Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff ReportsVail CO, Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyPaulaner Oktoberfest

Look closely at the label on the bottle pictured here. Its the best beer label in the world, a perfect description of just what Oktoberfest is all about.There are no St. Pauli Girl uber-hotties on the label, just a brigade of beefy German bier-fraus bringin on the suds and schnitzel, and lots of it. And that, friends, is Oktoberfest, a celebration of a bountiful harvest.That bountiful harvest is planning, prayer and a few months of good weather away when this beer is brewed in March, so in a way its liquid hope, a pre-season bet that theres going to be something to celebrate come fall. And this beer claimed to be the original Oktoberfest beer, and still the brand served in Munich, where the tradition began delivers that hope with every glass.There have been a couple of American Oktoberfest beers reviewed in this space the past couple of weeks. One was a disappointment, the other was very good, but in the showy way common of so many American craft brewers.Think of Paulaners Oktoberfest as a Mercedes-Benz E-class sedan. Theres nothing showy, but theres craft, care and excellence in abundance. And, in the tradition of Oktoberfest, this is a beer you can hang out with all afternoon and into the night (provided you have a nearby room or a designated driver, of course).Its hearty, but not too much so, with a deep amber color that shows an abundance of malt, set off with just the right amount of hops. If its true that this is the original Oktoberfest beer, it shows. The brewers at Paulaner clearly have had their recipe nailed down tight for a few hundred years now. And its the best Oktoberfest beer Ive had, in this or any other year.The only thing that might make it better would be a few bratwursts, a handful of big, soft pretzels and this stuff coming straight from a factory-fresh keg in Munich.Prost!You can find this beer at West Vail Liquor Mart, Avon Liquor, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Beaver Liquors in Avon and Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail. Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer

With cool nights and warm days, theres no reason Colorados Western Slope cant be a major wine region in the coming decades. Climate change is predicted to have a marked effect on Californias vineyards, as warmer temperatures make grape-growing more challenging and, who knows, before you know it, Colorados Grand Valley could be the next Napa.Of course, wines are already coming out of western Colorado, some of them not bad at all although itd be a stretch to say the vintners have reached the maturity of other, more established regions through the world. But good grapes are an excellent place to start, and Hermosa Vineyards 2004 Syrah seems to have them in spades.Sourced from three different vineyards, the grapes in this Syrah give a fair amount of complexity and intensity for a wine that may yet hit its peak in another year or two. A good couple of hours decanting is advisable, since this Syrah is a touch over-oaked and has a forward tartness you dont find in those mellow Australians. The Grand Valley Syrah spent eight months in new American oak and another 18 in neutral oak, and it has an extra smoky flavor to it combined with a jammy mouth that does give a little pause: What is this wine trying to be?Its not an excellent Syrah, but its a pretty big, robust red table wine thats well worth the modest price. Its fun to drink Colorado wine and these early bottles will be interesting to compare in the years ahead as our states wines continue to mature.You can find this wine at Avon Liquors.Alex Miller, Summit Daily editor

Why drink Kung Fu Girl Riesling? Because Riesling and and girls kick ass or so reads the Charles Smith Wines sign advertising West Vail Liquors featured wines of the month. With the distinctive black-and-white artwork and names besides Kung Fu Girl, other Smith bottles include Holy Cow Merlot and Boom Boom Syrah the Washington state wines are hard to miss. Kung Fu Girl is a dry Riesling, which pairs very well with Asian food or anything with a spicy kick, said Dan Ryan, manager at West Vail Liquors. The Smith wines are all produced in a single vineyard in Columbia Valley, and the fruit-flavored Kung Fu Girl has touches of spring blossoms, white apricot and peach. This Riesling also could be a great combo with a fresh fruit salad or to sip by itself as a cocktail wine, Ryan said. Although a tad bit dry for my taste, when paired with a kick-ass Asian dish, Kung Fu Girl provides the knockout punch.You can find this wine at West Vail Liquor Mart, Avon Liquors, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits, Beaver Liquors in Avon and Eat!Drink! in Edwards.Leah Dorzweller, Daily Staff Writer

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