Stella at Cedar House Sport Hotel features Good Food Wines

A touch of Europe in Truckee – that’s what Stella restaurant at The Cedar House Sport Hotel on Brockway Road brings to mind. What it brings to the palate in terms of good wines that pair well with food is exceptional.

Owners Patty and Jeff Baird have meticulously crafted a modern and architecturally interesting restaurant using recycled woods and “green” building concepts. The result is a spectacular wining and dining venue that both pleases and rests the eye and lets you concentrate on the wines and food.

To start, sommelier Roger Slabin presented a 2009 Crios De Susana Balbo Torrontes from Argentina. I found the citrusy-flowery aroma compelling, and was delighted with the wine on the palate: a similarity to Sauvignon Blanc but with more delicate fruit flavor and floral tones. This wine is critically acclaimed by The Wine Advocate: ”The 2009 Torrontes remains one of Argentina’s benchmarks for this variety. Sourced from 31-year-old vines in Cafayate (where the finest Torrontes grows), it displays a fragrant bouquet of spring flowers, honey, and tropical aromas. Medium-bodied and dry on the palate, it has ample fruit backed by vibrant acidity leading to a lengthy finish. Drink it over the next 2 years. " 11.5% alcohol. $28/bottle. Chef Jacob Burton presented a tomato bisque soup with fresh mozzarella crostini with this wine. Excellent choice!

The 2009 Husch Chenin Blanc, Mendocino, has an aroma of white lily, with a minerality in the front. It’s an off-dry wine with a balanced combination of bright fruit and zesty acidity, and a full luscious mouth-feel. 13.8% alcohol. $25/bottle. The pairing was headcheese on homemade bread. Very European, quite delicious!

Moving to the red wines, the 2006 Truckee River Pinot Noir, with fruit sourced from Garys’ Vineyard in Santa Lucia Highlands, is one of our favorite locally vinified wines. It’s a a very delicate Pinot with the complexity, depth, and soft tannins typical of the Pisoni clone for which Garys’ is known. 13.8% alcohol, $50/bottle. This was paired with rabbit and dumplings serve with wilted spinach and stuff loin. Incredible.

By the way, at Truckee River Winery, this Pinot is $45/bottle; at Stella Cedar House, only $50. It is commendable that the restaurant keeps its markups low so that diners can enjoy wines with their meals! “That’s intentional,” says Patty.

The 2007 Hatcher Zinfandel, Sierra Foothills, is sourced from fruit from three vineyards: one in Amador County and two vineyards in Calaveras County, where Hatcher is located. The winemaker says of this wine: “In addition to floral notes, this wine starts with caramel, chocolate raspberry, and cola in the nose. Tart raspberries, American wood tannins, smoke and tobacco leaf start the mouthfeel. In the mid palate wheat, cornhusk, cut hay lead into a dry finish that is tart. This tells me the wine has an opportunity to last a long time.” This Zin was paired with their unbelievably-good chicken and waffles dish. 15.0 % alcohol, $29/bottle

For pairing with any of the fabulous desserts, the Pacific Rim Vin De Glaciere, a reisling from Washington State’s Selenium Vineyard, Columbia Valley, was fantastic. This is for wine-lovers with a sweet tooth, made by the famed winemaker Randall Graham. Apricot, pear, orange blossom – candied delights in a wine! 10.5% alcohol. $7/glass

Stella Restaurant at Cedar House Sport Hotel is located at 10918 Brockway Road, Truckee. Reservations recommended as the restaurant is often busy with big parties. 530-582-5655. Click HERE to go to their website, and then click on “dining” to learn more. And consider their culinary bootcamp, where you get to build and bake your own cuisine under the guidance of master chef Jacob Burton.
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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 November 2010.

Book in Process: " Mountain Wineries of the Sierra and Its Foothills".

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