Local wine experts recommend their favorite bottles.
Are you looking for the perfect wine to take to a family dinner? Need a good bottle to pair with your next home-cooked meal? Whether you’re hosting or aspire to be the ideal guest, having a stock of go-to vintages for special occasions is helpful, convenient, and time saving. We chatted with some of the region’s most dynamic wine experts to pick their brains about the wines they love most and when to pull out each one.
Food & Beverage Manager, Piazza, Carson City
Shriver’s love affair with wine started in her early 20s and was influenced heavily by her grandfather. Today she is the food and beverage manager at Piazza in Carson City, responsible for assisting in wine selection as well as purchasing.
Best White: Martin Ray Chardonnay, Russian River Valley
Why this wine: “This Martin Ray Chardonnay is an example of classic California Chardonnays without being over the top,” Shriver says. “It is well-structured with a good balance of fruit and acidity.”
Tasting notes: Flavors of Meyer lemon, ripe pear, orange blossom, and honey. Light and juicy with vibrant acidity, well-integrated oak, and a touch of vanilla bean.
Pairs well with: A charcuterie and cheese platter or richer shellfish such as lobster or crab — or nothing at all. “[It] is very pleasant just drinking [it] on its own,” Shriver says.
Fun fact: The winery may call the Russian River Valley home today, but it originated in Saratoga, Calif.
Best Red: Belle Glos “Dairyman” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley
Why this wine: “Pinot noir is known as one of the best food-pairing wines due to its bright acidity, sturdy yet balanced tannic structure, and rich-fruit character,” Shriver says.
Tasting notes: On the palate, bold flavors of cranberry, ripe plum, cherry, and super-ripe strawberry are balanced with gentle notes of cocoa powder and fig, with savory spices from its 100 percent French oak barrel aging.
Pairs well with: Filet mignon, veal, game, or poultry, but also stands up nicely on its own.
Fun fact: This bottle looks nice as a hostess gift or an elegant addition to your tablescape due to the distinctive red wax packaging.
Best Sparkling: Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs, Sonoma
Why this wine: The well-priced sparkling wine is made from 92 percent pinot noir and 8 percent Chardonnay and works well for an informal gathering.
Tasting notes: The pale, peachy-pink bubbly is balanced and fruity with flavors of strawberry and lemon, as well as moderately yeasty.
Pairs well with: Salmon and chicken dishes.
Owner, Double Bond Winery, Central Coast, Calif.
A biochemist by trade, Jack Klacking opened Double Bond Winery (see what he did there?) in 2007, specializing in wines crafted from boutique vineyards in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Paso Robles. He has lived in Reno for 43 years.
Best White: 2018 Double Bond Chardonnay, Edna Valley
Why this wine: “I’m just a classic Chardonnay guy,” Klacking says, adding that this 100 percent Chardonnay from Biddle Ranch Vineyard is a “red drinker’s white.” He also says it’s a good winter white with more complexity than one might expect.
Tasting notes: Honeysuckle crème brûlée, jasmine florals, and subtle apple brioche on the nose give way to oak and velvet butter with a crisp pineapple floral finish.
Pairs well with: Lighter fare such as chicken, salmon, or other fish, or a non-citrus salad.
Best Red: 2010 Double Bond Syrah, Larner Vineyard – Ballard Canyon
Why this wine: “I really think the up-and-coming wine is going to be syrah,” Klacking says.
Tasting notes: On the nose, you may pick up macerated violets, wisps of black smoke, dried vanilla, dark fruit, and tea leaves. On the palate, expect a deep and serious meeting of masculine oak, dried tobacco, dark berries, and dried lavender with a long finish.
Pairs well with: Red meats, including steak and lamb. “Syrahs are a great substitute for cabernets,” Klacking says.
Fun facts: This 100 percent syrah was barrel aged in 30 percent new French oak for 22 months before spending eight years in the bottle. Its notable awards include a 95+ points double gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.
Best Sparkling: Russian River sparkling wines
Why this wine: Klacking says sparkling wines from the Russian River Valley, namely the Sonoma area, reign supreme. “I think they’re producing some really good sparkling wines that would rival the French,” he says.
Pairs well with: Earthy dishes or high-acidity foods, including salmon, duck, lamb, and salads. Or drink it with dessert.
Fun fact: The region is renowned for its quality pinot noirs and Chardonnays. Because these are the grapes often used to make sparkling wines, it makes sense the Russian River Valley would turn out excellent bubbly, too. That is in large part due to the cool, coastal air and soil — attributes you can’t mimic just anywhere.
Owner, Archive Wine + Beer, Reno
Steve Boyer started his career in the wine and service business in 1995. During that time, he’s held every job from a glass cleaner to a sommelier to a business owner, collecting certifications to include those from the Court of Master Sommeliers, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and the Society of Wine Educators. Currently the owner of Archive Wine + Beer, Boyer also has held related jobs at Charlie Palmer Steak and Whole Foods.
Best White: 2018 Wirsching Estate Silvaner, Iphofen, Germany
Why this wine: Boyer has an affinity for no-intervention wineries that specialize in natural and sustainable practices. He’s also a proponent of marketing wines from family growers and producers.
Tasting notes: “This lovely dry silvaner starts off with the elegance and grace of ripe Bosc pear and finishes with a lingering minerality,” Boyer says.
Pairs well with: Boyer suggests pairing this powerful white with pork chops, pho, or bánh mì.
Fun fact: Fewer than 10,000 cases of this wine were produced.
Best Red: 2019 Les Traverses de Fontanès, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Why this wine: In a region dominated by grenache and syrah, this wine is a rare gem from 40-year-old cabernet sauvignon vines in the southern region of France. “With fewer than 4,000 cases’ total production, this wine is one of the best cabernet sauvignons around for the money,” Boyer says.
Tasting notes: This structured red boasts flavors of dark fruit and is high in tannins.
Pairs well with: A bone-in rib eye or a cozy fireside with friends.
Best Sparkling: 2019 Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Secco, Emilia-Romagna region, Italy
Why this wine: Subtle bubbles make this off-the-wall sparkling wine an impressive addition to any table, and with only 4,000 cases in existence, it’s sure to impress wine aficionados and beginners alike.
Tasting notes: This deep-hued, bone-dry wine is rich with an aroma of blackberry, complemented by juicy, tart fruit and hints of rosemary.
Pairs well with: Salumi, strong cheeses, or a sausage pizza with fennel and Calabrian chiles.
When Nora Tarte isn’t drinking wine or writing about wine, she’s usually dreaming of wine. She even muses about it on her Instagram @wanderlust_n_wine from time to time.
For a glass or bottle of the wines recommended by these pros, visit the following area businesses:
Archive Wine + Beer
148 West St., Reno
775-515-9823 • Archivewinebeer.com
7111 S. Virginia St., Ste. B, Reno
775-851-9463 • Bistro7reno.com
Double Bond Winery
805-863-9181 • Doublebondwine.com
224 S. Carson St., Ste. 8, Carson City
775-301-6708 • Carsonpiazzabar.com
1131 Steamboat Pkwy., Reno
775-851-8466 • Vino100reno.com
Whispering Vine Wine Co.
All four locations in Reno