Tasting Opolo by Lake Tahoe's Shores (What could be better?)

One of the most talented sommeliers at Lake Tahoe is Kristi Snyder, who buys wine and makes diners feel very welcome at the fantastic lakeside Lone Eagle Grill at Hyatt Regency Incline. She's the kind of wine professional who you just want to visit time and again. No wonder this is the highest ranking Hyatt in the world in terms of bottle sales of wine!

Kristi pulls everyone together in a spirit of education, fun and food. Today's treat (November 10, 2009) was happening onto a tasting of Opolo wines, and 7 bottles of wonder from this Paso Robles vineyard and winery were open and being gently paired with the Grill's great cuisine.

"We've become known as a Zinfandel house," said Cary Thrasher, Sales Manager of Opolo Vineyards. He was pouring their 2007 Mountain Zinfandel. No sense in mincing words, this is a fantastic wine, a great value at $28 per bottle, and there's a good chance you will find it on the Hyatt Incline's wine list soon. The Opolo website description says it all: "Always an Opolo favorite, we are particularly proud of this wine. Possibly the best vintage yet, the '07 Mountain Zinfandel is loaded with gobs of boysenberry, wild cherry and blackberry. Rustic anise and ripe velvety tannins on the finish are the perfect ending to this fantastic wine."

Regardless of the Zin-house reputation, Nevada sales rep Gabri Fogliani of Encore Beverages encouraged me to try the Opolo 2006 Viognier. It is absolutely wonderful. Grapes come from 300 acres that Opolo has in Paso Robles. It's big-bodied, tones of apricot and melon and a bit of spice, and it has a great long and rich finish. 14.9% alcohol, $22.00 a bottle.

Frankly, the Viognier is one of the best wines I've tasted since I started writing the weekly wine column for The Tahoe Weekly newspaper in April 2009. That says a lot -- it's been almost 1000 wines.

Might be the perfect wine for your Thanksgiving feast!

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