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Beach wine pairings

Beach Wine Pairings

Ah, the allure of Sun and Sand. A beach towel, some sunscreen, a big floppy hat, a slightly trashy novel and you are ready to park the car and get a whole lot of ‘nuthing done.

Sounds like a perfect time for wine! Duh! When ISN’T a perfect time for wine? Here are some warm weather wine tips for your cool day on the strand.

Your choices of beach wines depend on your goals for the day. Tip #1? Keep the sand OUT of your (plastic) glass.

Because the focus is enjoying a day outside in the sun, you can expect this guide to be heavy on white wines and roses, but there are some sleeper reds. Trust me on this.

Here are some suggested pairings with common beach activities – but remember – the most important part about pairing wines is to not worry about it too much and enjoy the wine you like!

Get Some Sun – If your plan is to be stationary and be your own solar panel for an afternoon, Sauvignon Blanc is for you. Crisp and refreshing, it will keep your mouth watering for the next sip. PS – plan to walk home.

Gab With Your Krew – Nothing says “dish on our acquaintances” like Rose. If you are a good mood and the conversation is light – a bit sweet will do. For sharper-tongued discussions, pitch the sweet stuff and get some tart Frenchy Rose. Enjoy the wine cold and the gossip hot!

Hit on Potential Romantic Interests –   Everyone on the beach has their eye on everyone else. Go up and offer a nice (plastic) glass of chilled Chardonnay to the hottest option on the beach as an icebreaker!

Build a Sandcastle – This will be fun but you will get sand all over you. Like – everywhere. Rinse yourself off and admire your architectural efforts by toasting with an expensive bottle of Champagne. After all, it IS your castle. We suggest Pommery Louise if price is no object.

Run – You can do this, but you will spill your wine. After your run, you will want something crisp and refreshing like a bubbly Prosecco or a Cava. Gotta hydrate after all.

Swim – Unless you have really cool technology, wait until you get out of the water. Then reward yourself with a chilled Grenache from the Sierra Foothills. This lighter-bodied wine will both relax and hydrate you after your workout.

Watch the Sunset – This is when you pull out the big guns. A gorgeous comfortable sunset watched with a special friend begs for a supple Merlot. Pull the cork when the sun touches the horizon and you’ll finish the bottle as twilight fades.

Whether it’s Cabo, Tahoe or Rio, here’s to your Fun in the Sun this summer!

Rodeo wine pairings

Reno Rodeo Wine Pairings

While most folks might hoist a tasty cold beer during the Reno Rodeo, I’m going to suggest that there are some great wine pairings with the unique and amazing events that make up American Rodeo. From my first rodeos in diverse places such as Jackson Hole, WY and Ripon, CA, I’ve been impressed by the competitive aspect of rodeo that combines man, animal and chance like no other activity.

That being said: Here are Mike’s Pairings for the Events and the Wines to Pick!

Bronc Busting – Zinfandel is the wine of the west, having been brought to California during the Gold Rush. The fruit burst of a great foothill Zinfandel is like the bucking bronco of the wine world. Have a T-Bone steak ready!

Steer Wrestling – This is a sport of the hands-on folks out there. We suggest that you enjoy your Steer Wrestling with a nice aged Cabernet Sauvignon while your bruises are healing.

Barrel Racing – This high-energy event is the essence of Chardonnay. The grace, power and connectedness of the barrel racing team of woman and horse speak to the devotion of the fruit, depth and nuances of well-made Chardonnay.

Bull Riding – The wine equivalent is Petite Sirah!   Unabashedly shameless because of the tannins and fruit battling in the glass, it’s an equivalent of the getting bounced off a 1000 lb animal. The biggest glass and event during Rodeo in June!

Team Roping – When you have a team at work, you can get more done in a more elegant manner! That’s why red blends are becoming the favorite wines at many venues. We like Renegade Red, our iconic red blend for most any Western cuisine.

Mutton Busting – While not for the under-21 set, Bubbly wines go very well with the short burst of grit, activity and excitement that is Mutton Busting. Grab on tight and toss some guava juice in the Bubbly to make a memorable mimosa. 

Bareback Riding – Just gonna leave this one alone. Enjoy! But pick your own wine…



The Perfect Weekend in El Dorado County – With Wine Pairings!

