PlumpJack features adventurous collection

By Lou Phillips · 


Boasting world-class mountain views and an elegant dining atmosphere, PlumpJack Café and Bar in Olympic Valley offers a unique wine and dine experience. Holding a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence, it is a true wine destination.

The 2013 CADE Sauvignon Blanc ($12 for the glass) is a fuller-bodied version of SB that offers great aromatics and flavors of citrus, melon and white flowers. It works nicely with the diver scallop BLT with pancetta and heirloom tomatoes.

The 2011 Pierre Sparr Pinot Blanc ($9 by the glass) from Alsace, France, shows how rich and, yet bright, Pinot Blanc can be. This has a winter-spice and peach fruit that complement and balance the seafood sashimi scones with ponzu, pineapple, Macadamia nuts and wasabi.

The 2011 Lange Pinot Noir ($13 by the glass) from Willamette Valley, Ore., has earth and black pepper notes to go along with dry strawberry fruit and a little tang on the palate. It allows Chef Wyatt Dufresne to show off his ready-for-Iron Chef America molecular gastronomy chops with the free range chicken breast with charred and creamed corn, compressed watermelon and feta popcorn.

The 2012 Skinner Grenache ($12 by the glass) from right over the mountain in El Dorado highlights this up and coming artisan producer’s focus on French Rhone varietals. Structured, full bodied and alive with berry and white pepper, this wine wants a complex partner and finds one in the 16-hour porchetta, which is plated with black eyed peas, baby kale and a spicy apricot chutney. The wine and food seem to create a dance with each taking turns leading.

After dinner, treat yourself to something from the extensive dessert wine list. Try the Cossart-Gordon 15-year-old Bual ($11 for a 2-oz. pour). This is a medium-sweet version of Madeira dessert wine. It is chocked full of flavors featuring roasted nuts, orange peel, black tea and sweet and sour lemon candy. A lovely match for PlumpJack’s chai crème brûlée with blueberry compote and shortbread cookies.

This 27-page world wine tour is easy to follow with sections like Classics of the Old Country, or Unique and Noteworthy Reds to guide you. Rich with verticals (12 vintages of Peter Michael Les Pavots alone), iconic producers (in Chardonnay, you will find multiple offerings of Domaine Laflaive from Burgundy and Kistler from California, and Pinot lovers will revel in Comte George Vogue Burgundy and Calera from California), and real depth of older vintages. It’s worth taking an advance look on the Web site. Without a doubt, this is the region’s most extensive and adventurous restaurant collection.

PlumpJack serves dinner from Thursday to Sunday starting at 6 p.m. and reservations are highly recommended for dinner. For more information or to make a reservation, call (530) 583-1578 or visit


Lou Phillips is a Level 3 Sommelier specializing in guiding private collectors and businesses. He may be reached at (775) 544-3435 or [email protected]