Wine and beer reviews in the Vail Valley |

Wine and beer reviews in the Vail Valley

Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comVail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Caramie SchnellDogfish Head Red & White

There was a little trepidation at the ol beer review desk (my home computer, because drinking at work is frowned upon) when it came time to open this one.You see, Red & White is exactly the kind of beer some brewers make to show off. How showy is it? Heres a description taken straight from the Dogfish Head Web site:A big, Belgian-style Wit brewed with coriander and orange peel and fermented with Pinot Noir juice. After fermentation, a fraction of the batch is aged in Oregon Pino Noir barrels, and another fraction is aged on oak staves.Does that sound like a potential brewing disaster or what?The best beers are a celebration of very simple things done very well. This is an exercise in weird complexity. Its easy enough to foul up a batch of brown ale. This stuff would be the brewers equivalent of nitroglycerine one false move and kerblammo!So, whats it like? Pretty good, really.The first sip of Red & White crashed pretty hard across my tastebuds, but that might have been the clash with the brownie sundae Id just shared with my family.As the beer washed away the last vestiges of brownie, and the beer opened up, things got smoother and more tasty.My oafish tastebuds have been well-documented in this space, but theres a quite good witbier working here, and yes, you can actually taste the pinot juice thats kicked it up.The grapes and, presumably, the fermentation methods give Red & White more body than a regular witbier and a distinctive taste. This is powerful stuff, friends at 10 percent alcohol, drinking this bomber by yourself has pretty close to the same effect a similar-sized bottle of wine would have.But for something to share with a friend over a good meal Im thinking beef or lamb stew, with some hearth-baked bread this would be a nice treat.You can find this beer at Village Warehouse Wines in Avon, Avon Liquor and West Vail Liquor Mart.Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer

This is a good one. Again, Malbecs from Argentina tend to be good picks these days, but this one is particularly sassy. With a lot of spice, a bright nose and a smooth finish, the Graffigna is a great sipper that would also stand up well to hearty meat dishes, game or fowl. Oak-aged for 12 months, its got a full mouth of flavor ranging from dark berries and pepper to vanilla and tobacco. Its very drinkable now but another year or two in the bottle will only make it better.Deep red and lush with mellow tannins, this bottle hails from the Pedernal Valley, 1,400 meters above sea level outside San Juan. If a wine from the foot of the Andes seems to resonate more with high-country wine drinkers, well, perhaps that makes sense. If it doesnt, all you need know is that this is a very nice, complex red from Argentina that comes in under 20 bucks. Keep a bottle around for summer: Itd go nice with barbecue.You can find this wine at Village Warehouse Wines in Avon.Alex Miller, Summit Daily Editor

The phrase opulent austerity would seem to be an oxymoron, but devotees of riesling from Frances Alsace region will understand that description of this fine release from Hugel. At first sip, this is a clean, elegant, bone-dry white wine with distinct mineral nuances. But as it opens up, it reveals the intense citrus and apple fruit underneath. This is quite young for an Alsace riesling, and this wine could develop in fascinating ways over the next three or four years. Its balance and structure are impeccable, and its finish is clean and refreshing. Serve with: Pork and sauerkraut, seafood.You can find this wine at Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards and Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail. Michael Dresser, LA Times-Washington Post News Service

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