Sipping 208 in THE 208 – The Idaho Wine Competition

Dear world,

Earlier this week I trekked to Boise, Idaho to taste 208 Idaho wines. Wine Press Northwest organized the tasting and Moya Shatz, Executive Director of the Idaho Wine Commission, facilitated the entries from the Idaho wineries. 208 also happens to be the area code so it was a comical, yet very blog worthy, coincidence.

I arrived late Sunday night and happily went to Mulligan’s Bar for their Sunday Night $1.00 PBR on tap (yes, I just admitted that online – did I mention I’m married to a cowboy?). Needless to say, the wine editor I was with was completely horrified yet strangely intrigued all at the same time.

I checked into Hotel 43, which is a stylish and comfortable hotel located “3 or maybe 6 blocks” from anywhere in downtown Boise you want to go; it just depends on who your travel guide is. We got unnecessarily lost a few times and it was explained this way, “it took us 15 blocks to get there and 3 blocks to get back.”

Hotel 43 was excellent. Chandler’s is on the main floor of the hotel and, I’m told, is a great place to eat. There was an early morning granola incident in the bistro, but nothing to write home about, hehe! Ask me about it later and I’ll tell you off the record ;).

Not so bright and early Monday morning, given the sun hadn’t peeked up from the horizon, we trekked over to Ste. Chapelle Winery in Caldwell, Idaho for our judging.

I was on a panel with Eric Degerman (Wine Press Northwest), Dave Krick (owner, Bittercreek Alehouse & Red Feather Lounge in Boise, ID) and Ilene Dudunake (owner, A New Vintage Wine Shop in Meridian, ID). Other judges included John Berryhill (owner of Berryhill & Co. restaurant in Boise), Catie McIntyre Walker (a blogger based in Walla Walla, WA), Dave Seaver (member of Wine Press Northwest’s judging panel) and Bob Woehler (longtime wine writer and tasting editor for Wine Press Northwest).

Andy Perdue of Wine Press Northwest and many volunteers facilitated this very well run wine competition. Andy was doing a Live Chat during the tasting and announcing the winners as the medals were awarded by each panel; very innovative! Our lunch was provided by the Orchard House.

These are the flights and wines my panel tasted through: fruit wines, rosé, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Orange Muscat, Muscat Canelli, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Blends, Carmenere, Zweigelt, Petit Verdot, Barbera, Grenache, Touriga Naçional,  Sangiovese, late harvest wines and finally, Best of Show. 16 flights and 129 swirls, sniffs and spits of wine in one day. Please note, “for the “Best of” categories, we excluded wines using non-Idaho grapes” (Andy Perdue).

After the competition, the judges were invited by Dave Krick to his Red Feather Lounge in downtown Boise. With many of the open bottles tagging along with us, we enjoyed a great discussion and dinner together in the private cellar downstairs. Service and food were great! Dave treated us to a sampling of appetizers including his squash ravioli, pumpkin gnocchi, Tempura chicken tenders, and smoked Idaho trout. For dinner I enjoyed the Lava Lakes lamb chops. We sipped on wines from the competition and had a lively discussion.

The next morning a few of us had breakfast at Goldy’s. The place was packed and the owners and servers were the best I’ve encountered in a very long time! Our next door table company was loudly consumed in conversations about three ways and future-ex-girlfriends…but what can you say?

I bid farewell to my colleagues, checked out of the hotel and began my six-hour drive home. It wouldn’t have been so terrible had I not encountered snow on the mountain pass and been stuck behind an accident involving a cow.

I’m home safely, in one piece and still sipping fantastic Idaho wines!

View the results and a great snap of me, here.




~ by winnieswineworld on October 30, 2010.

One Response to “Sipping 208 in THE 208 – The Idaho Wine Competition”

  1. […] Valley Vineyard Orange Muscat, Snake River Valley, Idaho. I judged this wine single blind at the Idaho Wine Competition last year. Orange Muscat, Snake River […]

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