Excellent wine-food pairings in Tahoe City at Dockside 700

I think that Dockside 700 is going to be my new favorite place in Tahoe City for a convivial glass of wine. I really liked the vibe there at their elegant and friendly bar, and the adjoining restaurant features pleasant music, not too loud. Top the experience off with a very good wine-by-the-glass list with reasonable prices and a balance of familiar and more adventurous wines, and they have simply got it all. If that weren’t enough (but it is), the heated-in-winter and screened-in-summer enclosed porch has a wonderful lake view. Suggestion: take your wine out there!

Owners Marsha Wagner and David Richardson have been in the business of preparing delicious food since 2005, starting with Ice Box Kitchen, a take-and-bake “sous vide” concept with freshly-prepared entrees offered in a deli case a few steps from the wine bar. “We think that wine is a complement to food,” says Marsha “We deliberately decided to build a wine list that is unique in the area and features very food-friendly wines.” Almost all Dockside 700 wines by the glass range from $5 to $7 per glass, and can be bought by the bottle too. There are wonderful pairing s with the happy hour appetizer menu. Happy hour begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m., seven days a week.

Our tour of the Dockside 700 wine menu started with their top sellers: Cuvaison Chardonnay, Sobon Zinfandel, and Justin Cabernet.

The 2009 Cuvaison Chardonnay uses grapes sourced from Carneros. It is a bright yet light golden-colored wine, with an aroma of honeysuckle and notes of white peach and pear blossom. On the palate you’ll taste apricot and peach, with a hint of nutmeg and a nice toasty oak. Cuvaison is a favorite of Marsha’s, in part because of their commitment to sustainability and their use of solar power. 14.2 percent alcohol.

The 2010 Sobon Zinfandel is a personal favorite of mine too, since you all know by know that I think the wines from Sierra Foothill wineries are among the best that California has to offer. This Old Vine Zinfandel blended from several of  Sobon's estate vineyards in Amador county is a fragrant, rich, full bodied zin with very forward, fruit driven flavors. It is 97 percent Zin and 3 percent Petite Syrah, with final alcohol percent of 14.9. Just released in October 2011, it is meant for every day consumption but the winemaker notes that it will improve in the bottle for the next five years. Yummy with Dockside 700’s artichoke dip appetizer!

I was lured by the meatball sub on housebaked bread and the suggested pairing with the Justin 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles. Somewhat of an entry-level Cabernet, the aroma is fruity, and the taste of ripe red and black fruit with a touch of spice makes it easy to drink. Nicely textured tannins provide that underpinning for pairing with burgers, stews, meatballs. 14.5 percent alcohol.

Sold by the bottle only, the Phelps Fog Dog 2008 Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast is medium-bodied with a fresh crisp initial taste and a spiciness and balance thereafter. The first sip, which is fresh, lean and crisp, follows through with a spicy mid-palate and finishes with firm, balanced and pleasant acidity. 13.5 percent alcohol.

The sister wine to this is 2009 Phelps Fog Dog Pinot Noir. Ask if they have any left! The winemaker notes that it is “loaded with vibrant red fruit, tangerine peel… simply bursting with red raspberry, plump red cherry and rhubarb.” 13.5 percent alcohol.

Dockside 700 is located at 700 North Lake Blvd, Tahoe City. Tel 530-581 0303. Menus (but not wine list) are at www.dockside700.com.

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