Story by Nicole Christensen Pettinger, Photography by Pete Grady
A short drive down historic Warm Springs to the bottom of Table Rock, an adventure of an afternoon awaits. June in all of her splendor showers us in rays of sunshine warming our skin and face, scents of summer flora, and Savor Idaho. In partnership with the strength of the Idaho Wine Commission, and the beauty of the Idaho Botanical Garden, Idaho’s premier wine and food event will envelope the grounds for the seventh year on Sunday, June 14, 2015 from 2-6 pm. Savor Idaho features premier local restaurants and exceptional wine tastings, from Idaho vines.
Parking and walking up to the regal black wrought iron gates, the pebbles underfoot make a swishing sound, anticipation builds as the lavish garden comes into view. For the event, large white tents dollop the spread of the enormous green lawn, and the sandstone gazebo endearingly invites one in. The various textured pathways wind and guarantee full sensory experience as the soul embarks curiously down every twist and turn.
Sara Dirks of the Wine Commission, “I am very excited about the garden layout, we will be sharing the English Garden more. My favorite thing is how it evolves and showcases the wineries. June is “Idaho Wine Month” and it is great to see all of the wineries behind the movement. What we find successful is that the wineries know they are supported by us, and that they enjoy it. My vision is to see Savor Idaho have balance with the industry as a whole. There are are more than fifty wineries now in Idaho, I’d like to see more planting of grapes.”
There are fifteen 85+ point ratings of Idaho wines in the May 2015 issue of Wine Enthusiast, over 26 of the 50 Idaho wineries participating on this lovely Sunday. “Coiled” has produced a brilliant sparkling and released it in December. Affectionately named, “Rizza is available for purchase through our tasting room. The yield produced just shy of 4000 bottles,” states the graciously energetic, Business Manager, Kelly Marx. It is a symphonic washing on the palate.
In addition to the winery, six exhibitors and 12 restaurants, specialists will create taste-size portions to enjoy. “Eat more cheese! The only thing better than more cheese is more cheese!”, exclaims the spunky owner of Ballard Cheese, Stacy Ballard. “Steve and I come down for Saturday Market, our son Travis is the cheesemaker.” Based in Gooding, Idaho Ballard produces award-winning cheeses, and their Idaho Greek grilling cheese, Halloumi is the best. “We use a lot of their cheese, and the halloumi is completely amazing” according to CIA Chef Jered Couch, owner of The Dish.
In reference to the balance of vision, long-standing Hells Canyon and Zhoo Zhoo wines are releasing new wines soon: 2010 Claret, their last in 2006 a triple gold medal winner, along with their first dessert wine called Sweetheart. It is a late harvest style Chardonnay. “We work hard but love entertaining, throwing parties, playing games, recreating, and laughing together,” Jocelyn and Hadley of Zhoo Zhoo. Mark your calendar for Savor Idaho, you don’t want to miss it!