Val’s September Blog

That rain at the end of August was so nice! Much needed too. Temperatures cooled off for a bit. With Labor Day coming, forecast looks great. Warmer but not too hot. We will be able to enjoy the traditional grilling (please, no open fires!). School had started but we can afford one more long weekend of play. We will talk about wines and a beer to finish the day off in a perfect way.


Red Wine: Since we mentioned grilling, we need to find a bigger and bolder red wine to go with it. Look no further than Walla Walla Bing Bang Red Blend. It’s exactly what the name tells you. Bing for the cherry notes from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in it. And Bang for its richness, flavor and aftertaste. It was born in Washington and raised to be a friend of the sausage, the brat(wurst) or the soy burger you’ll be enjoying. The price tag is moderate compared to its quality – only $14.99 a bottle. Yet another great value from the Northwest!


White Wine: Sauvignon Blancs are not always very acidic and citrusy. From Dry Creek Valley in California, located between Lake Sonoma and the Russian River, they tend to be rich and nuanced. Warm days and cool, foggy nights help produce balanced wines with fresh acidity. Willowbrook Sauvignon Blanc has tropical aromas on the nose that lead to a citrusy and clean palate. Finish is not bone dry which makes it a great pair for variety of foods. It’s been a while since I’ve been impressed with a Sauvignon Blanc so much. It is also rated 97 points and is only $16.99 on the shelf. Come and try one!


Beer: Don’t get me wrong, seltzers are great on a hot summer day. But let’s find something else that is as easy drinking and refreshing as them. Ska Brewing’s Mexican Logger is just that! Brewed for more than 20 years now, it has been a staple for them. Light, crisp, thirst-quenching. It is the perfect Mexican Lager! A winner of many awards, it is sure to please your taste buds as well. Another great reason to try it – it will be on sale for the month of September for only $8.49 a 6 pack. Enjoy and Happy Labor Day everyone!

Val’s August Blog

July was very busy. Warm but we also finally got those afternoon showers. We are now into August and about a month away from Labor Day. But still plenty of time to enjoy the outdoors. Some even call it “playing time”. School will start a week later. Which means extra time to do a hike or have a bike ride or simply walk outside and enjoy the sunshine. When we come home we want something light and easy drinking to finish off the day. Here are some suggestions that would do amazing for you.


Red Wine: Family-run for four generations now, Ca’ Del Baio has been making wines ever since the early 1900s. They produce high quality Barbaresco, which they are best well known for. But we will focus on another gem of theirs – Paolina Barbera d’Alba. Named after one of the daughters Paola, who struck me with her passion for wine when I met her. She is the master behind this silky and fresh wine, with a great balance between acidity and fruit. She told me Barbera is Italians’ first choice when it comes to pairing a pasta dish with a red wine. Well, this one is simply stunning, whether enjoyed by itself or with that pasta meal. Price tag is very fair too – only $17.99 a bottle. Come and check it out yourselves!


White Wine: Summer calls for clean, crisp, easy drinking wines. Today we will talk about a grape that has gained a lot more attention to itself in the last few years – Grüner Veltliner. It is mostly known to come from Austria, where it is the mostly planted grape variety. Almost all of it is grown in the northeast of the country, close to the most beautiful river Danube. Along with Riesling, it grows on steep terraces and results in a mineral-driven, lightly fruity and very food friendly wine. Salomon Undhof has been in the Kremstal area since 1792. Thus, it is one of the oldest privately owned wineries in the country. Their Hochterrassen Grüner Veltliner is elegant, with citrusy brightness and a juicy and clean finish. A wonderful quality for only $15.99 on the shelf. You’ve got to try it today!


Beer: Eddyline Brewery is located in Buena Vista, Colorado. Known for its high quality beers that come in 16 oz cans. I am a big fan of their lineup but one sticks out when we’re talking about summer – the Raspberry Wheat. They started it as a summer seasonal back in the day but it quickly became people’s favorite and is now available year round. On the nose – a vibrant aroma of the Oregon raspberries they use, on the palate – it is slightly tart, very refreshing and delicious. On sale this month too – so a 6 pack of 16 oz cans is only $9.99. I’ll see you at the store soon!

Val’s another July Blog

Last weekend was very busy. We all expected that. Lots of people outdoors doing all sorts of activities. Even though days are getting shorter, daylight is still bright and long. Temperatures are high, some describe the weather as “hot”. Maybe they don’t know what 105F and 98% humidity feels like. But we are all in agreement a refreshing and delicious beverage at the end of the day is the perfect finish. I know I am craving one at the end of my 12-hour day at work. Here are some suggestions you might have never tried before.


