Uncorked at Squaw: Fine Wine Choices for Barbeque and Entertainment Season

It’s barbeque season in Tahoe, and Uncorked wine shop in Squaw Valley is a place to go for some grill-pairing wines. Opened two years ago, this lovely shop has attracted a loyal following who enjoys the constantly changing wine-by-the-glass menu. It’s also become a destination for pre-wedding “Meet and Greet” parties.

Uncorked features hard to find wines, the crème-de-la-crème produced by smaller boutique wineries. And it’s known for a large selection of affordable wines that fit the wallet of recession-strained consumers. In their inventory, sixty percent of their wines originate in California, twenty percent in the Northwest (Washington, Oregon, and they always have Oregon pinots on hand!), and twenty percent are international wines.

In its cozy cellar area, surrounded by racks of wines, you can sit at an intimate table for four, and sample wines (3 tastes for $10) and enjoy a fresh cheese plate too. Or, take your tastes outside at the umbrella-shaded tables on their patio.

Uncorked sponsors winemakers many Fridays and Saturdays, pouring their own wines from 4 to 7 p.m. You can find the complete listing of events on Uncorked’s website, http://www.uncorkedatsquaw.com/. Recently featured were the winemakers of Arbios Cellars and Praxis. Arbios focuses on a single Bordeaux-style red wine, made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in in the Alexander Valley of Sonoma County. Praxis is their second label, priced at about half the limited-product Arbios wines. Both wines emphasize terroir with more than half made from a single vineyard.

Barbeque lovers will find dozens of wines to pair with their grilled delights, but we tasted four that were simply wonderful. The first two, from Ramian Estates, were a recent selection for the Uncorked wine club.

Ramian, Linden Hills vineyard, 2006 Grenache Rouge (Lodi) is a small case production wine, with only 276 cases made. It is light to medium body red, featuring light tannin, and strawberry fruit is dominant on the palate. This Grenache is certainly drinkable with or without food, but Uncorked’s Britton Burnett suggests that it would pair wonderfully with barbeque pork, grilled pork loin, grilled or smoked chicken, and ribs.

A great summer wine, styled after the Grenache wines of Spain, you’ll enjoy the fresh characteristics or this wine from the Linden Hills vineyard, situated in the southern hills of Lodi appellation. This vineyard is the perfect spot for growing Red Grenache. $18 bottle, 14.2 % alcohol. It’s also currently on Uncorked’s wine-by-the-glass menu.

The Ramian, HBV Ranch, 2007 Viognier features an aroma with a perfumy hint of blossoms, honeydew and apricots. This Viognier is creamier on the palate, and should pair nicely with lighter dishes, white fishes like halibut. Or, as the saying goes, “It pairs well with a beach on Lake Tahoe, if you have it”. Only 130 cases of this Viognier were produced. $20 bottle, 14.4 % alcohol.

Thinking of a nice grilled steak? Then think about this Petit Sirah from Twisted Rivers, 2006, Clarksburg. It is a full bodied red, nice tannin structure, nice berry. Duke Heringer, the owner of Twisted Rivers, is a good friend of Uncorked. Aged in French oak for twenty months, only 230 cases were made of this wine. $26 the bottle, 14.5% alcohol.

How about the shrimp on the barbee? You might want to choose the Sancerre Vieilles Vignes 2006 from the eastern part of France’s Loire Valley. This Sancerre is a bit earthy, while still being refreshing, crisp, and citrusy. $28 the bottle, 12.5% alcohol.

Uncorked is open from noon to 8 p.m. every day. Located at 1750 Village East Road, in Olympic Valley, California, you will find them in the Village at Squaw Valley, across from the clothing shop Atlas. Call 530 584 6090 to check on availability of the wines noted in this column, as they are from small wineries and sell quickly!

© 2009 Barbara Keck

For more information on dining and the wide range of activities around Lake Tahoe, see the online version of The Tahoe Weekly. This article appeared in my column "It's Grape" in June 2009.

1 comment: