Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County | VailDaily.com

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comEagle County CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyOdell Brewing Co. Red Ale
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I like hops. I like the way hops grow, in sticky sinewy vines (they pretty much cover the fence around the dog run at my house). I like the way hops smell, both fresh and crushed between your palms.I really like the way hops can flavor beer, the way the aroma rises off the head as you lift a glass, filling your nose with the distinctive flavor before it dances across your tongue. Like the modalities of jazz, I dont know nearly enough about different varieties of hops to recite the details, but I know what I like.Call it the pursuit of hoppiness. Into that pursuit comes Odells Red Ale, and its very good.Im generally a fan of Odells beers, but Id never had the Red Ale. I am, obviously, behind the curve on this one, and have some catching up to do.Like Stone Brewings Arrogant Bastard, this is really red, really hoppy, somewhat powerful 6.5 percent alcohol and really tasty. While the hoppiness is the first thing that hits you, its not overbearing the way some highly hopped beers can be. By no definition is Red Ale smooth, but neither is it bitter to the point of whoa! In addition to my pursuit of hoppiness, Im also constantly searching for good beer on sale. Ill bet you are, too. Odell beers are rarely discounted, so they remain a rare treat at my house. But Red Ale is well worth paying full price for, at least if youre pursuing hoppiness, too. You can find this beer at Avon Liquor, Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards and Village Warehouse Wines in Avon. Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer

This one took a little while to open up after the screw-top was removed, but once the tannins chilled out this multi-noted bottle turned into a find. Argentina has been kicking out lots of good, low-priced Malbecs in recent years, so it wasnt a big surprise to stumble across another (although one wonders if they shouldnt take a cue from other vintners and come up with catchier names who can remember any of these labels?).This is a dark purple wine with a lot of fruit and spice: red plum, licorice, blueberry, tobacco and coffee, to name a few. Smoke lingers in the finish, and its easy to imagine this wine standing up to the boldest meat dish. Unlike the big-ass Cabs, Malbec is a bit more restrained with the forwardness of the fruit, and it takes a little more contemplation to get all the things this wine is up to.Lujn de Cuyo is near Mendoza, in northwest Argentina not far from Chile. The vineyards are at high altitude (well, 3,500 feet anyway), and for some reason that always seems to appeal to me. With soaring snow-covered peaks in the distance, it looks like home and, I imagine, the grapes are somehow more in line with the mountain way of thinking. If that sounds silly, well, take a bottle of Doa Paula for a test drive and see if its lush yet restrained fruits dont entice you as well.You can find this wine at West Vail Liquor Mart, Avon Liquor, Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail and Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards. Alex Miller, Summit Daily News editor

Ill admit my drink preferences depend on the season. In the cold, dark of winter, I enjoy the enveloping comfort of a rich red. Now, as the days grow warm and long, I crave lighter fare. And the breezy and crisp 2007 Hess Lake County Sauvignon Blanc is the perfect accompaniment with which to usher in spring. On the nose, its light texture features melon and citrus notes that give way to a core of bright, fresh fruit on the tongue bursting with green apple and lemongrass. Enjoy this Hess as an aperitif or with any light, spring dishes, including seafood, chicken and veal. I recommend it with a sauted veal with lemon caper sauce. It also paired nicely with a seafood medley in a white wine sauce over angel hair. The Lake County, Calif. winery boasts well-drained red, volcanic soils and warm autumn temperatures with daily cooling breezes that produce small bunches of berries with concentrated flavors. Some fermented in stainless steel tanks to preserve their crisp acidity and expressive aromatics, while others get the treatment in neutral oak barrels for added depth. And indeed, this sauvignon blanc exhibits just the slightest, pleasant hint of oak.One of four Appellation Wines, its Hess bargain brand but not lacking in quality. At around $11 for a 750 mL bottle, you can enjoy this wine, guilt free, any day of the week.You can find this wine at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards and West Vail Liquor Mart.Nicole Frey, Daily correspondent