In a proper tasting, wine must be held up to the light to gauge its color, tossed on a cat's back to judge its acidity, and sipped through a crazy straw to annoy the host. Become the toast of any tasting with today's Groupon: for $10, you get a wine tasting (a $6 value) and a $16 credit toward wine purchases at Coeur d'Alene Cellars in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (a $22 total value).
Enjoy a top-flight tipple with six samples of wines crafted with fruits from the verdant valleys of eastern Washington by the in-house vintners at Coeur d'Alene Cellars, which Wine Press Northwest named 2010 Idaho Winery of the Year. Wines include the 2006 Envy, which has hints of Cajun spices and cherry ($32/bottle), and the 2006 Alder Ridge syrah, which combines rich flavors and a smooth mouth-feel better than a crushed-velvet popsicle ($40/bottle). Check out the full selection of vintages for more choices. After the wine tasting in Coeur d'Alene Cellars' cozy tasting room, fermented-grape enthusiasts can purchase what they've tried with a $16 credit or peruse a rotating stock of reds, whites, and blends while acquainting themselves with the latest trends in cork whittling.
Coeur d’Alene Cellars
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.