This last tour was one for the books. On Saturday, Idaho Winery tours took a really nice group of friends around the Sunny Slope and beyond. It turned out to be a beautiful day – crisp temps and sunny skies. We started out in Boise at the home of Vinny Perretta. Some of you may recognize the name. He played a little ball for the home town team. But this day was all about his wife Jess. It was kind of last minute, but the tour turned out to be a great surprise. Jess thought Vinny was going to take her shopping; something he doesn’t really like to do. I’d have to agree that a winery tour out in the clean country air is better than an overcrowded stuffy old mall any day.
When she came out of the house to see her friends hanging out of the Airstream, she was truly blown away. Touchdown, Perretta. So off we went. We started out at Martin Fujishin’s tasting room, where Teresa, lovingly refered to on Martin’s own blog as the “Wine Wench” ran our guests through the line. I talked her into a barrel tasting. She even gave me the “Thief”.
Martin and the Crew make some great wines. A dry gewurztraminer (traditionally more sweet) which is fermented a little longer to accentuate the spicey character was first up. Then the great Summer sipper, a 2009 viognier (Vee -Oh -Nyay). It has a stonbe fruit and melloon character with a hint of floral. The big and bold 2008 Merlot was a big hit as was the Syrah. From the barrel our party tried the 2009 Syrah and the 2009 Merlot. Our gang was impressed with the difference from year to year and bottle to barrel.
Next, we had another fantastic lunch at the ever more popular Orchard House Restaurant. Kelsey was there to take care of our hungry guests. I didin’t hear what they ordered, but the testimonials as we left for our next stop were, as usual, stellar.
We made our way back up river to Ron and Mary Bitner’s place. We were greeted by Jimmy the Wine Dog and Italian opera. Ron and Mary were both on hand, which is always nice. Loved Mary’s cute haircut. Ron had attemded the masters program at Purdue, and Vinny’s Dad played football and went to school there, so it made for instant rapport.
It’s always nice when you can visit a local winery that sports a “Best of Show” ribbon from the Florida State Fair as well as one of the best views of the Snake River Appellation. Nice job Bitner!
One of the great things to see on an Idaho Winery Tour is the distillery at Koenig Winery and Distillery. But this tasting room had another wonderful surprise. Something you don’t see everyday.
Tucked into the rafters of the porch off the tasting room was the little owl you see at the top of the page. It’s experiences like this that make a day out on the wine trail truly memorable. The Long-eared Owl, a smaller version of the Great Horned Owl, you’ll see in a larger shot below was just hanging out, snoozing, and watching the silly humans as they chatted and sipped the wine and huckleberry vodka. The works at Koenig are beautiful in their own right, and our crew was amazed by the complexity of the distillery overlooked by the tasting room.
We were running behind a little so we did a quick tasting at Sawtooth. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t get any pictures there, so you’ll just have to go experience it for yourself. I can tell you however, that it is the only location on the wine trail where you can see across the entire valley; from the Boise Front to the Owyhees, and on a clear day you can just make out the Blue Mountains of Oregon.
So on we went for the traditional final stop to Indian Creek Winery. Mike and Tammy were on hand pouring the goodies. They have a long line up, so I won’t go in to everything they have. I can tell you that David Shields, who you might remember played line backer for BSU, a self professed lover of port, gave the thumbs up to the port and left with a bottle or two. All in all it was a great day. Good friends, good wine, and an owl to boot, or hoot as the case may be.
I also have to give a special thanks to my new friend who helped me make this tour possible. You’re a giant among men, Hank. Thanks you.
Cheers and Good Cheer,