The Pour House wine shop and winebar in Truckee is that they help customers figure out what wine really suits his or her individual palate. No more wandering around, deciding what to buy on the basis of label design or promotional pricing – Dean Schaecher and Christa Finn, proprietors, will assure you walk out with a bottle of wine that you’ll really love.
I know this sounds like a tall order, but the standard procedure at The Pour House is to introduce a new customer to this education via a “bullseye tasting.” Four wines are poured, and by tasting those four, you’ll hone in on what you really like in terms of fruit, tannin, balance and weight. “We talk to customers while they are going through this process, and this helps remove the pretention of labels. Then, combined with price, and what you want to do with the wine (sit on deck, roast a chicken), the perfect bottle emerges,” says Dean.
The day I stopped by The Pour House, four interesting wines were on the tasting program. All are available to taste, as well as by the glass and for purchase by the bottle.
The 2009 Cotes du Rhone from Alain Jaume is a French Haut de Brun. This garnet-red wine is a blend of Grenache noir (60%), Syrah (30%) and Cinsault (10%). The aroma brings to mind such fresh berries as wild raspberry, blackcurrant and blackberry, and there is a spiciness too. On the palate, the wine is big and full of flavor, and the tannins are silky and smooth. There’s a bit of licorice and pepper at the end. Ideal with poultry and other white meats including pork, and mild cheeses. 13.5% alcohol. $15 the bottle.
Next in the tasting was the 2009 Dexter Lake, a California red wine that’s a blend of Mendocino and Sonoma fruit. The varietals used in the blend are 40% Petite Sirah, 40% Petit Verdot and 20% Tempranillo. This wine is huge on the nose, and to me, the taste brought cotton candy to mind. This may be just how I was experiencing fruity spicy wine that particular day. But this is a nice wine with both red and black fruit flavors, and it has a lovely ripeness. Not too tannic, with good acidity. 14.5% alcohol. $15 the bottle.
Miro Cellars’ 2008 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek, Sonoma County is spicy and peppery and quite characteristic of this variety. The fruit for this wine is from the northwestern corner of Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, which is an area known as Rockpile since the 1850s. The winemaker notes “The allure of this appellation is virgin soils, relatively dry soil condition and plenty of sunny, fog-free days and nights. The soils are typical for the region: red, mixed with decomposed granite and other rocks, relatively of poor nutritional values, therefore producing low yields of highly concentrated fruit.” It’s an inky dark wine, with flavours of blackgerry, blueberry and perhaps some caramel on the palate. I liked it long finish, which had a hint of chocolate. 14.5% alcohol. $22.95 the bottle. For more information on petite syrah/sirah, check out the website www.psiloveyou.org.
The 2009 Aquinas Pinot Noir from Napa is a richly textured wine, with smoky cherry flavors. The winemaker describes the wine as unfolding “with the scent of rose petals, plums, maraschino cherries and warm cinnamon rolls. The palate bares flavors of raspberries, cardamom, cloves, orange peel, and huckleberries with a subtle finish of cedar and cassis.” 13.8% alcohol, $17 the bottle.
Located at 10075 Jibboom Street in Truckee, The Pour House is open Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday noon-5 p.m.. www.thepourhousetruckee.com, (530) 550-9664
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
© 2011 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 "Wine Adventures" in June 2011.
Book in Process: "Mountain High Wine: The Sierra and Its Foothills".