I took a shot in Reno, ’cause I had time to kill.

Over the 4th of July holiday, Kara and I went to visit my folks in the great city of Reno, Nevada.

Kara’s birthday was on the 3rd, so to celebrate, my parents took us out to a great restaurant called the Stone House Cafe.  This Reno hot spot has a beautiful outside dining area and a great staff of servers working there.  Kara and I shared a plate of oysters on the half shell as an appetizer.  For dinner, Kara had “The San Diego” (a seared Ahi Tuna sandwich) and I had the half roasted chicken (Why they didn’t roast it the whole way?  I’ll never know.  Heyoohhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!).  It was all delicious!

The next morning, I woke up early to watch this thing with my dad…

After a big barbecue feast, my dad dropped Kara and me off in downtown Sparks so we could watch the only 4th of July fireworks show in the greater Reno area.

While waiting for the fireworks show, Kara and I popped our heads into a few of the local bars to get some good drinks at a good price.

At The Alley, Kara was able to get a fresh watermelon shot, while I had a tall can of PBR.  At the Victorian Saloon, we reacquainted ourselves with a local named John.  He bought us each a shot of Jagermeister… or maybe we bought him a shot… I’m not sure.

Anyway…

The fireworks were really cool.

We took a cab home.

The next morning, we slept in.

For lunch on the 5th, we hit up Kokopelli’s Sushi inside the Circus Circus for some all-you-can-eat sushi.  Again… Delicious!  We got so stuffed full of amazing sushi that we had to go back to my folks house to take a nap.

After waking up, we decided to go explore the Grand Sierra before having another dinner with the folks.  It’s a gigantic casino in between Reno and Sparks.  Formerly known as the Reno Hilton, the Grand Sierra is home to a really crappy mall.

Why would we go?

Well…

In the past, we found a gem of a wine bar called The Reserve.  The wine bar is loaded full of REALLY good wines that are available by the taste, half glass, or full glass using the power of the Enomatic Wine System…

It took us a while to find the wine bar, because Reserve has been moved closer to the Charlie Palmer Steak House.  Once we got to the wine bar, we were stoked to discover that on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 they have an event called 60 Minute Grape.  For 20 bucks, you get to taste 4 wines poured by the Charlie Palmer sommelier paired with an amuse bouche, plus you get 10 dollars credit on the wine machines.

Kara was all like, “Should we do it?”

And I was all like, “I’ll give it a shot.  I’ve got time to kill.”

While waiting for 5:30 to roll around, we started tasting some of the wines in the machine.

I started with a taste of the Rombauer 09 Carneros Chardonnay.  It had a classic nose of vanilla, oak, and butter.  On the palate, there was a beautiful taste of sweet cream and apple pie.  I gave it a solid 90.

Next, I moved over to the Hedges 08 CMS.  It’s a Washington state blend of chardonnay, marsanne, and sauvignon blanc.  Get it?  C.M.S.!  There was a smell of apple and flint to go along with a tongue tingling acidity and minerality on the palate.  There was a nice hint of pear and lime on this one.  Give it an 87, foo.

After we wet our whistles, the sommelier came out with his first wine for us…

Sin-ley Valleclaro Rose. I can't read the vintage from the picture and I didn't take good notes, so I'll let you guess the year.

The Sin-ley Valleclaro Rose is a Spanish wine made from the prieto picudo grape.  The nose was buttery and smokey.  It had flavors of rich cream and crisp lime.  A very nice rose that I gave an 87.

As we were finishing the rose, we were brought our amuse bouche.  A delicious black bass ceviche for the rose, and caprese salad of fresh mozzarella for the next wine.  Speaking of…

THE Four Graces 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris. I can read this label.

THE Four Graces 2010 Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley was all about being light and full of minerality.  A perfect pairing for a caprese salad, but at $18 a bottle I wouldn’t buy this 86-pointer.

Next, we tried…

Carrefour Napa Valley Pinot Noir. 2006? What year does that look like to you?

The Carrefour Napa Valley Pinot Noir was okay.  It was nice and light, which I like.  There was a hint of strawberry, but it also had this weird soapy thing going on.  Give it an 85.

Finally…

Opolo 2005 Grand Rouge. Or is it 2006?

The Opolo Grand Rouge is a Rhone style wine from Paso Robles.  It’s a blend of counoise, grenache, and petite sirah.  It gave a nose of black licorice and chalk (I love chalk!).  On the palate, there was plenty of dark red fruit, but it wasn’t goopy by any means.  It was a solid 88.

After finishing the tasting, we ended up being late for dinner with the folks.

I explained that we were at this awesome wine tasting at this awesome wine bar.

They were unimpressed.

Stay Rad, Reno.  I’ll see you soon,

Jeff

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