October 14 • Winemaker
In fact, Idaho is the butt of the joke when it has come to wine in the past. Everyone had lost hope a long time ago that Idaho could produce anything slightly resembling good wine, and this running joke even infiltrated popular culture, making an appearance in a variety of different movies.
Fast forward to present day, and I’m prepared to put this behind me if you are. I wouldn’t be so quick to do so if it wasn’t for Saint Chapelle Winery.
Now, if you know anything about wine and the Northwest, you understand that Oregon and Washington are usually in the spotlight, and are both more than happy to stay there. Why stray further inland for a good drop when you can find it on the coast?
Saint Chapelle’s is the reason. If you’re like me and find a certain solace in agreeable wines that are also at bargain prices, you’ll find a fast home at this diverse and dynamic winery.
Now, just like the public, this winery had to deal with the aforementioned reputation that preceded them wherever their wine went. Saint Chapelle was started in 1975, a time that most certainly wasn’t kind to the idea of wine from Idaho.
However, they persevered despite the discouragement, with their end goal being great wine at a great price. Their attitude was to continue to do what they do best, and the rest of the world could catch up to this when they were ready.
Meredith Smith is a notable winemaker who joined the team in 2011. Her side hobby of collecting wine magazines eventually pushed her to enroll in a viticulture course, which ultimately led her to the position she currently holds today at Idaho’s longest running winery.
If you ask Meredith what her favorite wine is, the answer may surprise you. Yup, it’s Chardonnay, and the reason why Meredith loves making Chardonnay so much is that of the challenge to stand out with a wine that, in itself, has quite the preceding reputation.
Rhone varietals are another passion of hers – mainly because she finds the Snake River Valley landscape compliant in producing crops for this variety.
Love Idaho Red Blend: don’t worry, I haven’t missed the irony hidden in the name of this wine. Yup, here we’ve got a wine that’s reminding you where it was made, and why it’s so good.
From Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Verdot, and Cabernet Franc, you’ve got quite a robust blend here. Violet and Wild Berry aromas start you off nicely, before easing you into the plum, cherry and spice flavors that follow.
With medium acidity and a smooth finish, you’ll find the Red Blend dangerously easy to drink.
Chateau Series Soft Huckleberry: it’s okay if you don’t know what variety of wine this is – I didn’t either (don’t tell anyone). It’s a lot simpler than you think – classic Riesling is paired here with huckleberries to produce a crisp, pink drink that echoes notes of apricot and peach.
The residual sugar at the end helps to balance out the acidity of this wine.
While you may still be struggling to comprehend the quality of an Idaho wine, Saint Chapelle can help you with the last leg until you reach the finish line.
With a taste that’s incomparable and a price tag that’s enviable, Saint Chapelle continue to be a mainstay in Idaho. They work hard every day to revolutionize this Northwest state’s previous reputation, one bottle of booze at a time.
July 15 • shots
It’s always a race against the heat in the West. Hell, there’s a score of difference races around here. There’s a race to the riches and a race to the hills where the riches lay. There’s a race to food and shelter and the means in which a man might make to get them. There’s a race to the women and to the brothels and saloons where you can find them at. I don’t look for my women in those places but I often find myself in them for other races. Mine is a race to whiskey. It’s only a matter of time before I find myself in one today.
August 11 • Cork
If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. We often hear this for things that are the industry standard...
August 12 • Soil & Minerals
Does chardonnay really taste like a river rock? The term minerality has been tossed around quite a bit in the sommelier’s vocabulary. In fact, it pervades all aspects of wine; found in wine descriptions and on the lips of winemakers...