Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff Reports
Vail CO, Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyOwen Roe Sharecropper's Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

This is a high-tannin red, no doubt about it. But after the first wrinkled nose and with a modicum of patience, this Oregon Cab settled down into a nice sipper and one that went quite well with my latest pasta creation.

Feels like I’ve been saying this a lot lately about reds from vineyards ranging from Chile to Spain, but uncork this puppy and let ‘er breathe for a few hours before the first sip. And take that advice about not serving red at room temperature: Pop it in the fridge for 20 minutes before pouring the first glass.

For whatever reason, Owen Roe is named after a 17th century Irish patriot. With the Northwest coming on strong in recent years with Pinots, it makes sense that some good Cabs would come out of the area as well. Owen Roe’s grapes come from the Willamette, Yakima, Columbia and Walla-Walla valleys. The Sharecropper’s Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep, ruby red with hints of currants and cherry with a smoky undertone and a touch of licorice. It’s got a bit of a high nose and a crisp fruit-forward bite that may well mellow with another year or two in the bottle. The finish is on the sharp side, so don’t mistake it for one of those mellow Cabs that rolls over for you.

That’s not to say it’s overly complex, but it does ask for a little understanding.

The Owen Roe may not rise to the top of the heap of West Coast reds, but it’s a worthy enough addition to the Northwest canon and certainly a drinkable and slightly challenging wine for Cab fans to take notice of.

This wine is available at Avon Liquors, Beaver Liquors in Avon and Alpine Wine and Spirits in West Vail.

Alex Miller, Vail Daily Editor

I drink white wines almost exclusively during the summer, mainly because of wines like this Oregon Pinot Gris from WillaKenzie Estate. It’s refreshing and easy to drink ” at times too easy, even. The fruit flavors are subtle here, but certainly present: White peach, pear, pineapple and melon meld together beautifully in this wine. This wine, 100 percent pinot gris, is also made entirely in stainless steel, so there’s no oak messing with the fruit, something I especially appreciate.

From the first sip it’s apparent that this wine is lush and rich, which is no surprise considering it’s made Alsatian style, said Kevin Lawrence of Avon Liquors.

This wine is great alone ” a well-chilled glass is a great way to end the week ” but has enough acid that it pairs well with food, too. But keep it simple and subtle so the flavors in the wine can really shine. Try it with a seafood and cream sauce pasta, a light fish like halibut or sole, or even shrimp cakes. Since this wine has a screwtop closure, it make’s for a very convenient picnic wine. And sneaking in a few more picnics before the leaves turn is something you won’t ever regret ” especially come January.

This wine is available at Avon Liquors.

Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

This beer should be too precious to be good.

It’s ridiculously expensive. And the beer’s description on the Dogfish Head Web site paints a picture of something that’s not quite beer, not quite wine.

There’s a breathless description of brewers reverse-engineering dried stuff found in the tomb of the real King Midas in Turkey (Everybody make Homer Simpson noises now ” “Dried 2,000-year-old beer goo… Mmmmmm.”)

There’s a list of too-precious food pairings like “Pan-Asian dishes,” and the enlightened taster is encouraged to search for “honey, saffron, papaya, melon, biscuity, succulent” aromas and flavors

“Biscuity?” What the hell is that?

And the first half of the first beer didn’t taste all that good, partly because I’d just had kids-party pizza, and partly because over the last week or so I’d had my tastebuds well-fed by Paulaner’s outstanding Hefe-Weizen.

But then the flavors opened up. OK, I wouldn’t know saffron or papaya if they bit me in the butt, but the Muscat grape flavor gives the rest of the beer a nice, fruity bounce.

It’s especially pronounced in the head, of all places, and at the top of the glass. The bounce is a good thing, because beers that hit the fun meter at 9 percent alcohol usually border on syrupy. This is pretty refreshing, due to the grapes, but also due to a good dose of carbonation that keeps the brew bubbly down to the bottom of the glass.

Let this beer sit for a bit. Give yourself time to ponder it ” not least because two of these suckers are just about equivalent to four standard-size glasses of wine ” but also because there’s some amazing craftsmanship at work here. Not every brewer is loony enough to try to reproduce something a king drank thousands of years ago.

Michael Jackson ” the revered dead British beer writer, not the chimp-and-little-boy-loving singer ” raved about Midas Touch. I’m not sure I share his enthusiasm, but this is interesting stuff, stuff that will make you scratch your head and lick your lips at the same time.

If you and a beer-curious friend want to enjoy something out of the ordinary, this is a fun little experiment. People went through a lot of trouble to get it to your glass.

This beer is available at Village Warehouse Wines in Avon and West Vail Liquor Mart.

Scott Miller, Vail Daily Business Editor

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