fault that. The Quinta da Murta Bucelas 2007 is a steal at around $15. The pale yellow wine first woos with a fresh, fruity aroma, which will get you wishing for spring more than our recent unseasonably warm weather. The label bills the wine as a dry white but theres a healthy dose of frutiness and a hint of sweetness that makes this white accessible to a wide audience. The Portuguese Arinto grape assures a nice, light acidity, reminiscent of French Loire Valley whites. The zesty, citric taste, ending in a long, smooth finish, lends itself to simple sipping or pairing with seafood. Id go with shellfish over fish. The natural sweetness of crab or lobster complements nicely.While perhaps not the prince of Portuguese white wines as the label claims, you wont be disappointed by this charming Quinta da Murta. You can find this wine at Avon Liquors.Nicole Frey, Daily Correspondent

If springs not here yet, its sure on the way. And you know what that means lighter, more refreshing beer.What we have here is a good example of a crisp, flavorful brew thats just right for quenching a thirst created by lawn mowing, bike riding, or gardening.The fun thing about Erdinger is that its a wheat beer, but its as clear and clean as a pilsner or lager. Its filtered, obviously, but clever Bavarians that they are, the folks at Erdinger have figured out a way to leave in much of the slightly richer wheat beer goodness.That means you end up with a beer that looks like a St.Pauli Girl or Stella Artois in the glass, but with none of the sometimes-skunky tang those beers pack. Make no mistake, though the cloudiness thats in most wheat beers isnt just there for show. You do lose a little of the flavor of a traditional wheat beer to get that lovely clear amber color.And this wheat beer is carbonated like a pilsner or lager. Dont make the mistake of pouring this stuff straight down the glass, or too quickly, like I did. Youll end up with two-thirds of a glass of foam and a little bit of beer in the bottom.In this case, though, waiting for the bubbles to pop makes you relax and savor this beer. And its worth savoring. Like virtually all German breweries, Erdinger has been around a long, long time. The labels mostly in German, of course, so I cant tell if the brewerys been around since 1516, or if it complies with the beer purity law of that year. No matter. I hadnt really heard of Erdinger until local musician, bookbinder and yodeling bon vivant Helmut Fricker told me about it last summer. Helmuts on to something here. Now that warmer weathers here, this beer is well worth having in the cooler on a hot day.You can find this beer at Avon Liquors and West Vail Liquor Mart.Scott Miller, Daily Correspodent

This lively blend of the Rhone grapes syrah (shiraz), grenache and mourvedre (mataro) is a red wine with an Aussie swagger and rustic character. This full-bodied, well-rounded wine is packed with blackberry, leather, smoked-meat, chocolate and wild-berry flavors. Its perfect for drinking right now, and its freedom from cork taint is assured by a modern screw cap. Serve this vino from Barossa Valley in Australia with barbecue or grilled steak.Visit http://www.diggersbluff.com for more information. Michael Dresser, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service


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