One of the best ways to experience a variety of Sierra Foothill wines is to attend an event which features them. The recent Passport to Dining, which benefits the North Tahoe Business Association and the Community House, focused on wines from nearby Placer County wineries.
|Jeff Evans and Mike Waljer|
of Bear River Winery
The newest winery, Bear River Winery, is located in Meadow Vista, CA. I went straight for the 2010 Barbera, which uses grapes sourced from Viani Vineyards in the Pilot Hill area of Placer County. Jeff Evans, Proprietor, notes that this Barbera has rich fruit-forward flavors of red cherry and raspberry. The aroma is fruity, and matches taste. It has a nicely balanced acidity. The winemakers suggest pairing it with pasta, pizza or anything Italian. 14.6 percent alcohol. $24/bottle. The winery also sources grapes from the Clavey Vineyards near Chicago Park, for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Syrah. www.BearRiverWinery.com.
|Raquel Mostajo of Dono dal Cielo|
Dono dal Cielo Vineyard, Newcastle, CA, presented its 2009 Daven Port 6100. This port-like wine is a late harvest Zinfandel, and has a ruby-jewel appearance and strong ripe black-cherry aroma. It is a nicely soft wine, with a hint of warmed currant, and is rich on the palate. I think a port should be in everyone’s wine rack, and this is a good one at a reasonable price! 16.5 percent alcohol. $25 for the 375 ml bottle. www.donodalcielo.com
|Denise Bellacera, wine educator|
of Wise Villa Winery
I’ve tasted wines before from Wise Villa Winery, located in Lincoln, CA. Dr. Grover Lee, winemaker, has a philosophy that I appreciate: “We believe that great wines come from ultra-premium grapes, hand picked and crafted one barrel at a time. Our premium wines are aged in French oak barrels and enriched by the mineral, loam, soil of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Foothills in Lincoln, California.”At the benefit, they poured a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I liked the 2011 Wisdom of Wise best of all. This wine is a blend of Merlot (54 percent), Cabernet Sauvignon (26 percent), and Cabernet Franc (18 percent). It’s made in the Bordeaux style (think claret, etc). Taste is of bright fruit, a fair amount of spiciness, and it has a lovely medium body. 13.5 percent alcohol. $30/bottle. www.wisevillawinery.com
|Lori and Mark Bonitata|
of Bonitata Boutique Wines
Bonitata Boutique Wines is located in Auburn in the original Bernhard Winery founded in 1874. This is part of the Bernhard Museum on Folsom Road in Auburn. Bonitata poured its 2009 Barbera, made from fruit sourced from the Boa Vista vineyards in El Dorado County. This Barbera is a classic one, made from those great El Dorado grapes. Rich, fruit, medium body. 14.5 percent alcohol, $24/bottle. www.bonitataboutiquewine.com
The North Tahoe Business Association was founded in 1979 and is a non-profit organization that strives to improve and enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the communities of North lake Tahoe. www.NorthTahoeBusiness.org