Wine Time: Atlantis Casino hosts incredible winemaker dinners

“Atlantis Casino offers winemaker dinners every month at either Bistro Napa or the Steakhouse. One word: Go.”

By Barbara Keck

The Spirited Dining series offered by the Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno is without question one of the best winemaker events anywhere. Recently, Silver Oak Cellars wines were paired with Bistro Napa’s extraordinary cuisine. Sommelier Christian O’Kuinghttons presides over the impeccable service. Atlantis Casino offers winemaker dinners every month at either Bistro Napa or the Steakhouse. One word: Go.

We began with the Twomey Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, paired with a smoked and seared day boat scallop. This 2001 Sauvignon Blanc carries the Napa designation as fruit is 65 percent Napa and 35 percent Sonoma. The Napa fruit gives a great balance of citrus and mineral elements, and Sonoma fruit contributes guava and tropical notes. Pineapple, a creaminess and a freshness characterize this wine on the palate. 13.9 percent alcohol. This vintage is sold out. There may be some left to taste at Bistro Napa.

The Twomey Russian River/Alexander Valley 2010 Pinot Noir was paired with a house made charcuterie plate. Twomey’s tasting notes match with my experience: “Dark ruby-red hue and a nose of blueberries, blackberries, red currants, fresh rose petal, violets and a hint of spearmint. On the palate, it has a refined attack with a beautiful balance of fruit and floral influences, a silky mid-palate and a fruit-sweet finish that lingers for minutes.” 13.6 percent alcohol. $50 at the winery. Visit

The 2006 Twomey Napa Valley Merlot was delicious with a lobster-chicken roulade. One of California’s few single-vineyard Merlot wines, it’s vinified with a Bordeaux technique that results in soft tannins, a crystal-clear clarity and heightened aromas of black cherry and dark chocolate. Taste is spicy and full-bodied with the berry fruit showing through. 14 percent alcohol. 2006 vintage is sold out, but the 2008 vintage is available.

The New York Strip steak was paired with two wonderful Silver Oak red wines: The 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2008 Alexander Valley is a rich full-bodied wine with great tannins and a lovely mouth-feel. Garnet colored, with an aroma of ripe boysenberries and dark chocolate. $70 for the bottle. The 2007 Napa Valley has aroma of sandalwood and cedar, with additional sensation of black cherry, dark chocolate and roasted coffee. Nicely concentrated fruit and spice with a slight tannin structure. $115 for the bottle Both are 13.9 percent alcohol.

The Spirited Dining events at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa are an excellent way to taste fine wines and great cuisine in an atmosphere of exceptional service. For more information, call (775) 824-4111 or

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Barbara Keck

Barbara started writing for newspapers when she was 14 and continues to write, most recently the “Wineries of the Sierra Foothills” book published by Range of Light Media, parent company of The Tahoe Weekly. Barbara wrote the wine column for the Weekly for many years, and contributes occasional tidbits on tourism and entertainment topics. A long marketing consulting career that included extensive international travel led her to conclude that Lake Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Almost 20 years of enjoying the seasons on the West Shore of Lake Tahoe has confirmed her belief.