Tahoe's Best Wine Auction: Plumpjack sponsors Biking for a Better World

Plumpjack’s at Squaw was the magnanimous host for the September Wine Auction charitable event, Biking for a Better World. Some great wines were quaffed, discussed and bought. You won’t want to miss this event next year, as it presents an opportunity to acquire wonderful and rare wines for your cellar and your table.

Kali Kopley of Uncorked Wine Shops and Dawn Bertsch (pictured, right, with Biking for a Better World organizer), a sommelier and wine rep, garnered a group of wonderful wines for auction.

A quick run-down:
Auctioned off at 6 times the opening bid was a Dr. Loosen Riesling vertical, 2 bottles each of the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Erdener Treppchen Auslese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. These German wines start off with spicy musky aromas, and flavors of pear, melon, pineapple and red berries please the palate. These plump wines are crystalline and pure, with long fruit-driven finishes. Drink the 2006 now, Dawn Bertsch advises, and cellar the 2004 and 2005 for 5 years.

Winemaker Phil Coturri donated 3 bottles each of his 2006 Zinfandel and 2007 Syrah, Sonoma. The Zinfandel is well balanced and tasty, with red fruit, bramble and good minerality. The Syrah has an aroma of bacon and dark fruits, with “everything a Syrah should display – dark fruit, gaminess, pepper, spice and a touch of iron,” noted the winemaker as he presented the wines.

Tony Truchard of Truchard Family Vineyards & Winery, also present at the auction, donated 6 bottles of his Cabernet Sauvignon, in a vertical array. Although Carneros is not known for its Cabernet Sauvignon, the Truchard wines are terrific big wines with wonderful color and structure. Touches of Cabernet Franc are blended in for added softeness and complexity.

Skinner Vineyards grows fruit in El Dorado near Placerville and also in Fair Play. I’ve personally visited with the winemaker Chris Pittenger in the past, and when the new winery and tasting room opens in Fair Play next year, you absolutely must visit. Chris is a talented winemaker, and these are among the best of Foothill wines. Several wonderful bottles donated to the auction included Skinner White Rhone Blend “Seven Generations” 2008 El Dorado. This is a blend of Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier, with tropical aromas of pineapple and papaya, hints of flowers, hazelnuts, banana bread and nice minerality.

The Skinner winery is known for its Syrah, and two of them were auctioned. The 2007 El Dorado Syrah is redolent of ripe blackberry, boysenberry and blueberry, with spiciness and a lengthy finish. The Syrah “Stoney Creek Vineyard” 2007 El Dorado is sourced from mountain fruit grown at 2700 feet, and it’s magnificent! Aroma of blackberry, cherry pie and tastes of cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, flower, pepper. The addition of 3% Viognier gives it a medium body and a long velvety finish.

Plumpjack Winery produces super premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Napa Valley grapes, and also some amounts of Merlot, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. On auction was the 2007 Plumpjack Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2007 Merlot, and the 2008 Chardonnay. CADE winery, also owned by Plumpjack, is located in Howell Mountain. The Cade Napa Sauvignon Blanc 2009, cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Napa, and 2006 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon were also included in the auction items donated by Plumpjack.

Of course the Plumpjack Executive Chef Ben “Wyatt” Dufresne and the entire kitchen team produced a wonderful menu that paired well with 4 great wines: Mason Cellars Pomelo Sauvignon Blanc 2009 California, Miner Family Chardonnay 2008 Napa, Siduri Pinot Noir 2008 Sonoma Coast, and Dogwood Cellars Zinfandel 2006 Mendocino.

Biking for a Better World (bikingforabetterworld.org) is headquartered in Olympic Valley and this group raises money for schools and bicycles for students in remote villages in Nicaragua.

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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 September 2010.

Watch for my forthcoming book: " Wineries of the Sierra and Its Foothills". Publication date early Summer 2011, The Wine Appreciation Guild Publishing Division
>>Send an email to Barbara (at) winebizpr.com if you want to be put on the notification list when it is published...

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