Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and beer reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
AE Wine Review TS 01-04-08

Rumor has it there are more centenarians in Sicily than nearly anywhere else in the world. Maybe it has something to do with the bottles of house wines sitting on every table in every restaurant?

This Sicillian red wine is made from 100 percent Nero D’Avola, a grape that is unique to Italy. The dark purple wine smells like dried, dark cherries and spice. On the tongue it isn’t much different. The wine is very smooth, with lots of cherry flavors and even a hint of vanilla and black pepper spice on the finish. It’s unlike anything I’ve tasted before ” undoubtedly a good thing.

“I hope every bottle I drink I live a bit longer,” said Dan Mahan of Beaver Liquors in Avon about this wine.

Hear, hear, Dan.

The back of the bottle explains the wines origin: it’s made from grapes grown in low-yield vineyards by the Morgante family. “Picking is done by hand, and the wine undergoes a long process of maceration at controlled temperatures before aging for four months in small oak barrels,” it reads. The winemaker suggests pairing the vino with roasted meats and hearty red sauces; I personally paired it with a pan-seared porkchop with dijon glaze and homemade butternut squash soup ” a fantastic meal all around.

” Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

There are a few wines that when they hit the palette there is nothing to say except,”Oh wow.” The Naia 2005 is one of those wines. When I opened the bottle and poured glasses for a few friends, the response around the room was the same ” enthusiastically positive. Now to give some perspective, these consummate red wine drinkers ” people who usually turn down white wine ” were asking for a second glass. This is always a good sign. Another good sign ” the bottle didn’t last long where I was and there were other libation offerings at the impromptu potluck.

Now when people think Spanish wine their first thought is usually red. I know mine was, but not anymore. The verdejo grape is one of the higher quality white varieties, and it originated in Rueda, in the Northwest corner of Spain. While the variety was forgotten about for hundreds of years it has enjoyed a reemergence in the past 15 years. The grapes used in this wine were grown on the banks of the Duero River and around the town of La Seca, where local residents consider the best grapes to be grown.

The wine is best described as floral with a distinct lemon and honey taste. The wine is bright and crisp, likely because the vintage was fermented in stainless steel barrels.

This wine is best paired with anything seafood. But this wine is great for a little creative cooking, because it elevates the food experience. Instead of the same old dishes try crab cakes and add little spice and saffron. Or help ward off the winter chill with a shrimp and pumpkin bisque, which would also pair well with this wine.

” Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer

I have to admit that sometimes the world of beer baffles me. I know the one or two brands of beer that I like, and I tend to stick to them. But every once in awhile I want to be adventurous ” I want something I have never tasted before. And when that urge comes over me, well, I do the only thing I can. I ask someone working in the liquor store what to try.

Dan Mahan, beverage connoisseur at Beaver Liquors, pointed me toward Steamworks’ Spruce Goose Ale. The brewery, located in Durango, uses Spruce tips from the San Juan mountain range to spike its beer. The ale the brewery has produced is surprisingly bright, complex and quite the mouthful. The brewery picks the plants and then freezes them to help ensure freshness.

Now the idea of using Spruce tips in beer might be new the to average beer drinker, but the tradition itself dates back to the Vikings. After the spruce and pine species were introduced to Scotland the Vikings used it to spike their beer before a long journey or when heading into battle.

Mahan pointed all of this out when he suggested the beer, but he made another observation that made me want to try this beer. He said that it is like sitting around the campfire because the beer has a strong spruce scent. In the days of endless snow a little reminder of summer never hurts.

This beer is meant to be enjoyed along with a meal ” Mahan suggested any type of stewed meat or game to enjoy along side the beer.

” Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer

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