Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff Reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comVail CO, Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyRogue Double Dead Guy Ale

Just in time for Halloween comes a beer with two skulls adorning its red-painted bottle. And this isnt just a costume.The guys at Rogue can accurately be described as beer nerds. The painted red bottle has all kinds of information about the beer, its seven ingredients, its plato and its lovibond. But there isnt a word of advertising-type copy on that bottle. Youre supposed to know this is Serious Stuff by all the arcane knowlege transmitted by an IBU of 72.Whatever.The proof of any beer isnt its plato or even, in the case of Bud Light, its claims of drinkability. Its putting the bubbly mixture into the glass and taking a long pull.The beers from Rogue dont always pass that test. We had a hazelnut brown ale from the brewery pass through here to a resounding whats the point? a few months ago. It showed the brewerys willingness either to take chances or, less charitably, show off for no good reason.Double Dead Guy is different.This is solid stuff, a high-alcohol beer (9 percent is a lot for beer) that manages to keep a good amount of taste even while its hitting you on a head with a hammer. The first reaction with a lot of high-strength beers is holy (insert favorite expletive here)!Not so with Double Dead Guy. Theres never any doubt youve poured a full adult portion of malt, hops and lovibond into your glass, but theres also plenty of hearty flavor.The beer nerds Web site waxes on about caramelized apricot flavors and grapefruit finishes. Your humble, base, reviewer repeats,Whatever.If youre going to buy a splashy bomber to go along with your devil, or zombie, or He-Man costume, this is a good one. But this expensive beer is also worthy of some quality time when youre not trick-or-treating.This beer is available at West Vail Liquor Mart, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits and Beaver Liquors in Avon. Scott N. Miller, Daily staff writer

One of the oldest and best-known (though constantly debated) rules of wine drinking tells us to pair white wines with white meat and red wines with red meat. Easy enough, right? Not quite.You stand in the liquor store, staring at row upon row of wines, trying to figure out which wine is going to pair with that shrimp ceviche appetizer, the roast chicken or the veal scaloppini youre preparing to serve to your dinner guests. No, buying a separate wine for every course is not the only answer. Remember the 2007 Blackstone Winery Chardonnay, and youll be in the clear. This California chardonnay is both versatile and reliable. Serve it cold and count on it to entertain on its own or to back a meal. Perfect for this fall harvest time, the Blackstone Chardonnay first impresses with a bouquet of apples. The first sip will refresh your palate with the taste of light fruit and honey. The chardonnay is full-bodied, with very little oak, light acidity and a smooth, creamy finish. Its complex enough to please the more discriminating wine enthusiast but accessible enough for the novice wine drinker. And at about $12 for a 750 ml bottle, the Blackstone chardonnay is an excellent value. Blackstone takes advantage of Californias Central Coasts mild days and cool nights to grow chardonnay grapes with robust character. The Blackstone Chardonnay employs a touch of white riesling to add a bit of fruity sweetness and just a nip of pinot blanc to lighten the wine and lend a crisp air. Avoid pairing this chardonnay with a Hungarian goulash or lamb shank, and theres little chance youll be disappointed with this delightful drink. This wine is available at Avon Liquors, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits and Beaver Liquors in Avon. Nicole Frey, Daily staff writer

Sonoma County cabs tend to be slightly more herbal than Napa Valley cabs. And though Jarrett Osborn, wine guy at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits calls this a big generality, even he said it usually holds true. Take the Louis M Martini Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, for example. I tasted dark berries, bright cherries and even a bit of chocolate. Osborns more advanced palette picked up a hint of mint, too. The wine smells big and boozy when you first pour it, but dont worry let it open up for 15 minutes or so and its a lovely, easy drinking cab. I paired a glass with one of my simplest, yet favorite go-to recipes spaghetti with a quick sauce of minced garlic and high-quality tomato paste (spring for the stuff in the tube, its worth it) sauteed in olive oil. It might not sound too appealing, but add a little Parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top and life is good. Plus it literally only takes 15 minutes to make, start to finish. But lets get back to the wine, or good juice, as Osborn called it. Louis Martini was one of the first wineries in California. Within the last five or six years, the winery now falls under the Gallo label, based in Modesto, Calif. Lets call it what it is, very good, very cheap jug wine, Osborn said. Martini is in a separate facility in Sonoma and has its own winemaker, its own gig but its part of Gallo. Is that good or bad? Its awesome. It injected some capital into Martini. …. You have this under $20 bottle thats a lovely wine, I think.Looking ahead a few weeks, Osborn said if you want to drink a Cabernet on Thanksgiving, this is one to consider. While not an ideal foil for turkey or ham, this wine is big and rich, with not a lot of tannins but some spice to it, some zing. It would work well.And if youre not sold on my pasta dish, try pairing this wine with burgers, barbecue, or step it up a notch and top a grilled steak with a hearty portion of blue cheese. This wine is available at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits and West Vail Liquor Mart.Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

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