Wild Goose - Wonderful Wine, Spectacular Food

For a truly special evening with truly wonderful wine choices, run, don’t walk to the Wild Goose in Tahoe Vista! For many years a private dining amenity for owners of property in the Tahoe Mountain Club enclaves, it’s now open to the public. What an incredible treat!

Of course you’ll be awed the minute you walk in, as the restaurant design by a famous San Francisco architect is fashioned after the lake cruisers of the 1920’s with the elements of light, water and wood all focusing your attention toward Lake Tahoe. The view from the bar as well as the indoor dining space is exquisite. If you are fortunate enough to make a reservation far enough in advance to be seated outside, prepare for the feeling of Heaven touching the lake and the delight of wines that tease and please the palate, accompanied by the best food I have had in a long, long time.

Pat Hedderman is the wine expert, recently recruited away from some high-toned Tahoe venues by Brad Kohler, General Manager. Both are experienced professionals, and it shows in everything that is presented to you. Hedderman is a confident wine buyer, and he says that development of the Wild Goose wine list was both reasoned and spontaneous. “I tasted it, I liked it, I thought it had a spot on the list, and I bought it,” he said. He is also dedicated to affordability in his wine selections.

We started with some great selections from the wines-by-the-glass list, and Chef de Cuisine Jason DeGuilio matched items from the menu with those wines.

To begin, a lovely Rose from Lucia Vineyards. “Lucy”, a 2009 product of pinot noir grapes grown in Gary’s Vineyard by the famous viticulturist Gary Pisoni, is a perfect smooth summer wine. The very pretty color reminiscent of a near-ripe strawberry may have inspired its pairing with the strawberry summer salad. 14.1% alcohol, $9 the glass.

What a nice surprise to find a Portuguese Vinho Verde in my glass next. This Famega 2008 is an aromatic white wine, with crisp apple flavors, and slightly frizzantei (sparkling). Perfectly paired with the pistachio-tempura softshell crab on a timbale of avocado in a cucumber soup. This everyday table wine from Portugal is very drinkable, with only 9.5% alcohol. $18 the bottle.

An Adelsheim Pinot Noir 2008 from the Willamette Valley was great with a pan-seared halibut crusted in shitake mushrooms. This wine earned 90 points from the Wine Spectator, who termed it “Smooth and velvety, light on its feet, glowing with red cherry and raspberry flavors, with a hint of mint in the background. Lingers easily on the refreshing finish.” That about wraps it up. 13.3% alcohol. $35 for the half bottle.

My absolute most surprising wine-food pairing was the Shabu-shabu of thin slices of striploin of beef, presented with a lobster-infused butter to be cooked for “only 7 seconds” at the table, according to Brad Kohler. Then a touch of Fleur de Sal, and pop it in your mouth with a 2008 ZD Chardonnay. Chardonnay with beef? This is spectacular, trust me. We all know and love ZD Chardonnary, and at 13.5% alcohol and $14 the glass, you must try this combination, it is surf-‘n-turf in a pot! Fantastic.

I hate to sound so enthusiastic, but then there was the Perrin 2007 Cotes-du-Rhone that appeared with the best lamb chop I’ve been served anywhere at Lake Tahoe. This wine is 50% syrah, 50% Grenache, with a peppery first taste that moderated as it opened up. 13% alcohol, $9 the glass.

I could wax eloquent about the desserts, but you’d hate me. So suffice it to say that the Chateau Rieussec 2001 Sauterne was as heavenly as the rest of the wines. I agree with another taster who experienced quince, exotic fruits, mango, pinepple, honey and hints of citrus in this Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Blend. $14 the glass. Go to the Wine Doctor’s blog to learn more about this famous estate and its wines: http://www.thewinedoctor.com/bordeaux/rieussec.shtml.

And to end this incredible wine and food pairing experience a Quinta do Tedo 1995 Vintage Porto. From grapes grown on South side of the Douro, this was Tedo’s first port vintage. $7 the glass.

Wild Goose is located at 7320 North Lake Blvd, Tahoe Vista. Reservations strongly encouraged. 530-546-3640

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© 2010 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 2010.

Watch for my forthcoming book: "Wineries of the Sierra and Its Foothills". Publication date early Summer 2011, Wine Appreciation Guild Publishing.

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