Lakey Lazy Days, Vinos and UFOs: Tahoe 2010 Report

If you ever need to just recharge the old D cells you ought to consider Lake Tahoe. A world class alpine lake right here in California – or at least half of it is in California. The attractions include unmovable mountains with snatches of snow, boats bobbing in the lake, and long slow days doing whatever seems most unimportant. Wine also helps. In the afternoon and the evening. Coffee in the AM. Wine reviews follow in a minute.

Fishing at 7:00 on the Truckee River is followed by an Old Post Office breakfast [ed. holy trout nibbles! the NY Times reviewed and loved it] then a nap. Hit the beach at noon, a few rounds of boggle, a brisk dip to restart the brain engine and more boggle. BBQ or some such array of food accompanied by worthy wines then back to the beach for star gazing in the Milky Way fishbowl.

Staring up at midnight this year was greatly enhanced by tBoW team member The Large, a trader in astronomical and UFO dialogue and originator of the term U20. Nothing enhances a late night under the annual Perseid meteor shower like Larger than Life stories about the origins of Area 51, the abduction of Betty and Barney Hilll in 1961, the Zeta Reticuli constellation, Philip Corso the eyewitness to the aftermath of the granddaddy of them all…Roswell [ed. read the actual newspaper articles from 1947]. A few meteors streaking across the horizon every 2 minutes works like a Sister Michaelina’s knuckle rap to stand attention. The best one ended in a green flash and left a vapor trail across half the horizon. ‘F’I’m lyin’ I’m cryin’.

the 2010 Tahoe wine program…

Many Ros√©s were tasted, most notably a Giscours from Bordeaux’s Margaux region that was deep pink, fresh and tasty. A Sonoma Ros√© of Mourvedre from Bedrock Wine Co. purchased at El Vino stood out for its New World weight and stiff upper lip flavors. Finally, a Provencal pinky blend showed everyone how the Old World winemakers balance finesse, delicacy and raciness in a light and refreshing style.

The Pinot File – two taste offs with one pitting Dewey Kelly against himself. Instead of a battle royal we were treated to a love fest; we loved both bottles.

2007 Dewey Kelly Pinot Noir $20: The only place one finds Burgundy style in the New World is the Willamette Valley in Oregon. And probably the best spot in the valley is Ribbon Ridge. This is nuanced wine with a light color and equally light eight. With just enough muscle to win the Brokeback Mountain seal of approval. Rugged but not afraid to love you or be loved. Perfectly low 13%.

2008 Ribbon Ridge Vineyards Pinot Noir $26: Dewey Kelly also makes wines for the RRV label. Same grapes, same vineyards, slightly different treatment. Many qualities are shared such as the pretty nuanced fruit with a bit more of everything from fruit flavors to just a bit of gaminess. The RRV is a cork puller and the DK is a screw top. Lovely. 13%

The second Pinot Faceoff had a bit more drama, examining two different winemakers working with grapes from the highly reputed Cargasacchi Vineyard in Santa Rita Hills.

2006 Drew “Cargasacchi-Jalama” Pot Belly Block Santa Barbara Pinot Noir $34: Molly and Jason Drew moved out of SRH in 2005. They set up shop in the Anderson Valley where the best Pinot Noir in the state is made. We will not go as far to say the best Pinot Noir is also grown there as we think great PN could be made once again in SRH if the winemakers are successful in getting the alcohol levels under control. Jason Drew always had a lighter touch and it shows here. The wine is still young and takes time to open. It is intense, salty and tight. It opens in 30 minutes to show rich SRH premium fruit strong on the cherry notes. Alcohol is 13.7% which is the right target. Nice job Jason Drew.

2003 Babcock Cargasacchi Pinot Noir $??: A tBoW legend [ed. also here]. Recently had this in mag and it was special. This bottle is also showing very well right away. Made by √ºber-winemakers of the Kenneth-Crawford team. This was their last effort under Babcock where they worked while waiting for Wendy G to get the K-C enterprise ready to launch. Lucky for Brian Babcock as this is a very special wine. They really show the potential in Peter C’s vineyard. This wine has finally settled down. Has light acid and pure SRH sweet cherry fruit. These guys are good.

One final attraction presents a small obstacle to relaxing by the lake…call it Meshpucha madness. Fortunately, it’s not our Meshpucha . A good cool breeze usually blows it all away.


  1. Wavatar
    Sketman says:

    I am certain that if those plentiful bedouins blocking our view of the pier were sipping wine on the sand, it cost too much and lacked a proper nose. Nough said.

    • Wavatar
      mouse says:

      Does the nose refer to the constant noise of cars circling the lake?
      Are the meshpucha the bedouins?
      Try Vermont if you’re in the area. Doesn’t have the high culture of slot machines, but very good artisinal cheese makers.

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