I’m still trying to catch up from last week’s great tours. On Wednesday we had three ladies who are in town helping St. Al’s hospital upgrade to a new computer system. On Thursday we had the continuation with four more St. Al’s gals. Then on Saturday, Idaho Winery Tours took a great van load of folks around for a birthday party, and on Sunday finished with a husband and wife (another St. Al’s gal) for a rainy half day.
Harvest season on the Sunny Slope makes for some interesting wine adventures. The crush was in full swing at Sawtooth. Trailers full of chard grapes, crushers dripping juice, and a fantastic tempranillo in stainless made for an exciting addition to the day. Merideth, who’s passion for the craft is unmatched in the valley, showed the Wednesday group around the works and explained the whole process. The ladies tasted straight from the stainless. Merideth had to dig through about a foot of the cap on some cab grapes to get to the juice. The CO2 in the barrel room was a little high, so we only peeked through the doorway. Merideth braved the deadly gasses and brought out the thief for a barrel tasting. This, unfortunately, isn’t an everyday event.
There was more crushing action at Ste. Chapelle to be seen off to the side of their tasting room entry. On the way back we stopped at Brewforia (an Idaho Winery Tour first) to pick up a couple of four packs. They have a tremendous selection. Sorry I missed you Rick. As our “St. Al’s series” of tours were all from Michigan they were able to pick out some fun NW labels, like the Polygamy Porter, and Bitch Creek. It looked like a healthy business was keeping them busy.Saturday was Katie’s Birthday. The tour totaled twelve, but the full compliment didn’t arrive until lunch. And as ususal the croud loved the Orchard House Restaurant. We had an unusual amount of haze Wednesday and Thursday, but it had all blown out and left the valley clean and crisp.
The vistas from Ste. Chapelle and Sawtooth were breathtaking. A cloudy sky put the distances, colors and heights of the Owyhee Mountains in perspective. I don’t know what they all had, but I can tell you this – The Bistro burger rocks! It is second only to the Pot Roast Sandwich which is only available as a special sometimes. Kris needs to make that a permanent fixture on the menu.
On the Birthday tour, we hit Ste. Chapelle last; just under the wire, as a matter of fact. It was so great of Amy and the crew to stay open for us. They even tried a bit of the Bubbly. We actually had a Boise celeb on the tour that day. i won’t say who; that’s my little secret. With stops at Willamson’s, Bitner, Koenig, Sawtooth and Ste. Chapelle, the crew were ready to continue the party back at the homestead, so off we went safe and sound.
Sunday, which was a bit of a surprise, as it was lined up during Saturday’s tour, turned out to be another great twosome. We finished the day at Indian Creek, listening to the drunken frogs croak in the tasting room, and rolling the ball for Dahlia, the wine dog. Tammy was on hand to pour. Mike came in a bit later, covered in grape squeezins; hands all purple, and even Bill was showed for a picture or two.
I didn’t think I’d ever be this busy, but it all went off without a hitch. I’d like to extend a sincerely, grateful thanks to all who helped make last week a great expereince for everyone. Stacey and Emily at Williamson’s; Kris and Sherry at the Orchard House; Loni, Kevin and Walt at Bitner’s; Brandon and Kelli at Koenig’s; Emily and Amy at Ste. Chapelle, Meredith, Andrea, Carly and Shelby at Sawtooth, and Tammy, Mike and Bill at Indian Creek are great folks. I’m proud to be a part of Idaho’s world class wine community!
Cheers and Good Cheer, George