Val’s July Blog

Summer is in full swing. It’s warm but not too hot. The afternoon rain showers are back and everyone seems happy. If you are thinking of going to Vegas, simply don’t do it. Stay here and relish the amazingness the Vail Valley has to offer. People from all over the world are here to enjoy the beauty of our nature. Independence Day weekend was a huge success. Naturally, I guess, lots of vodka and light beer were purchased. I always try to recommend something out of the ordinary, something that you won’t be able to find in every store. Here are some suggestions to enjoy at home or anywhere else. Today or any other day.


Red Wine: The Rhone Valley in France offers one of the best wines for your money. Few producers from that area can compare to the history and pedigree of Ogier. The family name dates to 800 A.D. and they started making wine in 1859. Their wines are an ode to finesse, elegance and freshness. The 2017 Lirac is a great expression of their winemaking style. A blend of mostly Grenache, with small parts of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. It is elegant, silky and has polished tannins with a long finish. Rated 91 points by the Colorado-based Jeb Dunnuck. More importantly, though, it is a fantastic value. $19.99 for a Lirac is a great price as well. Enjoy!


White Wine: Paddy Borthwick is an experienced winemaker that has gained reputation for constantly producing high quality wines. His family vineyard is located in Wairarapa in the southern part of the north island of New Zealand. In line with his family’s legacy of international trade, 90 percent of the wine is exported around the world. His 2019 Sauvignon Blanc is quite possibly the best from New Zealand that I have ever tried. It is not your typical SB that is zesty and very acidic. This one comes from granite soils, showing stone and mineral notes throughout. The lime flavors persist through a long finish. It drinks like a Sancerre but for a fraction of the cost. It’s a “steal” for only $20.99 a bottle.


Beer: Dry Dock Brewing is one of the best small breweries in Colorado. Their flagship beer is the Apricot Blonde. Since it became so popular, they started brewing a variety of fruit ales. Their newest seasonal is a Blood Orange Blonde Ale. So fresh that their website is still not updated with info about it. Bright orange notes on the nose and finishing a bit sweet. Very refreshing and great for all the fruit beer lovers out there. I wish it was a year-round brew. Try it while it’s available and if you like it – buy a few extra before it’s gone. It is $10.99 for a 6 pack cans. Cheers!

Val’s July 4th Blog

June was very hot! People even complained, which they never do. We are all hoping for the monsoon season to kick in. And the biggest day of the summer is approaching – Independence Day. Even with no parade again this year, the Town of Vail is excited to feature some incredible patriotic exhibits, on-the move musicians and other surprises. Town is already packed with excited people. I wish I could spend some time outside but I will be working all weekend. Which is totally fine, as I’ll be able to recommend some great wines and beers for everyone to enjoy. Here are some suggestions for you to try as well, proudly made in the USA.


Red Wine: Yamhill Valley Vineyards is the oldest winery in McMinnville AVA in Oregon. It was established in 1983 and they still have a few bottles of that vintage put away for very special occasions. Nowadays, all their wines are 100% estate grown. No two years are alike, especially in Oregon wine country. 2016 brought the earliest start date of harvest on record. Because the summer was long and dry it helped fruit to become more intense and with more texture. Their Estate Pinot Noir is bright and vibrant with ripe tannins and a lively acid. And this is the key for their winemaking technique – acid. Especially on rich vintages like 2016, it helps create a wine distinctive to its terroir. An amazing quality for only $22.99. I highly recommend you try it.


White Wine: Epiphany Cellars is a part of the Fess Parker family portfolio. Located in beautiful Santa Barbara County in California, they make a variety of wines. Some of them really interesting and unique. Their Grenache Blanc comes from Rodney’s Vineyard in the Santa Ynez Valley. Fess Parker produces a fantastic Riesling from the same vineyard. But back to our focus – the Grenache Blanc grape originates from Spain, even though it is mostly used in the Rhone Valley in France. Epiphany’s 2017 vintage is zesty and fresh on the palate, clean and very quaffable. 20% was aged in French oak to round the acidity. A very versatile wine that is worth trying. Only $21.99 per bottle.


