Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County | VailDaily.com
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Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff ReportsVail CO, Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyRed, a Sonoma County blend, is a "wonderful, full-bodied wine for $9," said Tom Domenico, owner of Pier 13 Liquor in Eagle-Vail.
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In a business known for oddball product names, this one ranks right up there.Eye of the Hawk? What is this, beer brewed by witches for the summer picnic? Does it have any newt in it?I saw no mention of hawk, newt or any other coven-cupboard ingredients in this California microbrew, and thats good. Id happily throw back a few of these again on another day.Eye of the Hawk has a nice, amber color and a nice, malty flavor. And, while some beers are fine if drunk at out-of-the-fridge-for-40-minutes temperatures, youll want to enjoy this one straight out of the cooler. Its much better.The Mendocino Brewing Web site says Eye of the Hawk cripes, thats a silly name and all the companys other beers are bottle conditioned. The technique is described as a traditional Old World technique whereby actively fermenting yeast is introduced into the mature beer right before bottling, resulting in the development of natural carbonation and rich flavors in the bottle.The rich flavor part of this description is right on, but if youre looking for a frothy head, youll need to go elsewhere. On the other hand, a tiny stream of bubbles heads toward the top of the glass from beginning to end, so theres plenty of carbonation going on.Besides, a big, frothy head isnt all its cracked up to be. Early in their careers, some home-brewing friends once brewed a batch of stout that had a head like expanding insulation foam. It would come out of the glass about four inches, then get hard as a rock.You wont get that with Eye of the Hawk. This is a beer thats been around for a long time winning a bunch of awards in the process. The folks at Mendocino Brewing have this recipe nailed down tight, and its a good one.You can find this beer at Pier 13 Liquor in Eagle-Vail, Avon Liquors and Beaver Liquors in Avon and Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail. Scott N. Miller, Vail Daily Business Editor

There is something incredibly luxurious about drinking an expensive glass of wine. That small six ounces can be pure pleasure. But for most of us that kind of regular indulgence is a little out of the budget, and so we must search, in some cases far and wide, for wine that boasts flavor, balance and structure but not an expensive price tag. Red, a 2004 blend from the St. Francis Winery in Sonoma County, Calif., is ready to become your every day wine.The wine isnt painfully dry, and it is kind of fruit forward, said Tom Domenico, owner of Pier 13 in Eagle-Vail. It is for people who want a glass of wine with dinner every day.The wine has a bright nose, and to my tongue it had berry flavors without being too sweet. I drank it at room temperature but I think it would have been nice a few degrees cooler.I imagine the wine would complement most meals. Domenico backed up that assumption by saying it would stand up to steak, and would pair well with a hamburger, pizza or other normal dinner fare. So in a way, this wine can do it all. And the question is, can you guess the price? I certainly couldnt. I had it pegged in the $12 to $15 range.Domenico cleared that up for me, It is a wonderful, full-bodied wine for $9. At that price, can you afford not to try it?Red is available at Pier 13 Liquor and Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail. Jessica Slosberg, Daily Correspondent

If youre stuck in the chardonnay rut, Tom Domenico, owner of Pier 13 Liquor in Eagle-Vail might hand you a bottle of Brandal Albarino. But whatever you do, dont expect a soft, supple chard thats not this wine. Rather this straw-colored vino is bone dry and tastes a little tart, beating down the door of my palate rather than softly knocking. I poured a glass for my roommate. While hes no wine expert, he still has a fairly developed palate.I like it its not buttery and wussy, its got that nice bite to it, he said. Exactly.Albarino grapes are the smallest white grapes in the world and the fruit responsible for this wine is hand-harvested from vines more than 35 years old. Unlike other wines from the Rias Baixas region of Spain, the winemakers dont allow this wine to undergo malolactic fermentation, which generally softens the wine, mellowing out some of the tingling acidity. Its for this reason that I recommend pairing the wine with food, rather than drinking it alone. According to the distributors Web site, this wine pairs well with any kind of shellfish, light seafood, pates or semi-soft cheeses. You can find this wine at Pier 13 Liquor. Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor


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