The selection of wines is fantastic, but what I like most about L’uva Bella Wine Gallery are their educational events. Who better to educate than a former teacher? Debby Bullentini, the proprietor and hostess extraordinaire, was a 5th grade teacher for more than a decade. Since she and her husband established L’uva Bella four years ago, it’s has been chosen the “Best Wine Shop in Reno” by the US Commerce Association for 2009 and 2010.
“We try to stay fresh all the time,” says Debby. “We carry more than 700 labels in our 3000 square feet, and these wines are from all over the globe.” Debby also has a keen eye for value wines; the shop’s front table is filled with great wines that are $15 or less per bottle.
The wonderful tasting bar in the middle of the shop allows customers to experience a variety of wines by the glass. The back of the shop has an appealing grotto that is used for private parties and their wine seminars.
A little palate cleansing between tastings? Ask for the Wine Gallery’s cheese board and salumi board. Yummy!
The next taste, a San Telmo Malbec 2009, Esencia, from Mendoza Argentina is a medium bodied and nicely balanced Malbec. Cherry on the nose, and a lingering finish mid-palate. 13.5% alcohol. A real bargain at $4/glass.
The Valle Reale Vigne Nuove Trebbiano D’Aburzzo Vendemmia 2006 is a nice introduction to Italian white wine. Peach and apricot, nutty, and smooth. 13% alcohol. $4/glass.
There was a lot to look at and learn about in this great shop, so I finished my tasting with a Dobra Zemlja 2007 Amador Syrah, Plymouth, CA is a peppery syrah, unfiltered and unfined. Dobra Zemlja means "Good Earth" in Croatian. This small production winery, founded in 1995 and situated in Amador County's historic Shenandoah Valley, produces classic mountain wines with good body, intensity and color. 16.6% alcohol. $10/glass. See http://www.dobraz.com/ for more information on visiting this winery, it’s not that far away!
Upcoming Events at L’Uva Bella:
Each Thursday at 6 p.m., a wine tasting with winemakers or wine sales experts. Coming up:
May 6 - Frank Family Wine Tasting
May 8 - Wines of France Tasting
May 13 - Me Sueno Wine Tasting
May 27 - Luna Vineyards Tasting.
© 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 April 2010.
Watch for my forthcoming book: "Wineries of the Sierra and Its Foothills."
Publication date early Summer 2011, Wine Enthusiast Guild Publishing.