Beer: It’s warm out there and there’s nothing more desirable than a light, crisp, easy-drinking, ice cold beer. Oskar Blues’ newest addition is perfect for those times. This Lager comes with a low 4.2% abv and has only 95 calories. Any similarity with Michelob Ultra’s stats is a pure coincidence. This beer is quality, though. They describe it as an American Pale Lager and a Pilsner. When I tried it, it drank like a light Lager to me. I suggest you have a taste of it and decide for yourselves. Either way, it is delicious and crushable. For the month of July a 15 pack cans will be only $16.99. Cheers!

Val’s June Blog

GoPro Mountain Games are back! This was fantastic news when it was first announced. Now it’s reality. Town is full with athletes and spectators. Water in rivers is rising, bike trails are in great shape. I am sure I am not the only one that is happy Summer is here. Officially in about a week too. This year it coincides with Father’s Day. Let’s honor the unsung heroes the way they deserve it. For being role models, for their work ethic, for the volunteer hours as a driver and coach and whatnot. Besides the traditional gift of a bottle of single malt scotch, here are some ideas you can consider in the wine and beer world.


Red Wine: This is one of my all-time favorites. Alexander Valley Vineyards Organically Grown Cabernet Sauvignon. It comes from a single vineyard that has been organically farmed since 2008 and certified organic since 2011. It is also 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is very rare nowadays, especially at this price point. The 2018 vintage was aged in oak barrels for 24 months, giving it a nice depth. Some dark fruits on the nose, followed by more of those, chocolate, leather, oak and finishes smooth. An outstanding value at a very appealing price – only $27.99. Rated 90 points and higher for at least 4 years in a row. I am definitely getting my Dad a bottle!


White Wine: We have to go with a dry, crisp wine here. How about a Riesling from Austria? You’ve never had one before? Martin Nigl and his family cultivate some of the best locations in the Krems Valley on the northern side of the most beautiful river Danube. He is a passionate winemaker who produces pristine wines of high quality. He says it is not art to make wine. The art is to produce great wines, full of character and finesse. 2017 vintage saw 1928 hours of sunshine in the area. But the 440mm of rainfall was the difference. It ensured the quality of the wines by helping grapes to be healthy and to fully ripen. His Dornleiten Riesling shows a subtle lemon note on the nose and is immediately appealing on the palate. Light-bodied with great minerality and a crisp finish. $32.99 is a fair price for its high quality.


Beer: Cerveceria Colorado is Denver Beer Company’s sister brewery. Established in 2018, it seeks to honor the traditions, flavors and culture of Mexico. It utilizes traditional Mexican ingredients and processes to create innovative styles of beers. Some of the ones you can only find on draft and they are really unique. Like the Horchata Blonde Ale or the Poblano Pils. They can four of their beers and the newest one in the lineup is the Mango Rico Tropical IPA. It is brewed with specific hop varietals to create a hop profile loaded with citrus, tropical and stone fruit flavors. Fresh ripe mangos are then added to make this IPA extremely juicy and drinkable. Even though it has a 6.5% abv, it drinks very smoothly and will appeal to many, if not all. A 6 pack cans is only $7.99 for the month of June. Try it!

Val’s Memorial Day Blog

Sun is shining. You can see more faces and smiles, literally. And what a difference that makes! There is no reason to not be happy. One more week of school. Sports seasons are finishing up. Summer is knocking on the door. A plethora of activities to choose from. And the best part – we can do it together. It’s Memorial Day weekend and traditionally that means grilling time. Let’s see some options in the adult beverage world to possibly add to our menu.


Red Wine: 96 Points Cabernet Sauvignon from Lodi, California. Rating is by the prestigious Chumlea Hill. You can find her, among other fictional wine critics, in that wine app that you take a picture of the label and the rating comes up. In all seriousness, though, this Cabernet is a great value! Just a touch of fruity notes, it has bold sweet tannins, a velvety mouthfeel and a juicy finish. Perfect with those burgers and hot dogs that you have going on the grill. Pour yourself a glass and taste the recognition. A bottle of it is only $14.99. Not bad for a 96-point wine that’s only available in the US, right?


White Wine: This one is for those of you that will skip the grilling. The meat part, at least. Lobster Reef Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Marlborough region in New Zealand. The label celebrates the unique rugged coast which is just a stone’s throw away from the vineyard. Its location is the main reason for the bright acidity and minerality in the wine. This SB is intensely aromatic, refreshing and very balanced. It is a best-seller for those qualities but also for its price tag – on sale for only $10.99. Quite possibly the best value in the white wine section. Give it a try!


