Wine flights great choice at Spindleshanks


Spindleshanks American Bistro and Wine Bar boasts one of the most extensive and fun wine lists in the Lake Tahoe area. No matter how many times you go to enjoy their wine and food, you’ll never exhaust your sense of great pairings and wonderful wines from around the world.

Its rustic building, which still evokes the feel of a traditional mountain lodge despite many different uses over the years, dates back to the days when Lake Tahoe mainly was accessible by steamship and train. It was initially built in 1927 as the Sandy Beach Resort. Spindleshanks’ wine list is contemporary and extensive, and updated for adventurous and traditional wine consumers. All wines are served in Riedel crystal glasses, which enhances their aroma and flavor.

Proprietor Steve Marks offers a series of wine flights that are both well priced and palate-expanding. I decided on Flight No. 2, which cost $11, and then added some tastes from other parts of the great wine list.

Flight No. 2 included 3 whites: a Silvaner, Pinot Gris and Gewurstraminer.

The 2011 Juliusspital Silvaner is a dry German wine with a clean taste, minerally finish, and yet creamy mouthfeel. It has aroma and taste of pear and mandarin oranges with a bit of spice. Steve told a bit of its history as a Hospice Wine: Juliusspital dates back to the 16th century, when the Catholic bishop of Würzburg set up a hospital to look after the sick and endowed it with property and also a vineyard. The profit from the winery is used to support the hospital even today. 13 percent alcohol.

The 2011 Cooper Mountain Pinot Gris from Oregon’s Willamette Valley was a minerally Pinot Gris with taste of peaches, pear, apricot and a mouth-filling flavor and a finishing ping. Absolutely delicious. It was stainless steel fermented, and rich and balanced. 2011 has been noted as one of the finest vintages the Willamette Valley has seen. 13 percent alcohol.

The 2009 Nevada City Gewurztraminer, with fruit from Sonoma County, is perfumy, flowery and spicy on the nose, nicely balanced and with a crisp acidity. It has a hint of sweetness that makes it good as an aperitif, as well as food pairing. 14.1 percent alcohol.

Other lovely wines tasted were the 2011 Bodegas Borsao Monte Oton Garnacha from Campo de Borja, Spain; a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo from Cantina Zaccagnini, Italy; and a non-vintage Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava from Spain. The wine list is so extensive, and good

Spindleshanks Bar is located at 6873 North Lake Blvd. in Tahoe Vista. Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling (530) 546- 2191. For more information, visit

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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.