Wine and spirit reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and spirit reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff ReportsVail CO, Colorado
AE Laphroaic liquor KA 06-19-08

If Laphroaig Quarter Cask Scotch whisky tastes sweeter than most Scotches, thats because it is. The single-malt spirit is matured in quarter casks, or casks a quarter the size of a standard bourbon barrel. By putting it into that smaller barrel, you get more of the influence of the wood on the whisky. So you get more of an oaky sweetness, said Simon Brooking, master ambassador for Laphroaig.And if this quarter cask whisky tastes like its got a higher alcohol content than most other Scotches, it does 20 percent more. When the bottle is uncorked, youll know it, and once it hits your tongue youll be reminded of it, which is why Brooking recommends using the mouth and nostrils to smell it and while sipping, try to use the center of your tongue as the taste guide.Of course, like any good Scotch, Laphroaig uses peat moss for that heavy, familiar Scotch taste, only their peat comes from the Scottish island of Islay (Gaelic for island), which contains heavy traces of seaweed, adding a sulfuric tinge to the whiskys potent taste.Brooking said the quarter cask goes well with robust cheeses, dark chocolates, smoked oysters, steaks and venison. For less adventurous pallets, the Laphroaig Quarter Casks flavor profile can be narrowed by storing the bottle in the freezer or pouring it over ice. Because its non-chill filtered, the warm-to-cold temperature shift will cause flavor changes and make it easier to sip.The most important thing is that you drink it the way you like it. Dont have anybody tell you how to drink your whisky, Brooking said.Well said, sir. This spirit is available at Village Warehouse Wines in Avon, Avon Liquors, Eagle Liquor Mart and Riverwalk Wine and Spirits in Edwards.Charlie Owen, High Life writer

If you want a hard-to-find bargain of a pinot gris, look for the wine label sporting a hand-drawn Irish Wolfhound. Winemaker David OReilly is considered one of Oregons best he makes Sharecroppers lineup as well as the cult-classic Owen Roe wines and this bottle is classic Oregan Gris. The tropical aromas and flavors really stand out and even though I dont usually like sweeter wines, I couldnt stop drinking this wine. This wine never touches oak, and it shows, said Kevin Lawrence, sommelier at Avon Liquors. This wine is dry, with an explosive lime and starfruit nose, solid acidity one would expect from Oregon, and great guava and a hint of mango and/or insert other Hawaiian tree fruit here.The vineyard and wine are treated with the same devotion as Owen Roes top cuvees, something thats readily apparent here. Considering most Oregon Pinot Gris has reached the $20 mark and that only 1,000 cases of this wine are produced, this wine is a fantastic value, Lawrence said. Pair this wine with nothing more than a sunny venue and some good friends and youll be happy. If youre in the mood for food, try it alongside salads, halibut or grilled chicken. You can find this wine at Avon Liquors.Caramie Schnell, High Life editor

Its not always easy to find a good pinot for under $20, but this 2006 Aquinas fits the bill and more. This Napa Valley pinot is light and refreshing, a nice summer red since it amuses the palate without asking too much. Light garnet in color, the Aquinas has a full range of flavors: cherry, clove, apricot and a backsplash of floral accents. Its the kind of wine that has you holding up the glass and nodding your head while squinting at the pale red hue through the glass.Aquinas is a label of the fast-rising Don Sebastiani & Sons, which makes some other familiar low-cost wines such as Pepperwood Grove and Smoking Loon. Its tempting to think of the Aquinas as a starter pinot for those not yet ready to take on some of the more heady bottles. It has enough of a flavor palette to make it interesting but isnt so demanding as to confuse a more novice nose. More sophisticated pinot drinkers may find its finish a little flat and the tannins count on the low side.But hey, not everything needs to be a final exam especially in summer. The Aquinas is a nice drinking wine and not a bad choice at all for the table especially if its outside with some grilled fish or even burgers.The Aquinas is available for $14.99 at Avon Liquors. Kevin Lawrence says the store just got it in last week.Its a big, showy pinot that delivers a lot for the price, he said. There are few good pinots in that price tier its just hard to find a good pinot under $20.You can find this wine at Avon Liquors.Alex Miller, Vail Daily editor

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