by Phil Anderson
Last Saturday night I had the fantastic opportunity to experience a wonderful winemakers dinner at Log Spirit Bed and Breakfast featuring wines from Pend d’Oreille Winery (pronounced pond-or-ray), out of Sandpoint, ID.
Stopped and smelled the roses before tickling our taste buds
Before I lavish praises on the wines we tasted along with the food we ate let me just say that the award winning Log Spirit Bed and Breakfast is as majestic as it comes. Tucked away in the fir trees of Athol, ID, it is a true log home with six luxurious rooms, all with their own bathrooms. Midnight Dream even has a private hot tub on the balcony overlooking the waterfall at the entry. Gorgeous flower gardens brighten up the exterior decor and this B&B also boasts fresh eggs and veggies that they gather right there from their property!
We would have stayed there for sure but they were all booked up, which is a very common thing. I was quite impressed by both hosts, Robin and Lew, who made us feel like we were the most important guest’s in the lodge. There were no spirits, per se, that visited us at Log Spirit Bed and Breakfast but the wildlife sure paid us a visit as a small family of deer wandered by as we ate. Great food, great wine, great company and great wildlife all rolled into a three hour period of blissful satisfaction and contentment.
I can’t wait to return to the serenity of Log Spirit Bed and Breakfast at some point in the very near future!
And now for the main event
Well, this IS a wine blog, afterall, so I will get right to it.
This whole night came to be because of Lew who happens to love wine. He continued to pester Stephen Meyer, owner and winemaker at Pend d’Oreille, to do a winemakers dinner at their B&B. After literally years of this ongoing persistence, Stephen was able to come up with an available night and thus this event was born.
The evening started at 6PM and, believe it or not, we were EARLY! Think we were excited?
The first course was blueberry-bleu cheese ball and liver pate with crackers served with Pend d’Oreille’s Rosette, which is their dry Rose of Merlot. The Rosette had some strawberries on the palate and paired wonderfully with the liver pate.
The next course was an avacado cream soup with a 2008 Pinot Gris. VERY interesting finish in the Pinot Gris…quite heavy; not like the fruit foward and light Pinot Gris’ we’re used to. This was a little peppery on the finish and it lingered a LONG time. I don’t believe there to be a better wine to compliment this soup. It was fantastic and at this point we were two for two in the food and wine pairing.
After a palate cleanser, which simply consisted of a lemon sorbet (that was phenomenal) the next course paired an apple salad with caramel walnuts and bleu cheese/balsamic vinegar dressing with Pend d’Oreille’s 2008 Chardonnay. This Chardonnay had a little oak in the mix (about 9-10 months on new French oak) but it was well balanced. A wonderful nose, with hints of caramel. We ended up buying a bottle of this to bring home with us.
Time for the big boys
At this point in the evening the heavy artillery was presented to us in the form of Asian-styled buffalo short ribs, roasted winter squash and fanned rosemary new potatoes. The meat literally fell off the bone as it was just SO moist and tender. We had two bold reds to go with this entry: A 2006 Cabernet Franc and a 2006 Syrah.
Lew made no bones about it, the Cabernet Franc is his most favorite Pend O’Reille Winery wine. In fact, after talking with him a bit more, it sounds like it could be his all time favorite wine. Subtle he wasn’t! I personally enjoyed the Cabernet Franc more than the Syrah, as well, though the Syrah was also very good. It had licorice on the nose and some soft tannins. The Cabernet Franc, however, was smokey, dirty and earthy; just a lot of terrior. It also had hints of raspberry on the nose. Delicious!
Time for a treat?
Then we were treated to a surprise! Stephen had brought down from Sandpoint (only 20 miles North of Athol) his 2007 Meyer 100% Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which only 97 cases were produced. Wow! Although very young, this wine packed a punch. Extremely structured with raspberries and blueberries on the nose and very smooth. I rated this as the best wine of the evening. Of course, it also had the highest price tag of the evening at $35 a bottle but it will be well worth it after laying it down for a few years.
The evening ended with a raspberry parfait with chocolate hearts paired with a Port styled Oui! which is made from Syrah. After tasting the three big boys this Port styled wine seemed to lack the nose and taste. It paired well with the parfait, especially the chocolate.
Pend d’Oreille has been around since 1995 and gets almost all of their grapes from Eastern Washington. They have worked out exclusive relationships with the vineyards so that there will be no quality control issues. Stephen learned about winemaking from Burgandy, France, which is reflected in his terrior driven wines.
One thing I love about Pend d’Oreille Winery, besides their quality wine, is their “Think Green, Drink Red” self coined slogan which refers to their value priced Red Blend Bistro Rouge re-fill program. When you buy a magnum of their wonderful red table wine, Bistro Rouge for $25 (which is a value right off the bat!), then finish it, just wash it out with hot, HOT water, dry it VERY well and bring it back into their tasting room where they will fill it back up for only $16!
Their tasting room, which is right there at the winery in Sandpoint, was named one of the 10 Great Pacific Northwest Tasting Rooms by Wine Press Northwest in their Summer 2010 edition of their magazine. Their tasting room also boasts a wonderful Lifestyle Store which I visited last Christmas for some of Shelley’s Christmas gifts.
If you’re ever in Sandpoint, Idaho, be sure to visit Pend d’Oreille Winery. If you make it there, you likely drove right through Athol, Idaho, so you might as well stay at the Log Spirit Bed and Breakfast as well. Tell them Phil sent you!
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As always, thank you for reading and remember, bottoms UP!