New World and Old World: Expect it all at Corkscrews in Tahoe City

Bright and shiny, modern and edgey, enticing and welcoming … this describes the ambiance at Tahoe City’s new wine bar, Corkscrews. Located in the Cobblestone Center, this well-stocked wine shop and tasting bar is just what’s been needed in Tahoe City. Owner Elgin Marsted and her husband Brooks Marsted escaped from the stress of the Denver financial world to pursue their dream of promoting exceptional wines from small boutique wineries. Tahoe City was the location that resonated with them both!

“ We want our customers to feel like they are part of the secret of these winemakers and their art,” said Elgin. They’ve initiated a series called “Wind Down Wednesdays”: beginning at 5 p.m. , every wine-by-the-glass selection is half off. The offerings change weekly. It’s a great opportunity to sample several boutique wines before you decide what bottle must go home with you. And you might want to pair that with cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, also on offer at Corkscrews.

Every Saturday from 4 to 7, different winemakers are featured. The tasting we went to featured wines from Redemption Wines, Venge Vineyard, and Macauley Winery.

Chris Cutler, proprietor of Redemption Wines is an old friend of the Marsted’s. Chris has been involved in wines since his years at Stanford’s MBA program, where he started Canvas Wines, a wine company that showcased the work of artists on custom labels; the company was self-funded with student loans. Chris grew up in an artistic family and art, as well as wine, is integral to his vision. He went on to found Redemption Wines, determined to focus on the finest quality wines and promotion of up-and-coming artists via the labels.

“I work with my heroes in winemaking – Emmanuel Kemiji, Byron Kosuge and Pat Knittel – to bottle balanced, age-worthy Pinot Noir. And I work with some of the best new artists in the world, like Gary Taxali and Thomas Campbell,” Chris said. “Together, we are bottling Redemption, which will always be as profound on the inside as it is on the surface.”

The Redemption 2007 Monterey County Pinot Noir is a Burgundian style pinot, characterized by acidity, age-ability, food-friendliness and finesse. In the glass, a delightful deep ruby color. Aroma of cherry and cocoa-powder. Flavors of strawberry and redolent black cherry, a toasty vanilla spice from barreling in 15% new oak, soft tannins, and not too much pepper; really yummy! Grapes are sourced from the Mission Ranch Vineyard of Arroyo Seco, a site which borders the Santa Lucia Highlands and shares its terroir and climate of hot days and cool foggy nights. Pair with lamb shanks, barbeque ribs, pastas with red sauce, or favorite pizza. 14.5% alcohol, 392 cases produced. $38/bottle.

Venge Champs de Fleur White Meritage, from Venge Vineyards is a delight to the nose. Many Venge wines are often available only on allocation. Fresh lemon grass scents of Sauvignon Blanc, with passion fruit, lemon drop and hints of white peach aromas from the Chardonnay and Viognier components. 60% Sauvignon Blanc; 30% Chardonnay, and 10% Viognier. Kirk Venge, winemaker. 14.5% alcohol, only 489 cases produced. $26/bottle.

Macauley Napa Valley Zinfandel is crafted by Kirk Venge, winemaker. It’s a beautiful deep purple in the glass. Aroma of raspberry, cherry vanilla and clove, followed by blackberry, spice and pepper. On the palate, a full tannin and a fine acidity results in a nicely structured wine. The Zin is blended with 16.6% Petite Sirah. Enjoy for 5 to 7 years! 14.8% alcohol. $35/bottle.

Visit Corkscrews at 475 North Lake Boulevard (Cobblestone Center), Tahoe City. They are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m or later, every day. Be sure to order a cheese plate with your wines-by-the-glass, too! 530 581 1106.

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© 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 August 2009.


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