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.
Shoshone Golf and Tennis Club?s nine-hole course tunnels through the pine-covered peak of Gold Run Mountain for 3,176 scenic yards. The grassy playground traces its roots to a three-hole course built at the mountain?s base in 1922?a rough-and-tumble club layout that consisted of sand greens and a clubhouse built with donated lumber and since-extinct mining trolls. In the 1970s, the course ascended to the mountaintop after a land trade and expanded to its current nine-hole layout, where golfers have been sending drives down tree-lined fairways and lobbing approaches over dramatic elevation changes ever since. A rustic clubhouse offers a fully stocked pro shop and a cocktail lounge where guests can take in views of the Silver Valley and stir mixed drinks with retired golf tees.
Course at a Glance:
* 9-hole, par 36 course
* Length of 3,176 yards from the farthest tees
* Two tee options
With the goal of finding a vocal complement to the beauty of Lake Coeur d'Alene, a group of classical music lovers created a company they called Opera Plus in 2000. While the organization is now known as Opera Coeur d'Alene, it still treats eyes and ears to waterside Opera on the Lake performances. Those annual serenades to resident plesiosaurs are supplemented with classic operas by the likes of Verdi and Bizet, and youth-aimed works such as Little Red Riding Hood and The Toy Shop. Whether attendees are young or young-at-heart, Opera Coeur d'Alene believes that opera is an art for everyone, and their varied seasons ensure the inland Northwest doesn't miss out.
Boasting more than 1,600 acres of terrain dusted by 300 inches of annual snowfall, Silver Mountain Resort is a secluded mecca for powder punishers tucked into the northern Idaho panhandle. Spread between two peaks, Silver Mountain's 73 trails offer up fresh fairways for crisp, white velocity and senseless slaloming, with a nearly 2,200-foot vertical drop on its north-facing slopes. Set aside from their traditional trails, gladed areas make it possible to find pristine tracks of untouched powder as well as yeti singles bars. Skiers begin and end each day with a relaxing gondola lift ride from base village up to the slopes, passing over the village of Wardner during the three-mile ride to the middle of Kellogg Peak.
Budding snow bunnies can take advantage of Silver Mountain's hour and a half of group instruction, where they will practice shaping their skis into pizza slices and their hearts into garlic knots.
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.