Toast and Taste of Summer: Atlantis Casino (Reno) Hosts Charity Event with Fine Wines

There are more than 7600 bonded wineries in the USA, and more than 3300 in California alone. So it is no surprise that I run into many wines from wineries that are new to me. I have to give credit to the organizers of the recent Toast and Taste of Summer event held at the Atlantis Casino Report Spa in Reno for finding 58 very compelling wineries to include in this interesting tasting event.

The function was a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and featured gourmet food pairings from 17 restaurants including Lake Tahoe’s Sunnyside Resort, Wild River Grille, and Wolfdale’s, and also the new Campo soon to open in downtown Reno under the guidance of Mark Estee, executive chef at Moody’s in Truckee.

Among the wines I tasted was the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon from Mi SueƱo Winery, Napa, CA. “The 2007 vintage for Napa Valley Cabernet can be summed up in one word, "STRUCTURE". When compared to 2006, slightly cooler temperatues not only produced noticeably smaller berries but also allowed for extended hangtime and enhanced flavor development. For fans of Big, Muscalur, Age-worthy, Powerful Cabernets, this is the vintage for you,” explained Tom Bracamontes, Director of Sales and Marketing as he proudly poured this great wine. Aroma of dark fruit, licorice, fig, and espresso greet you as you taste this full bodied and concentrated wine. Flavors of black fruit, chocolate, vanilla spice and oak work together with great acidity and a nice tannin structure. Only 850 cases produced . 14.5% alcohol. $65/bottle.

Mt. Vernon Vineyard, Auburn (Placer County, Sierra Foothills), presented its Cuvee Blanc, a 50/50 blend of Viognier and Roussane. This wine, just released, was cold fermented with its own indigenous wild yeast for 32 days. This is a field blend created by winemaker Ryan Taylor. Aroma of honeysuckle, a crispness and a creamy finish characterized this wine. Only 240 cases made. 13.9% alcohol, $25/bottle.

Frogs Tooth Vineyards, Murphys (Calaveras County, Sierra Foothills), poured their flagship wine, the 2009 Pinot Grigio. It’s a perfect summer wine: it is delicate and fragrant, a bit floral, a flavor of lemon, and is a nice rich, round full-bodied white wine. 14.5% alcohol. $16/bottle.

The 2009 Wirsching Silvaner Dry was offered for tasting by Rudi Wiest Selections, a leading importer of fine German wines into the US market. The limestone in the soil of this vineyard shows through with a light citrusy flavor and a bit of frizzante too. Perfect with raw fish such as sushi, and other fish dishes. 12.5% alcohol, $12/bottle.

The 2009 Chardonnay from Michael Sullberg Wines, Healdsburg CA (Sonoma County), is a Barrel Select blend of grapes from several micro climates, 95% of which grapes were sourced from the Monetery Peninsula’s Central Coast AVA, mostly from the San Bernarby Vineyard. It is crisp and tropical in taste, with aroma of apple and pear, and a buttery finish on the palate. 13% alcohol, $10/bottle.

Paso Robles winery Kukkula’s Vaalea white Rhone blend is a crisp wine that shows a nice orchard fruitiness and juicy acidity all the way through. It is 50/50 Viognier and Rousanne, with aroma of peach, melon and pear and a gentle spicy finish. 14.2% alcohol, $20/bottle.

The Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is located at 3800 S. Virginia St. Reno, NV 89502. It features the Atlantis Steakhouse, an upscale dining restaurant with a wonderful wine list. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 5PM to 10PM. Reservations call 775.824.4430

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International is dedicated to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications. For more information, go to

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© 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 July 2011.

Book in Process: "Mountain High Wine: The Sierra and Its Foothills".

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