Tasty wines at Concours

“Pinotage is a flagship South African grape, created from a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. … Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never forget it.”


The boating season at Lake Tahoe may be almost finished, but the wine drinking season is not. That is clear from a visit to the Wine Village at the Concours d’ Elegance, the annual Wooden Boat Show held earlier this month.

Right away, I was accosted by a Hungry Blonde. This Viognier from Davis Estates in Napa Valley has an alluring slogan (“for those who thirst for life and live it to the fullest”) and a taste to match. It is a crisp, classic Viognier. 14.2 percent alcohol. $30 by the bottle. Among its vineyards, Davis Estates has 155 acres in Calistoga, home to Windmill Valley Vineyards. Also being poured at the event were Windmill’s 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. Visit davisestates.com.

A nice, bright Riesling, the Anew 2012 Columbia Valley Riesling opens with aromas of fruit, white flowers, spice and citrus. Flavors are of fresh peach, citrus and a hint of spice, and a bit of fizz that’s refreshing. I can foresee enjoyment for anyone who pours this aromatic and balanced wine on a sunny day on the deck of a smooth-sailing boat on Lake Tahoe. 11.5 percent alcohol. Only $12 for the bottle. Stock up. Visit anewwine.com.

It’s always delightful to see South African wines at any tasting, the Barista 2010 Pinotage from the Paarl winegrowing region not far from Stellenbosch featured a burst of intense rich coffee and chocolate aroma with ripe taste of mulberry, plum and Maraschino cherries. Pinotage is a flagship South African grape, created from a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsaut. It is always deep red, a bit smoky and earthy, sometimes with tropical notes. Once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never forget it. 13.5 percent alcohol. On the Internet, it sells for between $12 and $15 a bottle.

A pleasant surprise was a ready-to-drink Sangria. Although it seems a bit spend-thrifty to pay wine prices for something that is mostly fruit juice, it certainly is tasty and provides all the convenience you’d want for a summer boating party. This Eppa SupraFruta Sangria is a red wine blended with pomegranate, blood orange and acai juices with some natural citrus essences. Serve over ice and add fruit slices for visual effect. Only 8.5 percent alcohol (remember, it is mostly fruit juice). Visit eppasangria.com. The site winechateau.com has it on sale for $14.50 a bottle and you get almost one-third discount in case quantity. Go for it.

Last, but not least, a visit to Chile via Santa Rita 2011 Carmenere 120. This is the signature grape of Chile, and this 100 percent Carmenere is a mouthful of spice and red fruit, nicely balanced, medium-bodied and with soft tannins. 14.2 percent alcohol. Average bottle price on the Internet is $8.

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.