Red Wine: Malbec. People love it, no question. Especially the one from Argentina, where it is the main grape. But it originates from France where it is one of the five main varietals in Bordeaux. En Memoire is 100% Malbec, certified organic and vegan friendly. A perfect balance between the clay-limestone soils on one hand and lots of sunshine and regular rain on the other. The first giving it high tannins and color while the latter – ripeness and fruitiness. But in a few simple words this wine is amazing. Good depth, touch of earthy notes and plenty of dark red fruits. Quite possibly the best Malbec for the money! A bottle goes for only $15.99. Just grab two because you will love it, I promise.


White Wine: Pinot Grigio. No. This time is Vermentino. It is best known by this name, although as any other grape in Italy it has a bunch more names in the different regions that it’s grown. In Southern France it is known as Rolle where it is mostly used in roses, like Whispering Angel for example. Wines produced from the grape are light in body, with good acidity and with citrus and almond notes on the palate. Rocca di Montemassi’s Calasole Vermentino offers good minerality too. This Tuscan white wine makes a great choice for an afternoon drink. It is food friendly as well, especially if you’re cooking any type of seafood. Give it a try instead of the more obvious choice in the Italian white wine category. A bottle of it is only $14.99. What’s to lose here?!


Beer: It’s warm outside and I’m craving a light beer. But I also love my IPAs. Is there a good match for me? Absolutely! Look no further than ONE-Y. It is Oskar Blues’ low-calorie IPA. 100 calories that is, to be exact. Standing at only 4% abv, it is a great finish to your hike or bike ride. One-y delivers a citrusy flavor of orange peel, lemon zest and tangerine. It still has the IPA character to it but in a much lighter way. You can easily enjoy it by itself or with your favorite food. A 6 pack will be on sale for the whole month of July for only $8.49. Come and enjoy it more than one-y!


Val’s July Blog

Independence Day has been a federal holiday since 1941 but tradition of its celebration goes back to 18th century. In more recent times, people had gathered to watch fireworks, parades and concerts. We might not see any of these this year for obvious reasons but that doesn’t mean we will not have a good time. We will still get together with our friends for barbecue, beach volleyball or other leisure activities. Those call for a glass of good wine or beer, of course. So I will give you a few Made-in-USA suggestions to enjoy while celebrating July 4th.


Red Wine: MANA. Loosely translated from Hawaiian it means to live with energy. This is a story where a Maui lady meets Mainland. Ashleigh Hutchison, that is. She moved to California to fulfill her passion about wine. I met her during her time with Miner Family Winery. Since, she had started the Industry Outlaw business, a part of which is MANA wines. They give back to the communities via partnerships with many non-profit organizations. MANA Pinot Noir is light and bright but full of flavor. Exactly what you’re looking for on a warm weekend day. A bottle of it is only $12.99. Enjoy!


White Wine: The Albariño grape is originally from the area of Galicia in Spain. Hendry Wines planted it first in 2003 in their vineyards in Napa, California. Since then, it has been a great success for them. In recent years, they even grafted over two vineyards from Pinot Gris to Albariño. Peachy, citrusy and floral on the nose, palate offers green apple and lemon zest, with good acidity on the finish. Drinks well by itself or with light dishes that are high in flavor. A bottle goes for $22.99. Not the cheapest out there but so worth it!


Beer: Back in 2009, Oskar Blues released their Mama’s Little Yella Pilsner. I have seen it being described as Bohemian, German-style or even Mountain Pilsner. But to simplify – it is “a damn good, crushable beer”, as they say it themselves. Unlike mass market light beers, it is not diluted with corn and/or rice. Clean, crisp, refreshing, easy-drinking. A wonderful July beer! A 15pk of cans is only $16.49 this month. Come and get some!


Val’s May Blog

Happy early Memorial Day everyone! (originally Decoration Day) We value all the men and women that have done so much for this country. F16 jets should be flying over in their honor too. Our theme today will be kind of similar – we will talk about the local winemakers and brew masters that spend countless hours each day to produce the best American product so we can enjoy it. Like last year, I’ll talk about Merlot. Please don’t skip that section! But unlike last year I will focus on California wines this time.


Red Wine: Rodney Strong is one of my favorite wineries. Especially value for money! It all started over 55 years ago when dancer Rodney Strong settled into Sonoma in California to pursue a second lifelong passion. Quality of winemaking has been on the rise there during this time. Their 2016 Merlot is finally getting the attention it deserves. It shows lots of dark fruit notes, palate is elegant and the tannins are soft. A great match for your grilled pork or burgers. Rated 94 points, it overdelivers for the moderate price tag of $18.99.


