Last year on August 28th, 2009, four great ladies came from Utah to celebrate a couple of birthdays. You may remember the “Double Birthday Tour (stretch pants optional)” tour. Well, they decided to do it again. And again, we beat out the option of a trip to California Wine Country. As you may surmise, dear reader, Idaho Winery Tours maintained the standard for creating a one of kind experience. I’m not really fond of that term, “one of a kind” because every person has a different experience, making all experiences singular in nature. Anywho….
For a singularly great experience though, we had a fantastic time. It started with Jannine. She handled the arrangements this time around. We went back and forth via e-mail for a couple of weeks until all was settled. Last year her daughter Autumn was the instigator of the whole affair. Both were great to work with.
Instead of driving to Boise, they flew in from Salt Lake. Jennifer, who was on the first go-around last year had been traveling and was unable to attend, but their new friend Christine joined them. So, last Saturday the 9th, I picked them up at their hotel and off we went.
We started out by catching up on the years events. I told them what I’ve been up to, and they did the same. There were trips to Italy, Spain and Australia to hear about, and the big news was that Autumn had entered and one the Utah State Fair’s photography contest. You can see her winning entry here. She’s super-talented.
I regaled them with what has been going on in my life. Aikido, massage therapy school at Three Oaks Academy in Boise, wife, kids, and of course about the past year for Idaho Winery Tours. It’s been a great year!
Anyway, we started at Hell’s Canyon. Steve Robertson, the owner, was there to give a great class on tasting wine, the area, the difference between fruity and sweet, and dry wines, and, of course, a tasting to go along with the great snack tray he provided. They were right in the middle of harvest, and the crush, so they were closed for tastings, but he opened his doors to my guests. Steve is an amazing wine maker. They ladies picked up a bottle, and we returned later to get a few more.
What tour would be complete without a stop for lunch at the Orchard House Restaurant? I just love it when people pick different menu items and start cutting up portions for everyone to try; it’s like do-it-yourself family style. The Ruben, Portobello Mushroom Burger, Halibut and Chips, and a Mushroom Swiss went about the table as well as a side of onion rings(I love those, but I can only eat just one — they keep me awake at night).
Our next stop was Martin Fujishin’s tasting room. He opened it up back in July, making another great addition to the Sunny Slope wine trail. Martin’s wife Teresa, a.k.a. Wine Wench (his term, not mine) was there to pour. They have a new wine they recently released, a 2009 Dry Gewurztraminer, and a Late Harvest Riesling. Tasty stuff, according to the gang.
Then it was off to Ron Bitner’s winery and truffle farm. As you pull up to the entrance you’ll see grapes of course, but you’ll also see a patch of hazelnut trees. He’s had their roots infused with truffle spores. It’s a little experiment he’s running, and I can’t wait to taste what the truffle dogs (not pig) dig up. You may be thinking chocolate, but these will be even better.
They wanted to take it a little slower than last time, so for the last stop we had a visit with Tammy Stowe at Indian Creek Winery. Dahlia, the wine dog is always ready for a game of fetch, and the wine is great. Tammy had just returned from a rock climbing competition, and her Dad Bill was strolling the grounds, thick paperback and glass of malbec in hand. They too were working the vines as Mike was nowhere to be found, and the netting had been pulled up to harvest.
But the fun didn’t end there. This year we had Kelli Paddock, owner and cook of Prepared Catering(according to Steve at Hell’s Canyon chef’s don’t cook, they administrate). In that regard Kelli is a fabulous cook. I set up a dinner and pairing at Syringa’s tasting room in Garden City. It’s a great spot for parties. Kelli went in last week to taste the wines so she could create the menu to match. If your mouth isn’t watering right now it soon will be.
A five course meal is no easy task. Here’s her menu with the Syringa pairings:
Appetizers – Marinated artichokes served with and herb aioli with 2008 Promitivo
Amuse – Melon wrapped with prosciutto and aged sharp cheddar with 2008 Promitivo
Salad – Couscous salad with grapefruit cucumbers tossed in a citrus dressing with the 2009 Fume Blanc
Entrée – Inside out fillet mignon topped with fresh heirloom tomatoes, avocado with a fresh herb dressing, a side of gruyere polenta and asparagus wrapped with parmesan cheese with the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon
Dessert – New York style cheese cake brulée on a chocolate graham crut topped with a huckleberry sauce with the 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
Are you drooling yet? I am. Kelli is phenomenal. If you’re looking to have a meal prepared in your home, I highly recommend her work. Here’s her telephone number: (208)409-8662. She can put together a great meal for any occasion.
So it’s over, right? Wrong. The next day, Sunday, I picked them up again and took them for massages at Three Oaks Academy & Integrative Therapy Clinic. Each had a great massage, one performed by yours truly. Can you say relaxed? After that we headed over to renewal. It’s Boise’s best furniture store. Jannine was looking for a bench, and what four women couldn’t do with a little more shopping.
They had to fly out at 1pm, but their flight was delayed. Jannine wanted to return a pair of shoes at the mall, so I dropped them off at the Cheese Cake Factory in the Boise Town Square Mall. Hugs all around.
We had a great couple of days. I must be the luckiest guy on the planet to have such a great job. Thanks so much ladies for a great time. I can’t wait to start preparing for next year! Kisses!