Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyLand of Fire Chenin-Blanc/Chardonnay

I have a friend that calls me from time to time as shes staring down a row of wine bottles at her local liquor store. She always wants to know what my latest, greatest under $10 pick is. This, my friend, is it. Land of Fires white hails from the Mendoza region of Argentina, the countrys main growing region. Its a nice, crisp Chenin-Blanc/Chardonnay blend with a sweet, floral aroma. It has that really dry white peach flavor, which is what I really like about it, said Jarrett Osborn of Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards. At under $9 a pop, Osborn called the bottle quite the little surprise. Some Chenin Blancs in America, and the original ones in the Loire Valley, are an off-dry style. Just like Riesling, they can give you sweet flavors, but be bone dry and lovely, he said. I can picture drinking a glass as I eat one of my favorite meals, which really isnt a meal at all: A few slices of good cheese, a handful of grapes, a few apple slices and maybe some almonds. Or you could skip the food part entirely; this wine is great on its own, too. Osborn has some other recommendations. He said to treat it like a Pinot Grigio and serve it alongside light seafood dishes raw oysters or shrimp. It would also go well with cheese fondue both in the fondue and drink it with the fondue. And its cheap enough to do that. Its getting to be fondue time of year, isnt it?Yes, yes it is. This wine is available at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards.Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

When making a quick stop at the liquor store without a lot of time to remember that perfect Shiraz, its tough to go wrong grabbing a bottle of almost anything Penfolds makes. The South Australian winemaker excels at making reasonably priced (OK, some are downright cheap) bottles that tread the middle ground between overly complex and boring.I was pretty well familiar with Penfolds Shiraz-Cabernet blends reliable bottles in the under-$20 range. But the Bin 2 blend of Shiraz- Mourvdre was something new. Mourvdre is an old grape of Spanish origin thats high tannin, high alcohol. It mixes well with the full-bodied Shiraz for a pretty big red thats got a lot of flavor but not as jammy as some of the other big Aussie reds.The Bin 2 has a fair amount of complexity for a wine in its price class. A dark, ruby red, it has hints of pepper and smoke underneath the top notes of cherry and raspberry. With a nice, full mouth, the Shiraz accounts for much of the body while the Mourvdre provides the acidity to keep things in the medium-bodied range.The wine would go nicely with milder meats like lamb or duck and it wouldnt be out of place alongside a cheese tray. For the price, its hard to beat if youre looking for a bottle thats a little bit more charismatic than the average pour.This wine is available at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards and Avon Liquors.Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor

With apologies to Monty Python: And now for something completely different. When you think of Oktoberfest beers, you generally think of something with a bit of an amber tinge to it, a little more malt in the mixture and little more body in the glass. But that, apparently, is a gross generalization.We have something very different here in Hofbrau Oktoberfest along with Paulaners festival brew, one of the official beers of Oktoberfest in Munich.This is a relative newcomer to the festival, since it was first served just shy of 200 years ago, after being brewed especially for the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria. The beer apparently caught on, and has been served at Munichs Oktoberfest ever since.This isnt anything like the more common Oktoberfest beers reviewed here the last few weeks. In fact, Hofbrau Oktoberfest is more like a traditional German beer, with a light color light enough that just looking at the glass youd think you were looking at a Budweiser but with a much heartier flavor. If you need a point of comparison, think Becks or St. Pauli Girl, including the hint of skunkiness but in a pleasant way associated with those beers.This would be dandy on a warm fall afternoon accompanied by an oompah band, some big, soft pretzels and the best wurst you can find. It also went down pretty easy following a moderately hectic, daylong trip to Denver recently, quickly washing away the speed-and-headlights jangle. This is the fourth Oktoberfest beer weve had in as many weeks, and this ranks a close second to the traditional Paulaner Oktoberfest.Its like cars: Other makers try to copy BMW and Mercedes, but there are just some things the Germans do better than anyone else. Along with invading Poland, this is one of those things.This beer is available at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards and Avon Liquors.Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer

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