Food, wine pairings on the mountain


What a glorious place to learn about good wine. The middle of the mountain at Homewood is the location of the new dinner series – Farm to Peak.

The early July event featured wines selected by Jeni Brill, Food and Beverage Manager for West Shore Café. She did a fine job, selecting the varietals that would pair with the dishes prepared by guest Chef Breana Greene, and then selecting the wineries. This is an intelligent way to prepare for a wine-dine experience, and all of the wines were perfect pairings that did not overwhelm the foods.

The next event is Aug. 31, and no doubt there will be more in 2014. You are in for a great treat if you go.

Murrieta’s Well 2012 The Whip was a great pairing for the charcuterie platter. Located in Livermore Valley, Murrieta’s Well vineyards were originally planted in 1883 with vineyard cuttings from two famous French wineries – Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Margaux. The Whip is a great white blend that uses many aromatic and flavorful varieties: Chardonnay predominates, followed by Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and then Orange Muscat, Viognier, Pinot Blanc, Semillon and Muscat Canelli. It’s a full-bodied wine with aroma and flavor of white peach, vanilla, butterscotch and orange blossom. 13 percent alcohol. Visit

Paul Dolan’s 2011 Chardonnay is a classic Mendocino County Chardonnay, perfect with the beet salad. Like all Paul Dolan wines, it is certified organic. It’s an elegant wine that’s a blend of Mendocino grapes from the cool-sites of the northern benchlands and lush warmer-site fruit from Hopland. The brightness of the fruit shows through, and the flavors are of ripe pear, crisp apple and winter citrus fruit, with a creamy vanilla spice that adds to the smooth mouthfeel. 13.5 percent alcohol. Visit

Joseph Phelps 2011 Pinot Noir from Freestone Vineyards, Sonoma, was delicious with the duck confit. This was my personal favorite pairing of the event. Wonderful aroma of cherry, currant and sweet spices with a rich and full mouth feel of flavors of concentrated raspberry, cherry, allspice and vanilla. Freestone Vineyards also produce grapes with a characteristic tangerine peel flavor, and it’s here in this wine. A great Pinot Noir at a reasonable alcohol level: 13.5 percent. Bravo. Visit

A perfect end to the meal, a Moscato. The Batasiolo 2010 Moscato d’Asti is produced on the Beni di Boscareto estate in the village of Serralunga d’Alba, at the western limit of the Asti region . This delicious straw-yellow-golden wine has a sweetly soft flavor that lingers, and enhanced the rosemary panna cotta dessert. 5.5 percent alcohol. Visit

For more information on the Farm to Peak series, call (530) 525-5200. Space is limited.

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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.