Tahoe Mishpocha Tasting: Teachin’ and Beachin’

later afternoon on the lake

late afternoon on the lake

Tahoe is to Alpine lakes like Barolo is to great red wines. Peerless. The whole damn fam assembled on the beach for 9 days. Nearly all the Young ‘Uns too; studying analogies for LSATs, living with parents hoping for a job in San Francisco, working their way through JUCOs on their way to a UC, finishing high school, and on and on and on. Good opportunity to pull corks.

The adults who spawned the big vacation brought enough wines to last a week of evening dinners. The overarching goal was to nurture the Young ‘Uns, ensuring they learn what we like to drink. So once they have jobs and money they may humor the oldsters in our golden years. The Young ‘Uns have a wealth of strengths which they apply energetically to wine tasting. Maya has a nose that picks up the scent and registers a quick on-the-button impression. Hannah has a more assured palate. Kyre is new to wine. He politely finished every pour that came his way. Promising. KT and especially X bring the complete package. They have the best data banks. We are hopeful for the future.

Here are some of the top bottles tasted which inevitably led to star gazing and stogies on the beach.

2011 Malibu Sanity Chardonnay $32: Charles Schetter’s newest release is a dandy. His wine making skill gets stronger SanityChard2011WEBwith each vintage. The Young ‘Uns take? “Sweet… no… fruity. Nice! I like the acid. This is from … Malibu?” Schetter is waiting a bit longer before releasing his wines. This wine has a fresh flavor with zesty acid and pear-citric flavors. Very nice. 14.2%

Charles Schetter is endlessly inspired to do what is right. He is leading the effort to create a Malibu AVA for all wineries in the region that will cover Agoura and the Coastline, “correcting” the present situation in which only two vineyards have an AVA.

corino06WEB2006 Corino Barolo $28: Entry level Nebbiolo with good age from Marc de Grazia. Young ‘Uns – excepting X – are put off by the rough unfamiliar flavors. X comes back with burnt bacon. tBoW suggests bourbon. This wine is close it peak. Picked up by Larj’nez at Hi-Time. 14.5%

gobelsburg12WEB2012 Schloss Gobelsburg Cistercien Rosé Niederösterreich $15: Light salmon color like the flesh of the native Golden trout PeeWee pulled from the Truckee. A knockout Austrian pink wine made from Zweigelt and St. Laurent varietals. Tons of acid balancing the fruit like Sannnie on her tippy toes at the Vienna Opera Haus. Big winnah wit da Mamas. Served on the beach in the afternoon a it should be on the lake. U20 deal. 12%

Tahoe without the Larj’nez is like Paella without saffron. Perhaps we exaggerate but there is a kernel of troof in every overstated statement. Both are essential spices that elevate the experience. Larj’nez is an inventor of the absurd. Upon execution his genius becomes evident. This year he introduced his idea for a port tasting. He loves bagging and tagging and can get extravagant. This time he limited the “trophies” to three. We went along. He provided essential info bits: “2 are Portuguese. Tasters must guess the origin of the 3rd. Price points are $10, $11-$15, and >$20. Tasters must match.” We tasted.

penfolds-clubWEBNV Penfolds Club Port $14: Aussie sticky with obviously non-Port character. Deep and dark. Narrow palate. Plum flavors. Widely available.

martinez-2003WEB2003 Late Bottled Martinez Port $10: Lesser known Port producer from an awkward vintage “laye bottled” in 2005. Classic Port character. Quite young at 10 years. Deep red black color. Thick. Tasting like a young port that has passed the undrinkable stage. He grabbed it at Hi-Time in Costa Mesa on a one-day blowout sales. niepoort_tawny10WEBThis was a steal. We corked it and waited a few days to taste again. Coulda-shoulda bought half a case! A perfect long term buy for a Young ‘Un. But they have no money! But they will.

Nieeport 10 Year Old Tawny $20. Light red brick color. Classic Oporto nose. Delicate and delicious. Hi-Time buy discounted. Ended up taking it to the beach for post-midnight star gazing. Perfect complement.

This is the first of at least two installments on the tBoW summer wine trail. Of course we tasted more wines in Tahoe. Vacation waylayed blogging last week. Amends are coming. Next week we cover our return to the Santa Lucia Highlands with new wineries “discovered” while staring agog at the Pinnacles National Monument.

"You lissen here."

“You lissen here.”

Tahoe. World class Alpine lake. Jewel of the Sierra. As Granpappy Amos used to say… NO BRAG. JUST FACT.


  1. Wavatar
    LeLarge says:

    Dear VM… (and I don’t mean virtual machine…) The Niepoort was actually $29 — I’ll buy half a case if it’s $20… VineMaster… And who’s Kyre? Did you see Cargasacchi’s comment on my FB post re: the 04? The Corino was definitely better than I expected, and better than some same vintage more pricy Big B’s I’ve tasted… time to go back to Hi-Times… but we need to polish off some of that charred ’08 Pinot I lugged back from the Anderson Valley… Tales of meand baby brother Phil filching ‘fips’ at Phillip’s Hill to come soon…


    • Wavatar
      Bacchus says:

      Larj’nez – I had to pull my post on the 08 Pinots of Anderson Valley because I also mentioned skunk weed which for google is a no-no. The Nieeport price was located online!

Got something to add?