Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff Reports
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to DailyMonte Oton Granacha 2007 Camp de Borja

Not since Trader Joe’s legendary Two Buck Chuck has a bottle of wine come so close to parsimonious perfection as Spain’s Monte Oton Granacha. A perfectly delightful red table wine that clocks in under 10 bucks a bottle, the 2007 Monte Oton is enough to make one swear off bottles in the stratospheric “Under $20” category.

More familiarly known as “Grenache,” this grape thrives in dry climes, and the Monte Oton grows on the side of an extinct volcano in Spain’s northeastern region ” not too far from Pamplona. This wine is not aged in wood, so possesses a welcoming, easy fruit structure and finish with enough spice and body to keep it interesting. It’s a nicely balanced, highly drinkable red with hints of cherry and currant. With such a clean presentation and low price, it’s hard not to think of this as a must-have bottle for the next picnic or grilling episode. This is a red that would go as well with beef as it would with a stronger fish like salmon or halibut off the grill. I wouldn’t shun it as a good sipper while preparations are made, either.

The wines of Spain are often overlooked, what with California and Washington supplying such excellent domestics. But they’ve been at it for a few more centuries over there, and a good Grenacha or Rioja is tough to beat. In this case, the vintner, Campo de Borja, has managed to ship a bottle of superb table wine all the way to the Vail Valley at a cost that’s tough to beat.

This wine is available at Beaver Liquors in Avon.

Alex Miller, Vail Daily Editor

This is the glass of wine I’d want in hand if I were laying by the pool or on a beach, enjoying some summer sunshine. Made from Spain’s Verdejo grape, this wine smells of fresh picked peaches, ripe pears and apple. Bright citrus accents and a slight minerality make for a wine that’s seriously refreshing. Matt Austin of Beaver Liquors recommended this wine for those very reasons.

“You can sit and enjoy it and you don’t have to worry about tons of other things going on,” Austin said. “It’s just you and the bottle, you can relax. The citrus and the apple flavors in there keep everything clean and tidy.”

At under $12 a pop, I consider this one of the great Spanish value wines. Spain is the country with the most land devoted to growing grapes in the world ” Spain accounts for more than 15 percent of the world’s total vineyard land, according to Wines from Spain, a wine organization. While France and Italy’s vineyard land has declined over the past five or so years, the Spainards are planting even more grapes. All the better if it leads to selections like this ” great wine at a great price.

This wine is great by itself or try it with fresh fruits and cheeses before dinner, or with a Mediterranean-style chicken, fresh seafood, or even gazpacho.

You can find this wine at Beaver Liquors and Village Warehouse Wines in Avon.

Caramie Schnell, High Life editor

Europe is old. America is young. Europe has overdue library books older than this country.

That may be the obvious statement of the day, but the differences between Europe and America can even show up in beer.

Take this St. Andrews Ale, brewed to celebrate the place legend says golf was invented. That’s a long time ago, and Belhaven claims to have been in the beer business since 1719.

Which brings us to the original point about the differences between beer from the Old Country and the New World.

Craft brewing in this country essentially disappeared when Prohibition began in the late 1920s and has only been rediscovered in the last 25 years or so.

There are a lot of really good beers being brewed around this country, particularly in Colorado and the Great Northwest. But after tasting this Old World brew, it’s easy to taste the newness in our craft beers. That’s not bad, just different.

St. Andrews is the kind of beer American craft brewers don’t quite understand. It’s a rich, robust ale, good for the 19th hole after playing the wind-blown links of the Old Course. There’s a nice tang to the beer, and the bubbles from the head will stick to your mustache after every sip.

It might be psychological ” I know beers aren’t supposed to have a vibe ” but drinking this, you get the feeling that this ale was made by people whose ancestors brewed beer for explorers, seamen and working stiffs. We just can’t say that here.

You can find Euro-styled beers from most craft brewers, but they don’t taste like this.

Check back in 200 years and we’ll see how it’s going.

This beer is available at Avon Liquors and Village Warehouse Wines in Avon,

Scott N. Miller, Business editor

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