Taste of Gold


Tina and Charlie Bruess pourer Crystal Basin Cellars’ Petite Sirah  ·

One of my favorite Tahoe-area summer wine events is the Taste of Gold, which benefits the Lake Tahoe Community College Foundation. Why the name? Well, it’s all about wines from El Dorado. The term El Dorado, meaning the golden one, was coined by Spanish explorers in the mid 1500s as they sought a city of gold believed to lie in the heart of the Amazon jungle. To find your gold in terms of good wine from the Sierra Foothills, simply attend the event, held each year on campus. Top wineries from El Dorado County offer many wines to taste.

Boeger Winery, Placerville, 2012 Pinot Gris. It has aromas of honey, peach and green apple. On the palate, I like the hint of spice and the fact that it is light and delicate makes it a great summer wine. Grapes are sourced from Boeger’s own Pinot Grande vineyard. $15 the bottle. 13.5 percent alcohol. Visit boegerwinery.com.

Crystal Basin Cellars, Camino, 2010 Petite Sirah. A warm, black cherry aroma leads to two distinct layers of flavor featuring, on the one hand, blueberries and on the other, soft tannins. $27 the bottle. 15.8 percent alcohol. Visit crystalbasin.com.

Holly’s Hill Vineyards, Placerville, 2007 Patriarche. This is a delicious blend of Rhone wines: 63 percent Mourvedre, 19 percent Syrah, 13 percent Grenache Noir and 5 percent Counoise. Aroma and taste of strawberries, dark berries and plum with complex spices. This wine has a nice earthiness, good acidity and smooth tannins. I love this blend. $30 the bottle. 14.4 percent alcohol. Visit hollyshill.com.

Perry Creek Winery, Fair Play, 2011 Zinman Rose. Aroma of strawberry and hints of flowers, and a taste that come in layers of all the fruits of summer. This is a light, dry and delightful Rose that is easy to drink. $12 the bottle. 14.2 percent alcohol. Visit perrycreek.com.

Colibri Ridge Winery, Fair Play, 2007 Barbera Fair Play. Wow, a whopper of a wine at 16.1 percent alcohol, but tannin-lovers will find this delicious with berry aroma that leads to a mouthful of lush tasting blackberry, cherry, raspberry and blueberries. $21.50 the bottle. Visit colibriridge.com.

Nello Olivo Winery, Placerville, 2009 Merlot. Try this wine if you’ve become jaded about Merlot. It’s quite a bold Merlot, made in the Bordeaux style. $39.50 the bottle. 13.7 percent alcohol. Visit nelloolive.com.

Other El Dorado wineries pouring were Lava Cap and Madrona, both located near Placerville. If you missed this event, I suggest a visit to the tasting rooms of these wineries. There are dozens of great wineries you can visit with a day trip from Lake Tahoe. Check the El Dorado Wine Association map at eldoradowines.org.

Search past columns at winebiznews.blogspot.com, or contact Barbara at [email protected] 

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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.