There are wineries that I view through glasses of nostalgia and sentiment. Some I visited on my honeymoon or on vacations. One is close to home, probably the most well-known in Idaho, and that is Ste. Chapelle Winery.
My history with Ste. Chapelle goes back to my twenties. I wasn’t really a drinker at that time, having only the occasional light beer (usually Bud Light) and if I was out dancing I might indulge in a Kamikaze shot.
I know. Hardcore.
Then in the summer of 2004 I found myself living in a house that had grape vines growing up and over the patio and, naturally, my roommates and I decided to make wine.
Or buy it, whatever happened first.
There we were, wine newbies, with no idea what was what, looking at a sea of wine bottles at our usual grocery haunt. My eye caught the Ste. Chapelle label and I thought, I know that place! My mom had danced at events at the winery in years past and shared the experiences with me. So, I grabbed the bottle off the shelf and brought it home to share.
That happened to be a bottle of Soft Chenin Blanc, which is now known as Soft White.
Soft White is a blend of Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscat Blanc. It’s sweet, easy drinking and low in alcohol.
I drank a lot of it that summer and it was my gateway into the world of wine.
Fast forward to 2010. Nick and I are engaged and ready to take photos. After telling our photographer we’re having a wine country honeymoon, she suggests we choose Ste. Chapelle for our setting. We agree and end up getting beautiful pictures that fill our wedding guest book.
Fast forward again to a few weeks ago when I found myself out in Idaho’s Snake River Valley wine county with my friend and fellow blogger, Jessica Wyman, looking for an open winery.
We decided to do some tasting and secret project scouting. Yeah. I haz a secret. Haha!
As you drive into the grounds it is impossible not to notice how gorgeous it is out there. The beautiful entrance gives way to a big park area and the tasting room.
The tasting room itself is in the round building. It’s a wide open space with a bar that can accommodate many tasters, and of course there is a large gift shop.
At the counter Jessica and I were greeted by a cheerful wine host. $5.00 buys your choice of five wine tastings from an extensive selection and your choice of a stemmed or stemless take-home glass. There are also reserve wines that you can taste for an additional $1.00. I tasted the following:
2012 Sauvignon Blanc, subtle on the nose and palate with hints of citrus and a crisp clean finish. B
2012 Snake River Cabernet Sauvignon, jammy on the nose and toast on the palate, a breakfast wine. Brunch if that makes you more comfortable. B
2010 Winemakers Series Syrah, this was the full bodied star of the show. Wonderful berry smell which translates on the tongue with light and a nice long finish. A-
I also tasted two dessert wines, the Late Harvest Riesling and the Almond Roca Cream Wine (which is AH-mazing). Fun facts:
The Late Harvest Riesling is simulated in-house in the style of ice wine, but Idaho has not had an ice wine season since 2007.
Almond Roca Cream Wine is produced at Ste. Chapelle for the Chocolate Shop (as they are both owned by Precept Wine) and I’m told is excellent as a shot in your coffee, in French toast batter, or poured over ice cream and brownies.
Yeah. I’m going to need to try all of the above.
Oh. And then this happened:
Looks like some things never change. I’m still doing shots!
After the tasting we lingered for a while, browsing the gift shop and the event space above the tasting room.
Then we went out to the park area and took in the scenery.
It is lovely at Ste. Chapelle Winery and because they are such a big part of the Idaho wine industry, producing around 130,000 cases a year, there is something for just about everyone so I highly recommend visiting.
*Photo Credit for our guest book: Jayme Montoya Photography