Wine & spirit reviews in Eagle County | VailDaily.com
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Wine & spirit reviews in Eagle County

Daily Staff ReportsVail CO, Colorado
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Look what the wind blew in, touts Van Duzers Web site, http://www.vanduzer.com. The winery is referencing the Pacific breezes that cool the Willamette Valley in Oregon where their vineyards are located. Evening temperatures are, on average, 13 degrees lower at the vineyard than in the rest of the valley, which means the grapes ripen later, lending bright fruit flavors to the wine.The mountains drop away and allows air to come in from the ocean, said Mickey Werner of Alpine Wine and Spirits. You get a real cool, crisp, lush-style of pinot gris.The 2007 Van Duzer Pinot Gris is pure refreshment in a bottle. Theres a medley of stonefruit flavors and even a little melon and honey. Its perfect for the warmest of summer days, which weve been enjoying lately. Drink this wine by itself, or pair it with a classic match: Pink fish like salmon or trout. As a member of the pinot family, it tends to cut through fatty oils in those fish, Werner said. Or try it with pasta with cream sauce yum or seafood cioppino, even.This wine is available at West Vail Liquor Mart and Alpine Wine and Spirits, both in West Vail. Caramie Schnell, High Life editor

Nowadays, its tough to drink wine from afar without thinking, I wonder what my carbon footprint is on this varietal? A recent story in the New York Times suggested that, if you live west of, say, St. Louis, you should drink California wine, whereas East Coasters would be better footprinted by buying wine from France.I may drive a hybrid car, but Ill be damned if Ill give up Australian shiraz, for one. Ive never met one I didnt like, with even the relatively lowly Yellowtail being a palatable choice. But they do go up quite a bit from there, and one shiraz that stands out is the 2004 Love Grass from dArenberg Vineyards.The name may sound familiar because we wrote about one of this vintners whites in last weeks column (the Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne). The Love Grass is named after a groundcover that grows among the vineyards, apparently a feature the winerys family is simply tickled by.Love Grass is oak-aged for 12 months, which helps to bring out the grapes natural deep-earth flavors. This shiraz leads with a pretty sharp nose that morphs into a bouquet of dark cherry, tobacco and woody flavors without leaving a heavy mouth behind. Theres a whole rack of spice flavors in a sip, and that pleasant feeling that youre drinking something that was made by hand with some care in a very far-away place.The Love Grass is an excellent bottle to haul out with a couple of good steaks on the grill, or even a summer lamb dish. In the under-$20 category, this is a nice find that will no doubt make its way onto my table again soon.This wine is available at West Vail Liquor Mart.Alex Miller, Vail Daily Editor

Snow Queen Vodka, or the vodka with the hot girl on the label, as my roommate called it when I brought home the bottle, recently launched in Colorado. Hailing from Kazakhstan, this spirit is produced from organic wheat and artesian water, making it one of only a handful of organic vodkas on the market. It recently won the double gold award in the best of vodka category at the 2008 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. With all this information in hand, I had high expectations for my first sip of Snow Queen. I wasnt disappointed. This vodka is clean and even sippable, something that cant be said for so many of the vodkas on the market. So be brave, try it solo before drowning it in cranberry juice or Sprite. Now Im not wholly sold on the idea that organic vodka is better than its normal counterpart, but as far as Snow Queen goes, its damn good vodka. And hey, whatever it takes to make you feel better about your evening martini, or two, right?We brought it in to fit in our organic sectionm, said Geoff Moser, manager of Riverwalk Wine and Spirits in Edwards. Thats probably its biggest asset, other than it being a great, clean tasting, crisp vodka.In keeping with the green theme of the upcoming DNC in Denver, Snow Queen has come up with some signature cocktail recipes, which local bars will be slinging during the convention.Heres a sneak peek at the Migh High City Martini recipe.1.7 ounces Snow Queen VodkaHandful of cherries (or 0.85 ounces cherry puree)0.85 ounces champagneCoat the rim of a martini glass with sugar. Drop the cherries in a Boston shaker. Add a handful of ice cubes and the Snow Queen Vodka. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain and serve in the martini glass. Gently add the champagne float.Snow Queen vodka is available at Riverwalk Wine and Spirits in Edwards, West Vail Liquor Mart, Avon Liquors and Mile High Liquors in Minturn. Caramie Schnell, High Life editor


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