Beer: This is about a love story between brewers and the city they do it in. Denver Beer Company’s Love This City Pilsner. With open hearts, they love that city, they say. And it can’t be otherwise. Denver had welcomed them and had made their journey a fantastic one. The newest year-round brew from them is this Pilsner. It is crisp and refreshing, with a light floral and fruity hop character. At only 5% abv and a clean and easy drinking finish, that could only mean you might want to try more than one. In a responsible manner of course. Delicious and priced right – only $7.99 for a 6 pack cans for the month of June. Cheers!


Val’s May Blog

Cinco de Mayo is in the past and that means only one thing – Spring is in its full swing! Temperatures are getting warmer, more and more outdoor activities are available to us. I just tuned my bikes and am ready to enjoy the rides. Last few weeks of school and youth sports before the Summer break. Days are busy but what a difference it makes when the Sun sets late! After the long day, I am up for a glass of wine or beer. I am sure you are as well. Here are some suggestions I think you will thoroughly enjoy.


Red Wine: Remo Farina is an iconic producer in the Valpolicella region in northeast Italy. Born and raised there, the Farina family “inevitably had do inherit the wine making tradition of their forefathers”. But they only did it after exploring other career paths and came back to it with conviction, passion and love. They obviously produce great Amarones but we’ll focus on their entry level, lighter in style Rosso del Veneto. It consists mostly of the local grape Corvina, with 10% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot added to give it a bit more depth. Even though it is fuller bodied, it is also smooth throughout. Good with meats but also great for appetizers or just by itself. For only $14.99 you are getting a great bottle of wine and a glimpse of Farina’s unique wine-making style.


White Wine: Bright, easy-drinking, touch of fruitiness. Does that sound right up your alley? Then Velenosi’s Verdicchio is a great choice for you. Lots of apple and peach notes both on the nose and the palate. Fresh and medium-bodied with a lingering finish. I love it because it is unpretentious. Our friend James Suckling rated it 90 points and I have to agree with him. And the price tag – only $14.99 on the shelf – is yet another reason that I often recommend this wine. Very food friendly, as its acidity is just right. A perfect companion to any white fish! Give it a shot.


Beer: Brand new and not even on their website yet – Lone Tree Pomegranate Wit. It is a Belgian Style White Ale with pomegranate and coriander added. It is a part of their Limited Release/Branching Out project they do multiple times every year. This beer starts like a classic Belgian. Then the pomegranate shows up to add some sweetness to it. The coriander offsets that but it finishes round, with a touch of fruity note. Very drinkable, great for a warm day. A 6pk cans is only $8.49 for the whole month of May. Cheers!



Val’s Easter Blog

I hope all of you had a nice Easter holiday. This would have been the last weekend of the ski season. But Mother Nature brought some nice snow during March and season was extended. One last chance to get up on the hill. Before we know it Spring Break will be here and there goes April. So we need to enjoy every moment of it. Even though there isn’t as many people in town, our lives are still busy. Here are a few suggestions to enjoy after work or on your day off.



Red Wine: Sunny Spain brings great value in the wine world. Bodega Montecillo plays its part in it. It recently celebrated 150 years from its establishment. It is run by Rocio, a sixth-generation family member, and the Chief Winemaker Mercedes. Behind the inspiration and knowledge of these two ladies, some quality wine is produced, true to its roots and origins. Their 2016 Rioja Crianza is a classic – 85% Tempranillo and 15% Garnacha, aged in American oak. Complex and balanced, perfect to enjoy in any occasion. I enjoy it with a platter of cheese and dry meats. Wine Enthusiast liked it so much that it rated it #1 in their Best Buy category for 2020! An outstanding quality for only $15.99. Try it, you will love it!



White wine: We’ll stay in Spain for one more and my choice in the white wine world is Pazo Barrantes Albarino. From the Bodega of Marques de Murrieta, it is undoubtedly one of the flagship wines of the Rias Baixas wine region in northwest Spain. On the nose it is very floral and fruity. Palate is creamy, with lots of apple and pear notes and citrusy character. A great combination of dry fruit and zingy acidity. Full-bodied for an Albarino with a great ageing potential. An outstanding wine that is also rated 97 points. A friendly price tag of $22.99 awaits you.


