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

Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyKarmeliet Tripel ale
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This looks more like champagne than beer. Its in a tall, 750-milliliter bottle (thats a sip more than a pair of 12-ouncers), with an honest-to-goodness cork held in place with a wire cage.That means a beer aficionado could get away with stashing a few of these in the ice bucket at a wedding, graduation or other milestone event and no one would be the wiser. At least until you asked for something that would hold a bit more than a champagne flute, that is. (True story: We laid in a couple of cases of Chimay, another champagne-bottled Belgian ale, for my college graduation. And yes, a good bit of that delicious monk-brew was wasted on juvenile cork-shooting.)This ales about as tough as champagne to swill straight from the bottle, too (yes, I tried). Its highly carbonated, almost obnoxiously so, which means youre going to get some bubbly blowback if youre redneck enough to say, Glass? Hell, boy, its already in a glass!So, after putting on some manners and pouring this beer into a proper glass, what do we have when the bubbles recede? Something delicious.Tripel Karmeliet is as blonde and bubbly as a Malibu beach bunny. Its refreshing, with lots of fruitiness impressive, since theres naught but grain and hops in the mix here and, at 8 percent alcohol, will get you relaxed and happy with just one bottle.It feels a little odd to lay into one of these by yourself anything with a cork thatll put out a light fixture when it pops is a symbol of good friends gathered to celebrate.But whether alone or in the company of friends, that popping cork will unleash a bottle of good taste.You can find this beer at West Vail Liquor Mart and Avon Liquor.Scott N. Miller-Vail Daily business editor

Fall is in full swing and winter is just around the corner. As the weather turns colder, were leaving behind the light summer salads and crisp, fruity wines in favor of some stick-to-your-ribs cuisine and headier drinks. So whip up a batch of spaghetti Bolognese or get a little fancier with a heaping plate of osso buco, and uncork a bottle of 2006 Cline Oakley Five Reds. This Clines lovely bouquet will hit you first. Take a moment to breathe it in before you take a sip. Then let this dry, easy-drinking wine wash over your tongue. The peppery, spicy blackberry and cherry flavors will jump out at you. For $9.99, at Pier 13 Liquor in Eagle-Vail, this California wine is ripe for every-day drinking. The Five Reds boasts a different mix of wines every year, but the 2006 version is a blend of 74 percent merlot, 7 percent barbera, 6 percent cabernet franc, 3 percent syrah and just 1 percent mourvedre to top it off. Good winemakers can blend different types of grapes to get what theyre looking for, said Tom Domenico, owner of Pier 13 Liquor. Some merlot might soften a big cabernet, or if youve got something flabby, throw in some syrah and give it a back bone. Domenico recommends pairing the robust Cline with spicy foods or barbecue. Also try it with a tender pork roast or juicy steak bold food that will stand up to the slightly raspy red.It would be good by itself, but I just think its a little better as a food wine, Domenico said. You can find this wine at Pier 13 Liquor in Eagle-Vail.Nicole Frey, Daily staff writer

After pouring a glass of this wine, I took a double take at the bottle. This is wine, right? It bubbled up more like champagne or prosecco. The bottle only says White wine, and it took a little Internet time to find out this Argentinian find (from the Mendoza region) is 50 percent Malvasia, 50 percent Sauvignon Blanc. At first I was tempted to turn my nose up a bit at the slightly sweet, slightly bubbly beverage, especially when I read that you should serve it over ice, with a spritz of lime or a slice of orange. Fruit and ice with wine, really? I know, this goes against everything youve learned about serious wine. Turns out its a pretty tasty drink, though it reminded me more of a cocktail than a glass of wine.Tom Domenico, owner of Pier 13 Liquors in Eagle-Vail, had reservations when he first heard about this wine, he admitted. I was like, OK, here we go, its a wine cooler, but it was pretty good. The people that weve got on it keep coming back and buying it, he said. The bubbles are smaller than champagne bubbles and tickle your tongue just enough to liven things up. I tasted peach flavors in the wine, which is sweet, but not Riesling sweet. And at only 9.5 percent, you can have a glass or two without feeling wobbly.Maybe there really is a new age of wine upon us?You can find this wine at Pier 13 Liquor in Eagle-Vail, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards and West Vail Liquor Mart. Caramie Schnell, High Life editor


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