White Wine: Are you tired of the same New Zealand wine you are buying every time? It’s time to try something similar, yet not so much. Uppercut Sauvignon Blanc form the North Coast in California will satisfy you. Compared to its cousins in Marlborough, this one has mineral backbone that reflects the vineyards’ volcanic soils. Citrus flavors are present but they are not the main character here. Green apple, pear and melon notes are found from start to finish. It drinks very easy, acidity is not too high either. A very balanced wine that is totally worth the money. It is on sale now for only $13.99.


Beer: Denver Beer Company has always impressed me with their beers. Their newest addition did the same. A year-round selection, Tart Delight is a Citrus Sour. It is fermented with lime juice and a touch of pink Himalayan salt (my favorite salt!). The finish is clean and crisp. Overall it is a very refreshing beer with just the right amount of tartness. Whether you are a sour beer fan or just need a thirst quencher, this one is a must try! A 6 pack will be on sale all next month for only $7.99. I’ll see you at the store!


Val’s March Blog

Last few weeks have been really challenging. Five letters and the number 19 after them changed our lifestyle, if not our lives. Among all that we need to find some positivity to get us through. Too many people are concerned for too many reasons. It’s definitely a tough time out there. Stress is high, people are even panicking. Days could be long and exhausting. At the end of it we need a glass of something nice to soothe us up. Some choose hard liquor for its higher alcohol content, thus its disinfecting quality. But I’ll recommend some nice wines and beer to finish your day with.

Red Wine: California is best known for its outstanding Cabernets and Pinot Noirs. But there are other grapes there that are of high quality. The so called Rhone grapes – Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, among others. Bistue Cellars is located east of Napa and fairly close to Sacramento. Named after the winemaker Carolina Bistue, who had worked in Priorat in Spain prior to this. Hence her love for those grapes. This wine is intense and full-bodied with well-matured tannins. It will complement greatly any steak or chicken. And I think you’ll love the wine and the blend, which contains 9% Cabernet Sauvignon as well. It is currently on sale for only $23.99 a bottle. Come and get some!

White Wine: We are all very familiar with the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, I dare to say. But did you know that some very fine Sauvignon Blancs are produced next door in Australia too? Cape Mentelle is a great example of that. It is located in the Margaret River zone in the Southwest part of the country. The area is known for its high quality Cabernet Sauvignons. But this wine is exceptional too. A healthy amount of Semillon is blended in to add some complexity. As the winemaker describes the wine it is the embodiment of their place and terroir. Some similarity with the New Zealand style but in an improved way, in my opinion. Also rated 94 points, for those who find these numbers important. You can get a bottle of it for only $14.99 now.

Beer: Spring is officially here. Weather is soon to start warming up. This is probably the last chance to enjoy something darker. Left Hand Brewing from Longmont, Colorado is a master of the dark beer brewing. Many of us know about their flagship Milk Stout and its Nitro version. But a few months ago they came out with a Porter – Death Before Disco. Brewed in a classic style, it is full-bodied with rich chocolate malt and dark berry notes. Dry and roasty on the finish, it drinks beautifully. For the whole month of April you can get a 6 pack of cans for only $7.99. Enjoy!

Val’s February Blog

February 29th. Every four years we get an extra day. To enjoy life and with that to enjoy a glass of nice wine and/or beer. Three weeks before Spring temperatures are rising. Days are sunny and we still spend quite a bit of time on the mountain. After a long and tiring in a good way day, we look forward to a refreshing beverage that will make our evening perfect. Here are some suggestions that I think will complement your day greatly.

Red Wine: Joel Gott makes quite a few wines. And I can say he makes all of them very well. A great guy himself, his wines speak quality and great value. It’s easy to pick any of them for dinner or to enjoy by itself. His Washington red blend is not too well known so we’ll focus on it today. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a touch of Syrah are blended to make an exceptional wine. Dark fruit flavors on the front of the palate are followed by elegant tannins and a long finish. An amazing quality for only $17.99 a bottle. I highly recommend it!

White Wine: Most of you have probably heard of Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation in the Rhone Valley in France. But did you know there is also a Chateauneuf-du-Pape blanc (white)? Domaine des Senechaux is an iconic producer in that area. Their red wines are gorgeous. But their whites are a hidden gem. Their 2015 C-d-P Blanc is a somewhat untraditional blend of Roussane, Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Bourboulenc, due to the rarity of Clairette in those parts of the valley. Grape varietals you might have never heard of but ones that will please your palate. The wine has a great structure and complexity and the finish is elegant and long-lasting. Rated 93 points by the Wine Spectator, a bottle of it is on sale for only $34.99, down from $44.99.

