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.
Saint Chapelle Wine
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.
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July 19 • Coffee somm
The rise of the Coffee and Tea Sommeliers
Just like wine Sommeliers, there are true connoisseurs—coffee and tea sommeliers—who go beyond the milk, syrup and cream and can tell just by tasting, observing the residue and smelling a coffee or tea where the bean or leaf that made it came from, what type it is and even recommend the best pairing to enjoy it with.
May 31 • Civil rights
Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 2)
It’s safe to say we would all agree Hennessy and Hip-Hop are associated with each other in a special way. We would even go as far to say, Hennessy has reached global iconic status thanks to that fact.
May 04 • Vinely Live Events
Vinely Live: Michael Jordan & Fred Scherrer
Sommtable Live - this Thursday May 14th, is proud to have to Michael Jordan (Master Sommelier) and Fred Scherrer (Winemaker Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast) - the dynamic duo in both the world of wine and music. In the realm of viticulture, they’re perfect complements.
April 19 • Cognac
Hennessy: The Cognac of Hip Hop & Civil Rights (Part 1)
It’s safe to say we would all agree Hennessy and Hip-Hop are associated with each other in a special way. We would even go as far to say, Hennessy has reached global iconic status thanks to that fact. That being said, while the cognac of hip-hop was catapulted to its iconic...
April 16 • Music
PEOPLE ARE STRANGE: Jim Morrison
Jim was quoted in his poetic nature: “Being drunk is a good disguise.” He said. “It means I can talk to assholes.”
July 15 • shots
The First Shot Ever Served: A Tale of the West
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.
August 13 • Armagnac
CASTEL MIMI WINERY; Exploring the World of Moldovan Wine
While France, Italy and Spain may hold the lion’s share of an industry which is over 35 billion bottles strong, there are many other players in the game. The world of Moldovan wine may be lesser known than other European countries...