Wine Programs Ahoy at Tahoe Yacht Club!

It’s such a welcoming place, filled with Tahoe nautical memorabilia, photos of beautiful boats, sailors, and so very conducive to enjoying a nice glass of wine. This is the Tahoe Yacht Club located in Tahoe City, and Commodore Andy Wagner encourages prospective members to tour and, by the way, he’d love to talk about wine. Andy is the mover behind the Club’s wonderful series of wine tastings and programs.

A recent event featured Rod Santos, owner of Wine Thieves, two retail stores in the East Bay. Their motto is “we find wine steals so you don’t have to”. Rod’s presentation, “A Coup for Consumers: Higher-end Wines at Bargain Prices,” verified that wine lovers can find good wines without breaking the budget.

It’s both good news and bad news that Wine Thieves has an extensive list of great finds. Good news for wine drinkers, and bad news for winemakers who ended up not being able to move recent vintages due to the recession.

Notes on The Wine Institute of California website outlined the situation: “During the recessionary 2009 economy, California vintners shipped 467.7 million gallons of California wine to the U.S. wine market, up a modest 0.2% compared to the 2008. The estimated retail value of these sales was $17.9 billion, down 3% from 2008 as consumers traded down to lower-priced wines. Wineries that were reliant on restaurant sales found that on-premise sales were off 6-9% as consumers dined more at home and business travel was curbed. Some wineries diverted inventory to off-premise retail accounts and many placed new emphasis on direct-to-consumer sales…”

Summary: there’s been a lot of pain in the winery, but a lot of pleasure in wine lovers’ wallets.

Tahoe Yacht Club members and guests tasted interesting examples of Wine Thieves finds.

The 2009 Robert Hall “Rose de Robles” is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre (Paso Robles). Perhaps you think of Rose as a blush wine that can be almost sticky-sweet; this rose, far from that, is dry, juicy and sophisticated. Aromas of fresh raspberries, hint of tangerine. 13% alcohol. $8 per bottle, list $14.

2009 Pinot Gris “Acrobat” from one of Oregon’s largest wineries, King Estate, is dry with nice citrus and apple tones. “Crisp entry with nice balance between acidity and residual sugar, round and full mid-palate, clean refreshing finish,” noted the winemaker. 12.5% alcohol $11 per bottle.

The Montepulciano “San Lorenzo”, 2003 from Umani Ronchi (Rosso Conero DOC, Italy) is a single vineyard, full bodied red wine made from 100% Montepulciano grapes grown in Mount Conero overlooking the Adriatic Sea, and aged 14 months in oak to provide a distinctive, subtle aroma and flavor. Finely structured, it pairs with roasts, game, aged cheese. At $10 the bottle, stock up, because it will age well in your cellar. Originally sold at $18 the bottle. 13.5% alcohol.

A great everyday wine is the 2007 “Rock Star” California red from Rock Wall winery. There’s a fascinating story behind this winery, which was started in 2008 by a daughter of the well-known Rosenblum wine family, and is housed in an old airplane hanger in Alameda, CA. This red blend is 45% Napa Syrah, 34% Tempranillo, 21% Cinsault. Aged in oak, flavors of dark berry fruit, violets and anise, with a hint of peppery spice, and 14.5% alcohol. $10 at, $14 list.

The 2002 Melanson Cabernet Sauvignon “Matthew’s Block”, is from an 8 acre parcel on Pritchard Hill, Napa Valley. Only 73 cases were produced, and Wine Thieves has most of what’s left at $20 the bottle (originally $55 … pre-recession…). Harvested in 2002, aged in French Oak, and bottled in 2005, a classic California cab, nicely tannic. 14.2% alcohol.

Interested in a tour or membership in the Tahoe Yacht Club? Contact general manager Marianna Dye at (530) 581-4700 or stop by at 700 North Lake Blvd. 2nd Floor in Tahoe City.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
© 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.

No comments:

Post a Comment