Explore small-production artisan wines

Enjoying the Art, Wine & Music Festival | Lou Phillips

On an amazing July afternoon, after a hike up Shirley Canyon where I had experienced the energy and power of rushing waterfalls born from massive snowmelt and the pristine mountain air, I headed to the Village at Squaw Valley to enjoy the Art and Wine Festival.

While sampling the wonderful wines and lingering at the displays of stimulating art works, I felt elevated. Adding to this were the always-dramatic mountain views and the sounds offered by the featured musicians — music ranging from bluesy folk-rock to Flamenco.

Lumen Wines delivered the honey, melon and orange notes this grape can bring with a refreshing streak that California versions usually lack.

I again realized how gifted those who live and visit here are and how much, at its essence, wine is about sensory stimulation. We smell, taste, feel and many times share our thoughts and feelings about our vino and how elevated that experience can be when matched with other sensory delights. As with most wine-walk events in our neighborhood, we are fortunate to be presented small-production artisan wines, as opposed to the high-volume usual suspects one sees at the grocery store.

And now on to the wines — highlights included two excellent offerings from Napa’s Green & Red Vineyard. We don’t usually think of Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel from this appellation but this winery’s unique green and red soils — hence the name — and cooler location high above the valley floor in Chiles Canyon make for lithe, aromatic and spicy wines from those grapes. The Sauvignon Blanc is a real lip smacker, just right for summer.

The Experience Pinot Noir | Lou Phillips

Another standout was the Experience Pinot Noir. Experience sources fruit from various locations and the grapes for this wine come from the Pinot hot bed of the Sonoma Coast. It walks the fine line between power and finesse and pulls it off beautifully.

Moniz Family Wines’ Albariño was bright and full of white flower and tangy tangerine notes and another great choice for summer sipping.

Santa Barbara’s Lumen Wines is a winery better known for its stellar Pinot Noir, but was also pouring its Grenache blanc. This wine delivered the honey, melon and orange notes this grape can bring with a refreshing streak that California versions usually lack.

As stated earlier, the wines featured here are small production and you may not find them at grocery stores. But the good news is that they are available at local Uncorked locations in Squaw Valley, Truckee and Tahoe City and at Petra at Northstar.

More good news is that the summer tasting season is in full swing with multiple events at Squaw Valley, Northstar, Truckee, Tahoe City and South Lake Tahoe. Find details in each edition of The Tahoe Weekly or at TheTahoeWeekly.com under Events on the Out & About tab.

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Lou Phillips
Lou is a Level 3 Sommelier based on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, who loves traveling the wine world doing research for his writing. He also consults for collectors and businesses buying and selling fine wine and creating special events.