Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comEagle County CO, Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail Daily2007 Edmeades Mendocino County Zinfandel

The label on the bottle says the Edmeades 2007 Mendocino County Zinfandel has all the flavors of campfire smores even the smoke. Whatever.I fail to taste the marshmallow and graham cracker is this bottle, which is not to say it wasnt an enjoyable drink all around. Instead, I tasted raspberry and currents, conjuring up thoughts of the Thanksgiving feast to come, and the Edmeades Zinfandel will make an excellent addition to the holiday meal. Theres spice in the bottle, too, but not so much that its overwhelming. The same can be said for the acidity, which is noticeable but in no way harsh. Excellent with lighter meat dishes, this zinfandel is also ideal for sipping around the fire the indoor variety. The tannins are smooth and the finish is slow and easy. Edmeades, in Mendocino County, Calif., goes for a winemaking approach that is low in technology and high in tradition and natural methods.We believe in native yeast fermentations in small, open-top bins, hand punchdown, minimal manipulation and no fining or filtration at bottling, said Edmeades winemaker Van Williamson. The simplicity of our methods allows the soils and climates of each site to be clearly heard in our wines.While predominantly zinfandel, theres also 9.2 percent petite sirah, 4.9 percent syrah and traces of Grenache, merlot and barbera to round out the flavors. At around $20 a bottle, its a pricier zinfandel but worth the extra cash. This is certainly not your grandmothers white zin.Visit for more information. Nicole Frey, Daily Staff Writer

A certain mass-produced American beer, whose name rhymes with Bud Light is all over TV these days touting its drinkability, meaning it has about the same body and flavor as, say, Aquafina. Jubelale could make the same claim, only with some punch behind it. Jubelale, the winter ale from Deschutes Brewery in Oregon, may be the most delightful winter ale Ive had in my glass for a while. On my own dime, Ive recently had some winter ales from other good American craft breweries including one from what I believe is the best craft brewery in the Colorado. Both are very good. But theyre on the bitter side, which can catch you by surprise. That bitterness was there in the winter ale from Samuel Smith that was reviewed last week. That, apparently, is the standard.Jubelale is different. It has the body and strong flavor you want in a winter ale, but its as smooth as a fleece blanket. The deep-red color is there, and so is a thick, lacy head. But this beer doesnt open up in the glass the way the Samuel Smith brew did (which could be because my two-bottle review ration disappeared so quickly). Maybe its just me, but Jubelales smoothness makes it a lot easier to enjoy than other winter brews.Over time, Ive found myself pretty much a complete sucker for everything Ive had from the folks at Deschutes, and this is no different. Its easy to drink, but still has plenty of flavor, and packs a warm, fuzzy 6.7 percent alcohol rating.I usually buy whatever microbrew is on sale, but for my money, Jubelale has just become my default winter ale, regardless of the craft brew bargain of the week.You can find this beer at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Avon Liquors, Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits, Village Warehouse Wines in Avon, West Vail Liquor Mart, Beaver Liquors in Avon and Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail. Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer

On average, we get one or two boxes a week filled with press samples of wine and beer. Yes, everyone in the office thinks Im an alcoholic because I usually have a cache of bottles hanging around my desk. Its both good and bad to get the samples. Good because ripping open the boxes each week feels a bit like Christmas, bad because those bottles are coming straight from PR peeps who want you to give the wine a great review. Its a very different situation from what were used to with our Red, White and Brew feature, namely a reliable, knowledgable liquor store owner or employee handing us a bottle and saying, Now this, this is a great bottle. Thankfully, theyre hardly ever wrong. This particular wine, the 2006 Ravenswood Sonoma County Chardonnay, was a press sample. And while it wasnt the worst chardonnay Ive ever had, it certainly wasnt the best. To be succinct, it was unremarkable. And it wasnt full of fresh, bright floral and tropical aromas with notes of vanilla and toasted almonds. Rich fruits with a long, lingering mouthfeel are accentuated by notes of crisp apple, spicy citrus, subtle minerality, and soft buttery textures.Thats straight from the winemakers notes.

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