Many Good Wines at Grand Tasting during Annual Lake TAhoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival

One of the wonderful things about the Grand Tasting at Northstar, part of the annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival, is its timing.  This is the festival for serious foodies and wine-drinkers, held outside the rush of summer activities. 

At this Grand Tasting, too, you find wines that will definitely be available for enjoyment for the coming months.  Twenty-two wineries were paired with purveyors of good food from the region, including restaurants, caterers, and resorts .

Ox from Sunnyside Resort
(in hat) pours ZD wines
for Scott Billeci
 ZD Winery poured its 2012 Chardonnay, California.  The winemaker at ZD has developed a signature style of rich yet balanced fruit-driven Chardonnays.  The aroma reaches out from the glass and is redolent of bright tropical fruit, and you may also note some vanilla and orange blossom too.  You’ll taste a full-bodied chardonnay with primarily pineapple and mandarin notes with a bit of lemon.  This wine has great natural acidity and yes, it is oakey, but the oak is subtle.  13.5 per cent alcohol.  $37/bottle at 

Monica Lara of
The Chocolate Bar poured
 for Davis Bynum wines
Davis Bynum 2011 Pinot Noir, Jane’s Vineyard,  Russian River Valley, Sonoma County.  According to the winemaker, Jane’s Vineyard is in the golden triangle of the “Santa Rosa plain” region of the valley, an area that has iconic local climate for grape growing.  The result is a wine that is food friendly, a little lighter than many Pinot Noirs, fruit-driven and crisp with a round soft mouthfeel, from aging in French Oak barrels.  14.5 percent alcohol.  $35/bottle at . 


Joshua Plack of Martis Camp
pours Long Meadow Ranch wines
for Pamela Schmidt
Long Meadow Ranch poured its 2012 Sauvignon Blanc, featuring fruit from their Rutherford Estate.   This estate is regarded by many as one of the finest sites for white wine in all of Napa.   The aroma and taste feature layers of stone fruit, pineapple and melon.  There are also floral notes of jasmine, guava and citrus. It is a dry wine with a mouthwatering finish.  12.9 percent alcohol.  $20/bottle at   


Lou Phillips, wine educator
and Director-School of Wine,
pours CrossBarn/Paul Hobbs
for Denis Dakoulis
The 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, CrossBarn, is a project of the well-known Paul Hobbs.  An aroma of wild berries and rose petals leads to layers of taste of blackberries and perhaps cola, with spice of vanilla and anise.  Fine tannins and balanced acidity lead to a lovely long finish.  14.5 percent alcohol.  $31.99/bottle at some internet sites.  Sold out at the winery.


Erin Crain of Blends/Renwood
pours for Adam Cishop
of 941 Eatery & Bar (Incline Village)

The Renwood 2011 Zinfandel, Fiddletown, is a complex zin with flavors of dark chocolate, fruit, and toffee intermingling.   There’s a nice tannic structure to this wine that gives it great body. It is made from high elevation Sierra Foothills grapes, and has a long finish and a hint of sweetness.  14.8 percent alcohol.  $24.99 at
This column appeared in The Tahoe Weekly on September 25, 2013

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