Beer: There is a new Belgian in town and that’s Left Hand’s St Vrain Tripel. This Ale was designed to pay homage to classic Belgian Tripels while also adding a uniquely local twist. Colorado barley creates a subtle malt sweetness and American hops bring rich herbal and floral aromatics, both perfectly complimenting the warm spice and fruit character of the Belgian yeast. Innocent at first look and sip with its light color and body, it carries a staggering 9.3% abv. It is full of flavor and will bring satisfaction to your taste buds. For the month of April a 6 pack of cans is only $9.49.

Val’s March Blog

Spring is in the air. Even though we still get some snow here and there, you can feel it’s warmer. That usually means a better mood. And that usually means more good time spent with friends and family. And let’s not forget St Patrick’s Day! It’s the beginning of the end of the winter season. Celebrated first in 1600, it recognizes both Irish and American cultures. Irish whiskies and beers are being purchased in bulk. But what about wine? Here are some suggestions that you should try. And don’t forget to wear green!


Red Wine: Highlands 41 Pinot Noir from Monterey, California. Named after historic Highway 41 and the rugged Creston Highlands. In 1934 Highway 41 was completed to connect Yosemite to the Pacific Ocean. Grapes come from their estate vineyards which are certified sustainable. They are also situated at more than 1300ft in the Creston Highlands. This Pinot Noir shows red fruits and spice on the nose, followed by an ocean of black cherries on the palate. Finish is smooth and acidity is very balanced, which makes it a great match with the traditional corn beef and cabbage meal. The price of $17.99 is well worth it. And Wine Enthusiast rated it 91 points.


Beer: It’s not Irish. But hopefully we are forgiven for mistaking Australian accent for Irish. Most importantly this beer is delicious and on sale all of March. It is New Belgium’s Wild Ride Amber IPA. The brand name Wild Ride is used by permission of Wild Ride Brewing, Redmond, OR and Sand Creek Brewing, Black River Falls, WI. It is created to celebrate their 30th Anniversary and is a tribute to their beloved Fat Tire Amber Ale. It has an American-style aroma with sweet malt and amber characteristics. An easy to love IPA that is a reflection of New Belgium’s wild ride during the years. Enjoy a 6 pack cans for only $9.99.

Val’s February Blog

This year February is a perfect month – starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday. The first one of this kind in 11 years. And it started great – snow had finally come! Even though you can’t really see people’s smile, you can sense it. Everyone is in a better mood, including Mother Nature. And right on time, just before one of the busiest holiday weekends – Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day. Here are some suggestions you can enjoy while celebrating. And please don’t forget to get flowers for your loved ones! They will appreciate it.


Red Wine: When I think about Valentine’s Day, love, hearts, flowers and everything else that goes with it, Italy comes instantly to my mind. Today we will go to the opposite side of Romeo and Juliet’s home. Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and is home of some spectacular winemaking. Many of the varietals here are indigenous. Perricone, also known as Pignatello, is one of them. It originated in Northwestern Sicily and produces wines that have firm tannins and show dark fruit character with a slight bitter finish. Caruso & Minini’s Perricone has the balance between vibrant fruit and earthy minerality. It will be perfect as an aperitif or with your dinner or dessert, like chocolate-covered strawberries. It is made with organic grapes and is only $19.99 on the shelf. Saluti!


White Wine: This time I’ll go for a Rosé to match with our theme. Chateau D’Esclans in Provence in France is extremely well known for their Whispering Angel label. One of their other wines is The Palm. The label is as beautiful as the wine itself. It speaks warmth, beach, love! A classic Provence Rosé blend, it is very light in style. It shows great aromatic freshness along with minerality. Maybe before your Valentine’s dinner with your loved one start the evening with a glass of The Palm Rosé? A friendly price tag of $17.99 awaits you and a promise for good memories. Santé!


Beer: Bees. They love honey. We love them. I can’t imagine our World without bees. If it wasn’t for them at least 400 agricultural plant species/foods and 1 out of 6 of the world’s flowering plant species wouldn’t exist. They are very important to one of Melvin Brewing’s beers too – Killer Bees American Blonde Ale. Clean, smooth, easy drinking and yes – honey. Low in alcohol and highly enjoyable, you can’t say No to it! Especially not this month when a 6pk of cans is only $7.99! Cheers!

