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

Daily Staff ReportVail CO, Colorado

Who can turn down a chocolate layer cake? Unless youre on a strict diet, its pretty tough. I admit, I picked up this bottle of 100 percent shiraz purely because of the label, which features, you got it, a three-layer chocolate cake. And like that chocolate cake sitting in the break room at work, it wont last long. According to Dan Mahan of Beaver Liquors in Avon, theres only about 1,500 or so cases made each year and liquor stores can only get a limited amount. It tends to go really fast. Everyone seems to know it, everyone seems to be looking for it, he said. I recommend letting this wine, which hails from Southern Australias Barossa Valley, breath a bit before having a glass. Rush it and theres a bit too much heat from the high alcohol content (14.9 percent). Once the wine settles though I tasted dark berry fruit with cocoa undertones. Due to the alcohol content, Mahan recommends pairing the wine with bold, spicy foods like barbeque or smoked meats and cheeses, like smoked mozzarella or gouda. This is a velvety wine with a subtle smoky undertone, Mahan said. Caramie Schnell, High Life Editor

In my opinion, pretty much everyone and everything should get a second chance, maybe even a third or fourth. The same is true with wine; every once in awhile I like to double back and sample a varietal I didnt enjoy the first time around. Last weekend, I gave chardonnay another shot, and I found one that I enjoyed immensely. Hartford Courts Four Hearts Vineyards 2005 chardonnay is excellent.The wine has a lot of depth to it. When it first hit my mouth there was a distinct flavor of white peaches followed by candied lemons on the finish. The wine also has elements of oak, likely because 100 percent of the wine is aged in French oak barrels.The vineyard is located on the Sonoma coast in the Russian River Valley. Mickey Werner, wine wiz at Alpine Wine & Spirits said the property is gorgeous and the winemaker is one of the best. I paired this wine with a spicy red curry, which really brought out the fruit flavors. The coconut in the dish complimented the fruit in the wine nicely.That must have been a killer pairing, Werner said. And it was. Visit http://www.hartfordwines.com for more information about ordering the wine.Jessica Slosberg, Daily Staff Writer

If Sam Adams is pouring, Im drinking. Most of the beers from Jim Kochs Boston-based brewery wont knock your socks off, but almost all of them are a pleasure to drink. The Irish Red, a new seasonal beer, is smooth, drinkable, and, if youre fan of this style, a definite step up from George Killians, which is priced a bit below the Boston brew.Those who have dived head-first into the aficionado end of the microbrew pool like talking about things like aroma, lacing on the glass, and head retention. Theyve also stolen a page from wine snobs with talk about pairing food and beer.The press kit claims Irish Red is good with brie, and it is, but thats as far as I took the manufacturers recommendations. Over the course of three evenings of sampling, I paired the beer with an episode of The Simpsons after work, a Costco take-home pizza after work and brie and crackers during Sundays NFC Championship. It was fine in all those (ahem) varied settings. This would be a great beer to enjoy alongside homemade beef stew youve fortified with a bottle from your six-pack.True to the style, Samuel Adams Irish Red has a nice color and aroma, with plenty of malt and a hint of hoppiness. Its not as heavy as a stout or porter, but its a good, hearty, beer for cold winter nights.Scott N. Miller, Daily Staff Writer


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