Hospitality Galore, Good Wines, Great Food: TRIO in Truckee

Brickelltown, as the west end of historic downtown Truckee is known, has a new attraction that’s very worthy of a visit or five. The new TRIO Wine Bar and Bistro at 10292 Old Donner Pass Road is in a restored Victorian mansion that dates from 1874. The hospitality of manager Allen Wicks, sommelier Dawn Bertsch, and headwaiter Lou Phillips is unparalleled. Dine in the restored and plush Kruger-White House, or outdoors on an appealing deck. Wherever you decide to sit, spend a few minutes inside appreciating the carved Victorian rosewood bar.

You can choose from an interesting and affordable wine list, organized in a way that many wine aficionados will appreciate: from light-bodied to full-bodied. Each wine on the list can be purchased by the glass, or you can purchase a full bottle. Under development is TRIO’s Captain’s List, which features allocated wines, higher-pedigree wines that are expensive and much sought after but hard to find.

The Bistro food is exquisite too. Small plates range from$4 to $24. The full menu is available until 11 p.m. daily. All food and wine are available TO GO too.

Starting with the bubbles, the Gruet NV Blanc de Noir, New Mexico, is a Methode Champagnoise that is rich and toasty and yet very balances. Aged for two-years minimum, you’ll love the complexity of this bubbly with its berry aroma and creamy texture. Don’t be fooled by the pale salmon color, as it explodes on the palate with a juice flavor of raspberry. A wonderful aperitif. 12.0 alcohol. $10/glass or $20 for 750 ml bottle.

The Talbot 06 “Sleepy Hollow” Chardonnay, Santa Lucia, has a minerally backbone, and is a lovely and oaky fruit-forward Chardonnay. According to the winery website, the minerality comes from their 450-acre hillside vineyard that’s divided into two separate vineyard parcels, both Arroyo Seco gravelly loam soil, which allows excellent root penetration, enabling the vines to pick up subsoil minerals that increase flavor complexity. These grapes for this wine come from the Sleepy Hollow A plot, and are Wente clones that were planted 32 to 35-years ago on their own roots. This is a quintessential Burgundian style Chardonnay, medium straw in color, with aroma of honeysuckle, melon, peach, pear and vanilla. There’s a touch of French oak, and it is creamy with a long clean finish. 14.5% alcohol. $12/glass, $36/bottle. TRIO paired this with lovely and light shrimp spring rolls, house made, with an Asian peanut dipping sauce.

A lovely Ceasar salad goes well with Dr. Loosen’s 08 “Dr. L” QBA Riesling, Mosel, Germany. A wonderfully aromatic yet light Riesling, with a sweetness that conveys grapefruit and citrus throughout the taste and finish. A nice bit of racy acidity, and a characteristic minerality. 8.5% alcohol. $6/glass, $18/bottle.

The best wine-food pairing of the evening was the lamb lollipops grilled with a touch of balsamic & olive oil marinade, served with a cilantro pesto dip. Fantastic with the Cristom 07 “Mt Jefferson” Cuvee Pinot Noir Willamette Valley (Oregon). This Pinot Noir is Burgundian in style, light ruby in color, with blackberry on the front of the palate, overtures of tobacco and cinnamon on the nose. 13.5% alcohol. $14.50/glass, $40/bottle.

With the lamb, also try a taste of the Vino Noceto 06 Sangiovese Shenandoah Valley, California. A classic Italian wine, flavors of cotton candy, and fantastically food compatible. 14 % alcohol. $8.50/glass, $23/bottle.

And then try one of my personal favorites, Orin Swift’s 07 “THE PRISONER”, a Napa red blend that is really wonderful. It was just delightful with a cheese plate and warm olives at the end of the meal. The Prisoner is high in alcohol so beware! Go slow, enjoy the food with this one. 15.2% alcohol. $13/glass, $36/bottle.

And then, finally finish the evening off with a Smith Woodhouse 10 yr Tawny Port, Douro, Portugal. It is a good as any 20-year port I’ve tasted. $5.50 for 2 oz, $44 the bottle.

TRIO Wine Bar and Bistro, 10292 Old Donner Pass Road, Truckee. Open daily 4-midnight. 530 582 2323.
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 August 2009.

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