Wine and spirit reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and spirit reviews in Eagle County

Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comEagle County CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyWoodford Reserve 1838 Sweet Mash

Im a journalist. That means there isnt a lot of top-shelf hooch at my house. So when the chance came to sample whiskey that retails for right at $90 a bottle, my response, naturally, was Set me up!And this stuff is rare, special, and delicious.The folks at Woodford which produces a fantastic regular product have released a few small-batch whiskeys, and claim to have revived a lost recipe with 1838 Sweet Mash, a variety of whiskey that may not have been made since the days before Prohibition.According to the Woodford folks, most whiskey distillers have adopted the sour mash process in which ingredients from a prior batch are introduced to a new batch, sort of like sourdough because it produces a more consistent product.Sweet mash, on the other hand, uses only fresh ingredients grain, yeast and water and produces more complex flavors than are usually found in sour mash bourbons.Regular readers (than you) will recall that Im a self-professed Philistine, so claims of maple syrup sweetness and fruity, spicy character float right over my head. What I can tell you is this is the best whiskey Ive ever tasted. We dont drink extravagantly at my house, but we arent heathens, either. The house bourbon at my place is Makers Mark, which you can usually find at $30 or less for a 750 ml bottle. Its good stuff, I think, if youre going to pour a shot over a few ice cubes, or throw one back to celebrate the home teams latest victory.But sipping Makers from a shot glass will result in a pretty good whiskey face you know what Im talking about. The Woodford Reserve, though, can be sipped and savored while keeping your very best poker face intact. You can take the time to let this dance over your tastebuds if youre looking for the rye and mint that are supposed to round out the taste.Of course, for $90 a bottle, you expect a party in your mouth. But money doesnt always equate to a great experience. Whiskey, like jalapeno jelly, isnt to everyones taste, but if youre in a splurging mood this holiday season, or if you have a client, spouse or in-law who needs a little extra fanny-kissing this holiday season, go spend the money and get a bottle of this. Once they have a taste, theyll be impressed.No one in town carries the Woodford Reserve 1838 Sweet Mash. Visit for more information. Woodford Reserve Distillers Select is available at Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits, Riverwalk Wine & Spirits in Edwards, Avon Liquors, West Vail Liquor Mart and Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail.Scott N. Miller, Vail Daily staff writer

Nearly every bottle of wine out there has a blurb on the back label that touches on the usual suspects: The history of the vineyard or the terroir, what the wine smells like, tastes like or what you should eat alongside. This bottle doesnt bother with any of that. Instead, theres just a succinct quote by the owners of Bouchaine, Gerret and Tatiana Copeland: Good wine makes magic happen.I agree. And while there werent any magic moments the night we drank this wine, it was a very nice bottle. The wine was dry and crisp, with definite minerality alongside the typical fruit and oak flavors. And dont worry, theres just a hint of oak here, which adds to the complexity of the wine without being overpowering. I tasted that wine a few years ago at a tasting and thought, wow, thats really good, said Pete Cuccia, manager of Village Warehouse Wines in Avon, in the Traer Creek Plaza. Its an elegant wine, that, like the label, is more subtle than most chardonnay Ive tried lately. I paired this bottle with a rich, spicy Indian dish chicken tikka masala and it held up nicely. I think it would pair well with a number of dishes though, especially roasted chicken.You can find this wine at Village Warehouse Wines in Avon.Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

Blackstone makes one of the most popular merlots in the country, which means lots and lots of people have tried it. Thats probably not the case with their pinot noir, which isnt nearly as well known. But it should be. This medium-bodied wine has lots of fruit flavors raspberry and plums with a hint of vanilla. Its a bright, easy-drinking pinot. Its soft and not tannic, agreed Howard Gardner, owner of Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits. Since its not a big pinot noir, it works great as a cocktail wine, Gardner said. The wine also has great acidity, which means it would pair well with food as well, said Mickey Werner of Alpine Wine & Spirits in West Vail.This time of year it would be great with venison or duck. And nobody wants to think about turkey anymore, but its a great holiday wine. It would also work well with smoked meats, he said. This particular pinot isnt just pinot noir either its a blend of 76 percent pinot noir, 22 percent syrah and a touch of sangiovese and montepulchino. In all, this is a very nice wine for under $13. This wine is available at Eagle Ranch Wine & Spirits and West Vail Liquor Mart.Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

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