Last week my grandma Edith passed away at the very healthy age of 97. A wonderful, kind, sweet lady, who by the way was a complete “tea-totaler” her entire life. Her funeral last Friday was a fantastic celebration of her life. I was lucky enough to get things rearranged in my schedule so that I could make it to my home town of Caldwell Idaho for grandma’s funeral. I got to spend time with cousins, uncles, and other friends and family that I hadn’t seen in 30 years.
Unlike my grandma, I am not a “tea-totaler”. I believe that my purpose here on earth is to drink enough wine for all those who don’t. I probably won’t live as long as her, but that’s ok with me.
So, in celebration of getting together for the family my brothers and I went out to dinner in one of my favorite restaurants in the northwest. A little place in downtown Nampa called Brick 29 Bistro.
I know that I’ve raved about this place in the past, so I’m not going to bore you with the details of the fantastic meal, or regale you with the great entertainment that they offered even on a quiet Thursday evening. All I’ll say about the place is that if you find yourself in Nampa and in need of great food and you choose to eat at Olive Garden instead of Brick 29 you are never allowed to read my article again!
Part of the fun that I have when going out of town is getting to sample whatever is local. This trip was no different.
The first thing that my brother Chris and I did was to grab the wine list from our waitress. What always amazes me is that wherever you go there are nationally known wines like Silver Oak on the list. If a place doesn’t offer them they are probably not going to sell to the snobs. My love, however, is getting to find new treasures.
First we ordered the Baer 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite possibly the last bottle of this wine not only at this establishment, but possibly anywhere. After a little research later I found out that this wine was produced by the late Lance Baer, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 39.
As expected, the wine was very tight initially. You would be too if you were stuck in a bottle for that long. But, with some swirling the wine grew softer and much more flavorful. Notes of black cherry, blueberries, leather and intense pickling spices were throughout this wine. Paired with my Eggplant Napoleon, this wine was full and fantastic.
The next bottle we chose was the Huston Vineyards 2008 Red Blend. Huston Vineyards is located off of Chicken Dinner road just outside of Caldwell near a tiny town called Huston. Greg and Mary Angler offer only a few select wines, but the ones they do offer are fantastic.
The 2008 Red Blend was much mellower than the previous wine, and much more a fine Bordeaux blend. With a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Syrah this wine offered a nose and flavors of fresh berries, cocoa, and a finish that was silky and rich. We took this bottle home with us and finished it late in the evening as we remembered our times with Grandma.
As you travel, no matter what the reason, I challenge you to reach out of your comfort zone and try a local wine or two.