Beer: 1554. The year the city of Sao Paulo was founded. A fact that is unlikely you knew. But when you hear the number 1554 most people will think of New Belgium’s dark ale. And rightfully so. It has been a staple for them for many years. It survived the never-ending changes at the brewery. Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi! Certainly my favorite of their lineup, it is light to medium-bodied. Drinks full flavor, feels light on the palate. At 6% abv it appeals to many, especially those who are not in a mood for a porter or a stout. For the whole month of March a 6pk bottles will be on sale for only $9.49. Now is the time you give it a try, if you’ve never had it before.

Val’s January Blog

Whether you are a football fan or not, whether your favorite #12 is playing or not, whether you like the halftime commercials better than the actual game, Super Bowl is a big thing. Fact! Over 100 million people will be watching, although viewers in the Northeastern part of the country might be slightly less this year. Preparations start days ahead. Traditionally, most consumed adult beverage that day is beer. We will turn our attention there in a moment. But first here are some suggestions for wines that will go well with your nachos, chicken wings and everything else you might have on the table.

Red Wine: Easy drinking and affordable, we are not looking for anything too fancy. But we still want a quality wine. Stelvin closure (screw cap) is preferred so we don’t miss any action on TV. Castle Rock’s Red Wine Cuvee from Columbia Valley in Washington is the winner here. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah. It is elegant with loads of dark berries on the nose and palate, well-balanced with soft tannins. Pairs very well with Kansas City BBQ and such. And a bottle of it is only $12.99.

White Wine: We continue with the theme – A to Z Pinot Gris from Oregon would be a great fit in the white wine world. Aromas of peaches, apricots and yellow plum are followed by a balanced and fresh palate. Acidity is crisp and the fruit notes make it a very enjoyable wine. It pairs easily with many different courses of a meal, making this an ideal complement to any dining or drinking occasion. Would complement a San Francisco Cioppino, for example. Stelvin closure and a very friendly price tag of $15.99 for a bottle.

Beer: Bonfire Brewing’s Brush Creek Blonde Ale is a great choice for the big game! 100% of the water comes from Eagle’s Brush Creek, fed by springs and snow-melt in the Sawatch Mountains. Light, smooth and delicious, it also comes with a low abv (alcohol by volume) and low ibu (international bitterness units). A guarantee you’d want to enjoy more than one can. For the whole month of February a 6 pack of cans is only $7.99! What’s not to love here!? Go Broncos! (in remembrance of those free dougnuts we used to get during regular season)

Val’s December Blog

The holiday season is upon us. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The snow has crafted magical views, bright and colorful lights can be seen everywhere, you hear the bells ringing. It might be cold outside but it is warm in our hearts. We will spend time with the loved ones to celebrate a successful year and to wish ourselves health and happiness in 2020. Tables are full of wide variety of homemade dishes. The only thing missing is the wine and beer to go with them. Here are some suggestions.


Red Wine: Big, bold and full-bodied for this time of the year, right? More than 200 miles south from Napa, in Paso Robles, Daou Cabernet Sauvignon is what you’re looking for. 2017 vintage is quite possibly the best for the Daou brothers. When I met Georges 5 years ago, he told me: “I’d like to make a wine that is 100 points. But 100 points in terms of value for money when customers drink my wine.” Well, Georges and Daniel, you fully succeeded and you should be proud of yourselves. Your dream became a reality, the quality is amazing! I became a fan a while back and still have some bottles of the 2012 vintage. Dear customer, now it’s your turn! Give this highly rated wine a try for only $28.99 a bottle.


White Wine: No doubt we have to go with a sparkling wine here. For 10 straight years its consumption has increased in the US. November and December are naturally the busiest months for it. We’ll gather for a toast at New Years Eve, we might have a mimosa in the morning and why not pair it with a dish too. Moillard Cremant de Bourgogne Brut is ideal for all. A Chardonnay-based blend, it is elegant, with a touch of citrus notes that are followed by some apple and peach flavors. The fine bubbles makes you want to have another glass. All Prosecco lovers are welcome to try it and compare. An outstanding value at only $16.99 a bottle. Brut Rose is at $19.99.


Beer: Lately all seasonal beers are done well before the end of that season. But one of them is holding strong to be available for the perfect occasion – Anchor Christmas Ale. Brewed for 45 years in a row now, the 2019 release is fantastic. Slightly darker than last year’s, it is rich, round and full-bodied with a smooth finish and hints of coffee and Mexican chocolate. A perfect pair for the cold but cozy winter holiday days. Only a few 6 packs left at $14.99.