Val’s New Year’s Blog


Happy New Year! Many are extremely happy 2020 is over. I, as always, am cautious of what lies ahead. At the same time, I always approach things with positivity. I hope to see a lot more of that from everyone this year. Let’s make it a memorable one, let’s be kind to each other and let’s enjoy some nice wines and beers throughout it. I can certainly help with the latter. Today I will talk about some lesser popular grape varietals and style of beer that could be a new favorite for you.


Red Wine: This one is sure to get you warm and comfortable. Not only because of its 14.8% alcohol content. Pedroncelli’s Mother Clone Zinfandel comes from vines that are between 40 and 110 years old. That speaks quality right there. It is plump and rich, with jammy berry flavors and a touch of smoke and spice. An amazing Dry Creek Valley wine that has round tannins and a long finish. And I mean long! It will do great with a red meat dish. But I definitely suggest you have a glass on its own to really appreciate it. A fantastic value at only $18.99 on the shelf. You must try it!


White Wine: Not many people are familiar with white wines from Tuscany in Italy. Main grapes are Vernaccia, Vermentino and Trebbiano. The latter is our focus today. It is one of the most widely planted grapes in the world. Known as Ugni Blanc in France where it is used in production of Cognac. In Felsina’s Pepestrino it is blended with a little bit of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The result is a wine with a pale yellow color, fresh and floral on the palate, with creamy texture and a soft, slightly fruity finish. An easy-drinker for sure and comes with a friendly price tag of only $13.99. It’s worth a shot!


If you know me or simply read my columns, you would know I am a big admirer of dark beers. Hence my pick today. Bristol Brewing is located in Colorado Springs. They brew a wide variety of beer styles. But this one is perfect for the cold January days and evenings. Winter Warlock is an Oatmeal Stout. It is smooth, rich and very comforting. “A winter elixir”, as they describe it themselves. Coming in at 6% abv, it is going to be the best part of your day. The only downside – it is seasonal. So come and get a 6pk bottles to try it, if you haven’t already. For the whole month it is at the amazing price of $7.99. Cheers!

Val’s Thanksgiving Blog

Thanksgiving Day. Lots of history behind it. But simply put it is one of the best holidays, if not the best. Because we gather with our families, spend time and have fun with them. But also because table is full of delicious dishes. It doesn’t necessarily have to be turkey or ham. My significant other makes these wonderful recipes that are delectable. Pumpkin soup, kale salad, mashed sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower just to name a few. So I have to be flexible with the wine and beer options to pair with those. Here are some suggestions that you can enjoy with your Thanksgiving dinner at home.


Red Wine: You can choose from a wide variety of reds to go with your Thanksgiving dinner. The Sangiovese grape is one of them, especially when blended with some Canaiolo and Colorino in Tuscany. Montesecondo Chianti Classico is biodynamically farmed, fruit comes from two quite different vineyards in terms of soil, altitude and weather conditions. It results in a stunning wine that brings out the dark side of Chianti. In a good way. It still has the silkiness and elegance of Sangiovese. But structure is bold and firm and is a great match for many of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Deservedly rated 94 points two vintages in a row. $27.99 on the shelf. Once you try it, you’d agree it’s money well spent.


White Wine: This white is very versatile. It is light and fresh, yet it has a good tannic structure and creamy body style. Slight orange in color from the skin contact, palate shows citrus and honeysuckle notes, while the finish is bone-dry. I got so excited describing it that I forgot to mention its name. Biokult Naken from Austria it is. A blend of 90% Pinot Gris and 10% Muskateller, it is certified biodynamic and is rated 92 points by the Wine Enthusiast. I just very recently tasted the wine and immediately fell in love with it. I am confident you will as well. The $19.99 price tag is well worth it. Come and see for yourselves.


Beer: Since different Thanksgiving meals call for different styles of beers, we will focus on turkey this time. Avery’s Old Jubilation is a perfect match for it. It is a winter strong ale with a hint of hazelnut and toffee. Although it is full-bodied, it drinks clean, as no spices were added. A little bitterness counterbalances the sweetness of the malts, making it a great choice to pair with your dinner. At 8.3% abv it will warm you up and make your Thanksgiving unforgettable. A 6 pack of cans is $11.99.