If one word had to describe Coeur d’Alene Cellars’ attitude toward winemaking, it would probably be "meticulous." During each stage of creation, from vineyard selection and harvest to bottling, winemakers carefully supervise and adjust conditions to suit their visions. They hand-harvest fruit from their eastern Washington vineyards only on days that fit specific temperature conditions. Between pickings, the vines are pruned for low yields that concentrate flavor and quality. And their syrah and viognier grapes are both hand-sorted the night of harvest before they’re pressed and fermented.
That process is carefully controlled as well. Syrah blends first ferment in open-top vessels, allowing for closer management of color and tannins. Only later do they age inside French and American oak barrels, like former daredevils bent on reliving their trip over Niagara Falls. Viognier blends, on the other hand, spend both fermentation and aging periods in small oak barrels.
The resulting well-balanced wines can claim myriad accolades from publications such as Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Their 2004 Sarah’s cuvée viognier, for instance, earned 89 points from Wine Enthusiast, which praised its "good balance" of "peach, apricot, sour lemon candy and even a bit of cinnamon." Current vintages include the 2007 Alder Ridge Vineyard syrah, whose smooth body supports flavors of berries, vanilla, and cinnamon that conclude in a lingering finish.
These and other wines are poured at Coeur d'Alene's onsite wine bar, Barrel Room No. 6. Inside, sleek red walls help create an upscale vibe. Glasses perch beneath pendant lighting on the bar or glitter on top of old wine barrels repurposed as tables. As customers sip, knowledgeable wait staff can suggest ways to bring out the wines' subtle flavors by nibbling aromatic cheese pairings or the hem of a neighbor’s freshly laundered shirt.
From its roost beside the lake of the same name, The Coeur d'Alene Resort towers over more than just water. It also dominates the skyline and presents views of the region's evergreen-coated mountains and valleys. Although the AAA Four Diamond award-winning resort?s rooms sate guests? needs for creature comforts with down pillows, cotton robes, and pillow-top mattresses, the surrounding area?s activities lure them outside. During the warm seasons, lake cruises take passengers on quick tours and kayak rentals let them see the waterways at their own paces. Guided bike tours and hikes explore the natural beauty of the mountainous surroundings, and snowshoes and snowmobiles conquer icier paths.
Nearby, the golf course, which earned the relaxation haven a spot on Golf Digest?s 2011 list of the 75 Best Golf Resorts in the United States and Canada, challenges all skill levels. After winding along the lakeshore, a forested ridge, rolling woodlands, and a revitalized trout stream, it raises eyebrows with its 14th hole. There, players have to land their shots on an island green?150 yards from the shore and only accessible by boat or catapult.
An onsite spa fuels days of relaxation with treatments that incorporate lake algae as well as the scents of cedar and spruce for distinctively local interpretations of familiar services. Numerous dining options also surround the grounds, letting guests sample everything from the Northwest-inspired fine dining of Beverly's to the family-style barbecue and fish tacos of Beachouse Bar & Grill.
A locally owned fitness destination for 30 years, Peak Health & Wellness provides patrons with three facilities as spacious and well-maintained as gyms owned by a corporate entity, but as personalized as a family business. Guests walk into any location to find large workout floors stocked with rows of cardio and strength equipment, separate group-aerobics studios, and indoor courts for playing tennis, squash, basketball, and pretend jury duty. The personable staff of certified trainers lead 40 distinct fitness programs including group classes of Insane-X, X-Fit, and spin, while onsite childcare centers watch over the little ones as parents work out. An indoor pool is host to a number of different classes, and to solve the other side of the health and wellness equation, each locale hosts various nutrition programs and seminars.
Joe Roope, Sr., and his son have grown Castaway Fly Fishing Shop into an full-service fly-fishing shop abounding in guided trips, classes, and high-end tackle from the likes of Loop Tackle Design and Action Optics by Smith. They proudly carry locally tied flies, offsetting a selection of fly-tying materials to accompany single- and double-hand rods. Though hunkered down in scenic Coeur d'Alene, they lead fly-fishing trips in a number of area waterways, shepherding groups through Idaho, Montana, and Washington during guided jaunts down rivers such as the Blackfoot, Clark Fork, and Upper Columbia. They share their passion for perpetuating the wild-trout fisheries of the Inland Northwest in each of their classes, advocating responsible catch, release, and contract-signing techniques whenever dealing with fish.
Staffers at Vacation Sports Rentals loan boats, paddleboards, and floatation devices to aqueous adventurers to explore the pristine waterways of Lake Coeur d'Alene while soaking in its surrounding beaches and mountain views. Water vessels available for half- or full-day rental include the Larson Senza speedboat, 24-foot pontoon, and 2011 Sea-Doo waverunners. Four-, 8-, or 24-hour rentals facilitate water sports such as tubing and wakeboarding. In addition to the boats, Vacation Sports Rentals doles out wakeboards, skis, kneeboards, standup paddleboards, and tubes. Safety necessities such as life vests, paddles, and wetsuits keep athletes protected from injury and icky seaweed.
Kayak Coeur d'Alene has been shipping adventurers away from shore for 10 years in scenic northern Idaho, renting, retailing, and instructing on the finer operational points of kayaks and paddleboards. Spend a sun-soaked half-day on some of the most picturesque boating lakes in the country, such as Coeur d'Alene Lake, Lake Pend Oerille, Priest Lake, and Hayden Lake. Choose to cruise solo, or opt for the tandem-kayak rental and enjoy the day with a friend or hydrophobic frenemy whose weaknesses need to be carefully studied. Each kayak rental includes a personal floatation device, a paddle, a spray skirt, pump, and a paddle float. Standup-paddleboard rentals include a paddle and a magical fish that grants nautically-themed wishes.