Anniversary Tour

Second Anniversary Tour- aren't they cute..

Second Anniversary Tour - aren't they cute..

Just this past weekend I took a lovely couple on a tour for their second wedding anniversary. It started out last saturday (Aug. 22) with a lovely dinner at The Orchard House Restaurant. Arun Unnikrishnan and his wife Madhuri, enjoyed their eventing listening to Wayne White and tasting a local white and red with dinner. I fogot to ask them what they had, but the said it was excellent. Kris Thompson had to whip up something special for Madhuri. She’s a vegetarian.

After dinner I took them out to Fraser Vineyard, where they stayed the night. Bill Fraser has a quaint cottage in the middle of his boutique vineyard. It is perfect for that romantic get-away. The Sunset was spectacular. They were amazed by the beauty of the valley, even after the sun had sunk below the Blue Mountains. I snapped a photo as I left for the night. See photo below.

I returned the next morning at 11am. Things don’t gett rolling on the Sunny Slope until noon, so the couple took a morning stroll along the Snake River, just across the bridge in Marsing, ID (pop. 890 as per 2000 census). They pushed each other on the park’s swings and had a few laughs. Then I took them over to the Sandbar River House for lunch. They enjoyed Sunday meal, and were ready for the wine!

Davis Creek Cellars was our first stop. Gina Davis, the owner/winemaker was ready to pour. I gave them a notebook to keep track of what they tasted, and they went through quite a few pages. Hopefully, our couple will tell you about their findings. The Davis Creek Cellars’ tasting room is located just a few blocks south of the river on the east side of Marsing’s main drag, Highway 55.

From there, our young lovers took a trip back across the river, past Lizard Butte, to Ste Chapelle. Founded in 1979, Ste. Chapelle is Idaho’s largest and oldest winery. It is a popular stop for many passing through. I saw people and license plates from many different states, had a nice chat with some folks from Salt Lake, and enjoyed the cool shade while our guests sampled the many varietals offered in the spacious, almost chapel like tasting room.

Next, we journeyed to Sawtooth Winery. Arun and Madhuri really liked the up clopse and personal touch provided by Andrea. She is very knowledgeable and her warm smile makes everyone feel right at home. From the raised deck and tasting room you’ll get an amazing view across the lush farm lands of the Snake River Plain and Owyhee Mountains . The grounds at Sawtooth are wonderfully green and make for a nice wedding or large party. It’s also nice to see all the strange equipment and machines they have for de-stemming and crushing. You can also see the stainless steel works from the windows in the tasting room. It’s a serious operation.

Our final stop was Indian Creek. After much back and forth over the phone and e-mails, I finally met Tammy Stowe. She’s Bill Stowe’s daughter and is great at the tasting bar. Dalia, their dog, slept peacefully under the wood stove-dreaming of rabbits. Their tasting room has an old world European feel, and sports a row of bottles above the wine rack, each ensconced in medal and awards. Their grounds are absolutely beautiful. They have several tiers of grassed areas for games or just strolling. Tammy told us they sponsor a golf challenge, and that if you can hit a ball into a wine barrel on father’s day you’ll win a case. Indian Creek also has ample grounds and facilities for weddings and large gatherings.

It was an excellent day. Arun and Mahdri tasted somewhere in the neighborhood of 28 wines(that’s a pretty respectable neighborhood). It was a long day and we headed for home. I dropped them off at their door and said goodbye. They had nice smiles and waved as I pulled out for home. It was a spectacular day, and I hope they’ll come back next year for number 3! Happy Anniversary you two!

Cheers and Good Cheer

Sunset at Fraser Vineyard - this picture doesn't do the view justice, but you get the idea.

Sunset at Fraser Vineyard - this picture doesn't do the view justice, but you get the idea.

4 comments to Anniversary Tour

  • Arun

    Our anniversary getaway couldn’t have started any better than the dinner that we totally loved at The Orchard House. Because of the proximity to all the farms, orchards and water, the fare on offer was remarkably fresh and tasty. Bill Fraser had the quaintest of cottages amidst a vineyard that I had pictured in my mind. He was generous enough to leave us a bottle of his 2007 Couloir Cuvee to enjoy as we watched the sunset sitting out at the beautiful deck. The following day was all about wine tasting as George took us to four different wineries after a quick Wine Tasting and Grape Growing 101 class. As we sampled through the different varietals on offer, our palettes began to develop a new-found affection for whites. We were a bit disappointed to find out that we weren’t able to taste the Malbec and the Tempranillo at the Davis Creek Cellars’ (DCC) tasting room because they were sold out. Through the tasting, we progressed from the whites to the Rose and then to the reds and finished with a dessert wine. Our favorites at DCC included the crisp Viognier and the bold Syrah. As we made our way into STC’s tasting room, the term oldest and largest winery made sense to us. As we stood there tasting some excellent dry riesling, we marvelled at the absolutely breathtaking tasting room that was perched inside a chapel-like structure. Because STC was celebrating their 30th anniversary, we were able to walk away with the tasting glasses too. The little notebook that George gave us to write notes about wines we sampled was quickly filling up as the afternoon wore on. As we found ourselves lost in Idaho’s wine country trying to locate Sawtooth Winery, we almost ended up missing it. But the wait was well worth it. There was some seriously excellent wines on offer here and we were able to sample some from their regular as well as their reserve offering. Our favorites here include the wonderfully crisp Muscat Blanc and the outstanding ice wine. Finally, we ended our weekend at the Indian Creek Winery’s tasting room. This, I’m being told, is technically the oldest winery around here. The two dessert wines on offer on the tasting menu – Port and Late Harvest Riesling, were truly remarkable. The other favorite of ours here was the beautifully earthy Malbec. Throughout our weekend, George had everything planned out perfectly well that all we had to do was to pack our stuff and hop onto the SUV he brought along. We will look forward to coming back during the harvest season and spending more time here and visiting the other wineries that wasn’t possible this time around. Thank you George, we had a wonderful time.

  • Thanks for the Ste. Chapelle Winery listing. Go Idaho!
    All the best!

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