Wine and spirit reviews in Eagle County |

Wine and spirit reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff Reports
Vail CO, Colorado
AE, R W & Brew KA 01-23-08

Remember Paul Giamatti’s fit in Sideways ” “I’m not drinking any f—ing merlot!”?

Well, whatever you do, don’t let that scare you away from merlot, especially not Blackbird Vineyards 2005 Proprietary Red, which is 96 percent merlot.

So what does a wine heralded by the press as a “must-have merlot” taste like?

Seduction, that’s what. This wine, from a 10-acre vineyard in the Oak Knoll District in Napa Valley, smells like dark cherry and blueberry and tastes of black plum and other dark fruits. Each sip seemed more complex than the last; the balance between fruit and alcohol was pretty darn close to perfect for me.

Blackbird Vineyards is a not-unheard of story ” wealthy finance guy buys expensive Napa Valley vineyard and makes limited-amount (just about 1,100 cases) of pricey wine. What’s different is this wine is astonishingly good and it’s only their third vintage. I’m looking forward to next years offering already.

For more information visit

” Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

“If pinot grigio and chardonnay were to get drunk and have a lovechild, it would be verdicchio,” said Kenny Teague, certified sommelier and sales rep at Beaver Liquors. It has the characteristics of both wines, making it a tasty white wine choice. The Sartarelli 2004 Classico is a good place to start exploring the verdicchio varietal.

The wine is made from grapes grown to the south and east of Tuscany on the Adriatic coast. The wine has the flavors that are traditionally associated with verdicchio ” green melon, lime, crisp citrus and a little bit of kiwi on the finish.

The wine definitely has the “melon-y musk,” Teague said.

One of the most widely accepted and followed wine “rules” is this: White wines should be enjoyed within two to three years. This wine is four years old, and when I asked Teague he said that really the rule is just a suggestion.

“It depends on the winemaker and it is a function of the grapes,” Teague said.

The wine is paired best with seafood ” remember, it hails from an area that eats a lot of seafood. And seafood did prove to be a great complement to the wine; the wine added a touch of class to my late night dinner.

” Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer

I drove to the nearest liquor store in a blinding blizzard of a snowstorm Monday night to buy mixers to try Sobieski vodka with and it turns out I didn’t even need to make the journey. There’s just one word to describe this polish vodka: Dangerous, with a capital D. It’s so smooth it’s deceiving. I mixed it with simple pomegranate martini mix from Stirrings (pretty damn good, too, if you’re curious) per the directions ” two parts mix to one part vodka. I shook it with ice, poured it and took a sip.

Shoot, did I forget the vodka? Nope, it’s that smooth.

Next was the real test ” straight up. I pursed my lips and squinted my eyes in my typical shot preparation but there was no need. Again, there was almost no heat. This high-quality, low-priced vodka is made from Dankowski rye, known as one of Poland’s “legendary” grains. The spirit, which is Poland’s No. 1 selling premium vodka and No. 7 bestselling international vodka, is named after the last great kind of Poland, John III Sobieski, who reigned at the end of the 17th century. The bottle label somewhat resembles a much cheaper (in taste, not price) vodka, Smirnoff, but I promise, it’s oh so much better. I wasn’t sure it was attainable but Sobieski seems to have done it – premium vodka at an extremely reasonable price.

Visit for more information.

” Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

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