Great Wines for Boating or Anytime

The boating season at Lake Tahoe may be almost finished, but the wine drinking season is not.  That is clear from a visit to the Wine Village at the Concours d’ Elegance, the  annual Wooden Boat Show held in August 2013.

Hungry Blonde and
Windmill Valley wines
 Right away I was accosted by a “Hungry Blonde”.  This Viognier from Davis Estates in Napa Valley has an alluring slogan (“for those who thirst for life and live it to the fullest”) and a taste to match.  It is a crisp classic Viognier.  14.2 percent alcohol.  $30/bottle.  Among its vineyards, Davis Estates has 155 acres in Calistoga,  home to Windmill Valley Vineyards.  Also being poured at the event were Windmill’s 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon.

It’s always delightful to see South African wines at any tasting, the Barista 2010 Pinotage from the Paarl winegrowing region not far from Stellenbosch featured a burst of intense rich coffee and chocolate aroma with ripe taste of mulberry, plum and Maraschino cherries.   Pinotage is a flagship South African grape, created from a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut.  It is always deep red, a bit smoky and earthy, sometimes with tropical notes.  Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never forget it.  13.5 per cent alcohol.  On the internet, it sells for between $12 to $15 a bottle.

A nice bright Riesling, the Anew 2012 Columbia Valley Riesling opens with aromas of fruit, white flowers, spice and citrus. Flavors are of fresh peach, citrus and a hint of spice, and a bit of fizz that’s refreshing. I can foresee enjoyment for anyone who pours this aromatic and balanced wine on a sunny day on the deck of a smooth-sailing boat on Lake Tahoe. 11.5 percent alcohol. Only $12 the bottle. Stock up!

A pleasant surprise was a ready-to-drink Sangria.  Although it seems a bit spend-thrifty to pay wine prices for something that is mostly fruit juice, it certainly is tasty and provides all the convenience you’d want for a summer boating party drink.  This Eppa SupraFuta Sangria is a red wine blended with pomegranate, blood orange and acai juices with some natural citrus essences. Serve over ice and add fruit slices for visual effect.  Only 8.5 percent alcohol   (remember, it is mostly fruit juice). has it on sale for $14.50 a bottle and you get almost one-third discount in case quantity.  Go for it.

 Last but not least, a visit to Chile via Santa Rita 2011 Carmenere “120”.  This is the signature grape of Chile, and this 100% Carmenere is a mouthful of spice and red fruit, nicely balanced, medium-bodied and with soft tannins.  14.2 per cent alcohol.  Average bottle price on the internet is $8. 

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 Time"  in August 2013.


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