Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comEagle County CO, Colorado
Special to the DailySamuel Adams Chocolate Bock

Samuel Adams was one of the first craft brew brands to really gain notoriety in this country. But even with a national reputation and wide distribution, the company rarely rests on its laurels, and is unafraid to experiment, or go into frankly, bizarre directions. The brewery almost always brings a keg of its incredibly delicious, outrageously expensive and totally un-beer-like Utopia to the annual Big Beers, Belgians and Barleywines event in Vail every January (get those tickets now, beer geeks). Compared to Utopia, Chocolate Bock is pretty straightforward. But its delicious in its own right.There arent a lot of craft breweries that are able to go beyond the basics without losing their way, usually by pouring too much of whatever it is theyre emphasizing whether thats hops, fruit or other ingredients into the mix.In this case, Sam Adams seems to be approaching the level of craft of some of the old-line European breweries. This Chocolate Bock is mahogany-dark, rich and smooth, with just enough chocolate to let you know its there. Its flavor from people in full control of their craft.Sometimes Sam Adams beers seem kind of underwhelming, the result, I suppose, of selling a product from coast to coast. With Chocolate Bock, though, theres subtlety, along with plenty of flavor. You should catch this limited release beer while its available.You can find this beer at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Village Warehouse Wines in Avon and Avon Liquors.Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer

Theres something about Italian wines a hint of something very old, perhaps wise and certainly attuned to lifes pleasures. Maybe were swayed by the label and the beautiful-sounding words, but a journey into a bottle of Italian red is almost always a bit of an adventure.The 2006 Solane Santi Valpolicella is no exception. As a Valpolicella, this is a wine made with two different, rather unusual grapes: Corvina and Rondinella (most Valpolicellas often have Molinara grapes in them as well). The process of making it is a bit unusual as well, since the Ripasso technique includes the introduction of Amarone a wine made from unpressed grape skins that adds extra tannins and body.If that makes it sounds like theres a lot going on in this bottle, there is. This is an exceptionally deep-bodied red that will no doubt improve with each year in the bottle. It has a full berry taste with notes of vanilla and a touch of smoke. The Amarone gives it sweetness while the other grapes add acidity and more body.Compared to French blends and varietals were used to, Italians can sometimes be a little daunting. But even if the words and the grapes are a bit unfamiliar, its almost always worth the trip. This 2006 Santi is a good place to start.You can find this wine at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards.Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor

Considering Faiveley was founded in 1825 and is being run by the 7th generation of Faiveleys, Erwan Faiveley, it was no surprise to me that this wine was quite delicious. After all, theyve had more than 180 years to get their craft dialed. This white burgundy wine is lively, with dry, crisp flavors sans super heavy oak. Instead, its balanced and elegant. Faiveley is firmly on the Old World side, said Jarrett Osborn of Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards. While New World wines tend to be softer, with a little more fruit and oak, Old World vino is a little more lean and earthy, with more minerality, he said. Along with Osborn, I like both styles, though I would choose a glass of this any day over a super fruity California chard.Try this wine right after opening it and then give it 30 minutes, he suggested. It really opens up after 30 minutes, which is real typical for white burgundies, he said. A lot of people will pair Chablis with oysters and raw seafood; this would be a good alternative. Its not quite as dry and crisp and minerally, but its a nice alternative.You can find this wine at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards.Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

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