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Sunnyside’s cellar stands out
By Lou Phillips
The Weekly | August 11, 2014
You can’t think of Sunnyside without thinking of the dashing guy with the big smile who has been making everyone feel like a friend since the 80s. Jeff “Ox” Oxandaboure, Sunnyside’s managing partner, is not only a great host, but also a wine lover and he takes his guest’s wine experience personally. Here is what you can expect on your visit to this well-loved West Shore wine venue.
The List aka Ox’s Picks is organized by varietal and priced from lowest to highest. Seems simple, but it is amazing how many wine lists need an interpreter.
This cellar covers many regions and price points and really stands out in Tahoe for hard-to-get items such as 2012 Guigal Condrieu (the spiritual home of Viognier), and aspirational Cabernets such as the PlumpJack Reserve and Caymus Special Selection. Sunnyside is a multi-time winner of The Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence, and with about 120 selections, this is a collection that every wine lover can enjoy.
A Sunnyside Flight is a great way to explore the wine. It’s summer, so start with a Rose. The 2013 Buonchristiani ($10 for the glass) from Napa is a 100 percent Syrah Rose that displays a beautiful purple tint, and reveals raspberry/strawberry on both the nose and palate. It has medium-full body, nice freshness and structure. A fine match is the Monterey Bay calamari that is fried and served with marinara sauce and fried parsley.
Next, look to Washington State for a refreshing Riesling. The 2013 Kung Fu Girl ($9 by the glass) from Columbia Valley offers crisp apple and fresh pear that leaps from the glass. It has a touch of residual sugar that is perfectly balanced by bright acidity that make it a great partner for the lightly spicy Ahi Poke, a fresh tuna tartar with Macadamia nuts.
If you are in the mood for a rich white but want to break away from Chardonnay the 2102 K Vintner’s Viognier ($12 for the glass), also from Columbia Valley, delivers rich color and mouth feel and also adds a unique flavor profile full of apricots and roses that connects with the beet and kale salad with Fuji apple, pistachios and chevre.
A 2012 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Ore., ($78 for the bottle) combines the rich cherry/berry flavors of new-world Pinot with the mineral and forest floor earthiness of Burgundy. This also is a real value from an iconic producer. This wine echoed the spice-profile of Mary’s Morrocan chicken served with a cauliflower couscous and a carrot salad.
Be sure to make reservations by calling (530) 583-7200 and prepare to be wowed.
Lou Phillips is a Level 3 Sommelier and Wine Educator who specializes in guiding private and commercial clients in buying and selling wine collections. He may be reached at (775) 544-3435 or [email protected].