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

Daily Staff Reports
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyThomas Hardy's Ale is a beer lovers dream " complex with coffee and butterscotch notes, it tastes more like an aged cognac than a beer.
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Any day now spring will rear its head and everyone will be looking for a red wine that is a little more subtle as we move away from big-meat meals. Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona’a Toscaca Rossa is a good place to start. The wine is easy to drink with more of an emphasis on fruit flavors.

The vintage from 2005 is a good year, said Cathy Cohn, a local wine distributor and part-time sommelier at Larkspur restaurant.

“I call it an easy-drinking pizza wine,” Cohn said.

The ruby red wine, which is indicazione geografica tipica or a wine that is typical to the region, is a mix of a few varietals. It is made up Sangiovese, merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine is soft, balanced and ready to drink now. The bouquet features fruit flavors with spice and herbs.

The vineyard says the wine i can be paired easily with all food, which is one reason Cohn suggested it.

After tasting the wine, I have to agree. I paired it with with salmon with a balsamic sauce and I thought it worked quite well. It is a wine I will definitely be looking to keep around the house ” it has the magic combination of a good price, good flavor and it is the perfect red for spring, which will start any day now.

Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer

If you’re looking for a good, easy-to-drink, straightforward Pinot Grigio, look no further. Going into off season, it’s nice to find an affordable wine that’s really quite good. Anselmi pinot grigio is just that.

“Sometimes pinot grigio is known as being thin and insipid if it’s not made well. It’s rare to find one that is good quality at that price (around $10),” said Cathy Cohn, a local wine distributor and part-time sommelier at Larkspur restaurant.

Often times it’s possible to find good wines for pretty affordable values, Cohn continued, but you have to be willing to branch out from the well-known brands.

“Sticking to those smaller, unknown brands will get you a lot of mileage,” she said.

This wine has a slightly higher acidity than most pinot grigio’s so along with being a nice apertif, it pairs very well with food ” everything from the standard fish or shellfish pairing to traditional Italian fare or dishes with a spicy kick, like curry. I (happily) paired a glass with spicy peanut noodles and vegetables.

“It is a nice counterpart to spicy foods because it has a nice cooling effect,” Cohn said.

Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

Be forewarned, this doesn’t taste much like a beer at all. It’s far to complex, with notes of coffee and even butterscotch. Though it’s nearly 12 percent alcohol by volume, the ale is remarkably smooth. Beer enthusiasts liken this ale from Devon, England to a rare cognac, and indeed, the offering supposedly improves with age for at least 26 years, not unlike a fine red wine. Experts recommend sipping this ale (serve it at cellar temperature ” 55 F) in a snifter after dinner.

Hardy’s Ale was first brewed in 1968 at the request of the Thomas Hardy Society to mark the 40th anniversary of the author’s death. The first hint that this beer is a rare find is that it’s numbered ” mine was No. P 2302 ” but my favorite thing about the label is the quote: In ‘The Trumpet-Major’ Hardy wrote: “It was of the most beautiful colour that the eye of an artist in beer could desire; full in body, yet brisk as a volcano; piquant, yet without a twang; luminous as an autumn sunset.”

This beer is not for someone with a “faint palate,” says Shane Mulloney, one of the “beer guys” at Davidson’s liquor store in Englewood, near Denver. Instead, this ale is for a true beer connoisseur. “It’s at a 98 on ratebeer.com. To give you an idea, Bud Light is rated zero, so 98 is a very good score.”

Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor


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