The Cliff Room at Martis Camp


Dessert by the fire with Tokaji and 20-year-old Tawny Porto.  ·

I rarely start off a wine review with “those lucky people at …,”but the spectacular wines and service-to-match at The Cliff Room at Martis Camp merit that statement. Joshua Plack is the talented Wine Director who constantly revamps the wine list at this private, residential club to match the fresh and inventive creations of Executive Chef Shaun King. This truly is wining and dining at its best at Lake Tahoe, but in case Martis Camp is not on your agenda, don’t worry. I found all of the wines reviewed below on the Internet.

The 2012 Rose, Commanderie de la Bergemone, Provence, France, is a pale salmon-pink sparkler with flavor of melon and pineapple, and a floral and strawberry aroma. It is rich and fresh, and was a wonderful pairing with the Japanese Hamachi Sashimi. Bargemone is among the foremost estates of the Coteaux d’Aix, a small fine wine district inside the larger Appellation of Provence. Provence is famous for dry rose. 12.3 percent alcohol. Internet pricing was around $15 the bottle.

2011 Chenin Blanc, Domaine Huet, Le Haut Lieu Sec. Vouvray, France, is a crisp and clean wine with a nice acidity that paired well with the Pan Roasted Diver Scallop. Aroma of citrus and exotic fruit, with a touch of grapefruit to add to the favor of nectarine and peach makes this a lively dry wine. 13.5 percent alcohol. Internet pricing was around $25 the bottle.

The 2011 La Follette Pinot Noir, North Coast, California, was a taste treat of red fruit, chocolate and black cherries in the glass, with an earthiness that helps you remember why coastal Pinot Noir is so good. The acid and tannins are well balanced, and there are notes of rosemary, sage and rose petal to add to the complexity of this wine. 13.7 percent alcohol. Internet pricing around $25 the bottle. The Cliff Room pairing was a grilled Matsutake Soup.

The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Louis Martini, Napa, was a great pairing with braised short ribs. The dark berry and ripe cherry flavors in this smooth and drinkable wine led one wine critic to term it “an inexpensive beauty.” I liked its medium body, soft tannins, and cherry and blackberry aroma, too. 14.5 percent alcohol. Internet price around $12 the bottle.

Finally, a wonderful dessert wine, the 2008 Royal Tokaji Red Label Aszú 5 Puttonyos from Hungary. I loved this Tokaji, a honeyed and fruity treat with fruit flavors of citrus, apricot and pineapple. A nice minerality leads to a long finish. 11.5 percent alcohol. Internet price around $35 for 500 ml bottle.

The Cliff Room in the Lodge at Martis Camp is a key feature of this elegant, private, residential community located in Truckee.

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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.