Ship ahoy for fine wines! The Tahoe Yacht Club might seem an unlikely venue for tasting and learning about wines, but under the direction of Vice Commodore Andy Wagner, who has taken on the voluntary role of the club’s wine-wizard, over the last 5 years the Tahoe Yacht Club has become known for its monthly wine tastings in an informal yet yacht-clubby environment.
(Photo: Irma Robinson & Andy Wagner in the Tahoe Yacht Club)
A recent tasting event, featured as a “South American Wine Tour” featured wines of Argentina and the Patagonia region from the portfolio of TasteVino. TasteVino, based in Napa, CA, was founded by Irma Robinson and her chef husband Morgan Robinson after they went to Buenos Aires to look at the cuisine and discovered the wonderful wines. These “foodies” from the Napa Valley have created a portfolio of wines that is worth experiencing.
In the spirit of the evening, members of the Tahoe Yacht Club brought South American appetizers and tapas to round out the event. You might want to consider joining this fun group, and through July 31, new initiation fees are discounted by 50%. Call general manager Darren Kramer at 530 581 4700 to inquire. The club is located at 700 N. Lake Blvd in Tahoe City, near the Boatworks Mall.
The wines presented by TasteVino are selected not only for great quality and diversity, but also with an eye to value-for-money. The wines of Cinco Sentidos in Argentina are gently produced by this family-owned, third-generation winery. Their vineyards are located towards the west of the Argentinean territory, in the province of Mendoza, at a location that’s 850 meters above sea level.
The winery features varietals which bring out the best attributes these terroirs can offer.
We started our tasting with a 2007 Cinco Sentidos Torrontes, made from fruit sourced from Salta, one of Argentina's largest provinces that is bordered by Chile, Bolivia, and Paraguay. The province is characterized by vastly diverse terrain. The resulting wine is quite aromatic, with notes of citris and flowers, and the taste is crisp. It will pair well with sushi, thai food, seafood of all kinds. 13.8% alcohol. $15 for the bottle.
The 2006 Cinco Sentidos Chardonnay is made with grapes from the Mendoza province of the Cuyo area, the site of most of Argentina’s wine grape production. This is an unoaked wine, with pear-apple-pineapple flavors, a touch of vanilla. It will pair well with salmon, pasta, fresh fruit, and even such everyday snacks as popcorn, due to the malolactic fermentation used to produce this wine. 13.5% alcohol, $15/bottle.
The 2005 Cinco Sentidos Malbec is also made from Mendoza fruit, but has aroma and taste of plum, cherry, and a touch of leather. It will pair beautifully with rib-eye steak, grilled sausage or lamb. 13.9% alcohol. $15/bottle.
Moving to the Argentine Patagonia in our South American tasting adventure, we are welcomed by the wines of Familia Schroeder. Many of their wines emanate from San Patricio del Chañar, a relatively new area in the winemaking region that features light stony soils, intense sunlight, and temperature differences and other features that are similar to Washington/Oregon.
We started with a sparkling wine, the 2007 Deseado, a lovely and elegant beverage that’s fruit-forward with flower, citrus and peach overtones. $19/bottle.
Lastly, we tasted the 2007 Saurus Pinot Noir. The Saurus label is an entry level brand for this winery. The 2007 is a medium bodied pinot with a fruit-forward aroma and taste, sweet tannins and nice acidity. Pairs well with pasta with mushrooms, halibut. 14.0% alcohol. $19/bottle.
The Tahoe Yacht Club features many different wines and regions in its monthly tastings, and holds two winemaker dinners a year as well. For more information on joining the club or coming to an event as a guest, contact general manager Darren Kramer at 530 581 4700. The club is located at 700 N. Lake Blvd in Tahoe City, CA, 96145. For visitors to Tahoe City, this location is best known as "near the Boatworks Mall."
© 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, written by me, appeared in my column "It's Grape" in July 2009.