When the walls close in our your cubicle and your productivity plummets because you REALLY need to get away for a weekend, ponder on this list of amazing and fun things to do over a weekend in Western El Dorado County. We’re adding wine pairings for an added dimension to all full visualization of the experience. It’s a virtual vacation! Ready? Here goes!

Day 1

Get Amped! Grab some zingy espresso at Totem Coffee in the Courtyard of Placerville’s Cary House Hotel. Pairs best with the mocha and coffee elements of Merlot.

Go Subterranean! Tour the Gold Bug Mine in Placerville for an authentic picture of what it took to literally beat and blast nuggets and flakes of gold out of the ground. Pairs best with an earthy Malbec.

Eat With Your Eyes! Visit the Placerville Farmers’ Market for a sensual riot of fresh farm-grown veggies and other locally crafted items Saturdays 8 to Noon. An excellent pairing with a bright Sangiovese.

Taste the Juice! Savor a wide range of award-winning wines and take the barrel room tour at Crystal Basin Cellars in Camino. The perfect pairing for this stop is their smooth Gold Medal winning Zinfandel that is grown across the street from the winery.

Take a Hike! At Sly Park Lake, it’s a mostly flat 1 mile hike from Hazel Creek Meadow to the beautiful Park Creek Falls. The suggested pairing for this gorgeous natural setting is a Grenache bursting with strawberry fruit.

Time to Boogie! Grab those dancing shoes and get ready to shake your tailfeathers in Coloma. You can party hop between great music options at Marco’s Café and the Coloma Club. Pairs best with a Big Bold Cabernet Sauvignon.

Hit the Pillow! You might want to throw a bit of sack time in here to recover from your amazing day. The lovely New World Port from Madrona Vineyards would be nice sip before bedtime.

Day 2

Rise and Shine!   Brunch on the patio at the Independent in Placerville will kick start your day – be sure to quaff a mimosa or two in order to get your daily ration of Bubbly.

Get Wet! Take an adrenaline-filled guided raft trip with Adventure Connections on the Middle Fork of the American River. Bring sunscreen and enjoy the amazing American River Canyon with a rugged and rustic Barbera.

Get All Historical! Tour the Gold Discovery state park in Coloma. See and touch what started the Westward Expansion on our continent. A fun effort accompanied with a thoughtful and pensive Syrah.

Get On the Train! Enjoy a 90 minute ride on the El Dorado Western Railroad featuring small rolling stock maintained and operated by train buffs. Rides between 11am and 2:30pm on Sundays. A great match with a dense Petite Sirah.

Time for a Cocktail! Grab a Gold Cadillac at Poor Reds in El Dorado. These folks consume the most Galliano in the world each year.   This stop pairs with a cool and lemony Chardonnay.

For the Love of Zinfandel

Much like the flavors of love, wines made from the Zinfandel grape show an incredible range of nuances. To be specific, there are as many Zinfandel flavors as there are facets on a diamond! In a more prurient way, you might easily say that there are 50 Shades of Zinfandel! From sweet and pink to brooding and serious to brambly port-style, Zinfandel wines claim an incredible range of colors, flavors and textures. A lot like the flavors of love!

From its murky origins around the Adriatic Sea, Zinfandel grapes have been monopolized by California winemakers and they have made it their own in a big way. There is no grape that speaks to the romance of California winemaking more directly than Zinfandel – it is tightly interwoven with the storied 150 year history of the state.

So many of the ways wine lovers use to describe the flavors of Zinfandel wines overlap with the language of love. You can describe a White Zinfandel as soft, sweet and pink. You may taste the winemaker’s passion for her job in a raspberry fruit bomb Zin from the Russian River. You’ll taste the bright sunlight from a past summer’s vacation in a racy Zinfandel from the Sierra Foothills. The experience of cuddling with your love by a warm fire can be had by sharing a glass of deep brooding Zinfandel port.

No matter which favorite flavor you pick, you can be assured that, just like love, Zinfandel wines are best shared with friends and family. But they may be the very best to enhance a quiet and special moment with your lover. We say: Pull a cork on a bottle of Zinfandel this Valentine season and experience the magic of the grape. Cupid would be proud!


Live Music & Dinners on Fridays

We listened carefully when our customers told us that they wanted live music & dinners on Fridays, so you can expect that we’ll have someone playing tunes to accompany each unique 3-course $19.99 dinner every Friday.

See who is playing each Friday on our home page.