Thursday, September 5, 2013

Shelley girl makes good

We have a spare hour so we drop into the tasting room of Mouvance Winery in Boise, and it turns out they grow the grapes in Oregon but haul the juice to Boise to finish fermentation so they can call it Idaho wine. No, really.

Samantha Telford of Shelley, Idaho.
To Judy Lassa and Lonnie Krawl, founders and owners of the boutique winery, I say nice going. I'd say something more uniquely Idahoan, but I don't think we have any sayings that really do the job. The tasting room is in front of the winery in Boise's Linen District, which I didn't know existed until we went to Mouvance. I can't find any evidence that this little six-block area was ever a hub for all things linen, but it is home of the Linen Building (formerly the business place of American Laundry), which is now an events center. Kudos to whoever came up with the name Linen District (much better than, say, the Laundry Neighborhood).

The LD (you know, Linen District) is also blessed by the Modern Hotel, a made-over Travelodge that is said to have a fantastic bar. We haven't tried it yet, as we have a hard time getting past the martinis at Chandler's (see my brief post on the Ten-Minute Martini) when we're in Boise.

Apropos of nothing, Mouvance means "circle of influence" in French, though it probably has a deeper interpretation than that when spoken in actual French. Did I mention we stopped in there to taste the wine?

As it happens, the very nice young lady doing the pouring is from Shelley, just south of Idaho Falls and home to the very fine weekly newspaper, the Shelley Pioneer, which my company owns and operates. Samantha Telford (that's the nice young lady behind the counter) is now a BSU business graduate who clearly has learned a great deal about Oregon's two great Pinots -- Pinot gris and Pinot noir. She was knowledgeable, friendly and even willing to have her photograph taken. Judy and Lonnie, she's a keeper.

Of course, Oregon Pinot noirs are now known the world over and have become shamefully over-priced. It's not uncommon for a commonplace Oregon Pinot noir to sell for 60 bucks a bottle or more, which is sick and wrong.

Well, I come to praise Pinot noir, not to bury it. Mouvance has managed to craft some very fine Pinot noir and hold the price point to something even 47 percenters can afford. I'm not going to go into a tasting essay, other than to say the two reserve Pinot noirs were really good and would stand up well against Oregon wines selling for twice as much and, dare I say, many over-rated Burgundys (where Pinot noir accounts for nearly all the red wine). The reserve Judith Marie Pinot noir went for $34 with a 10 percent discount for buying six bottles. The "entry-level" Mouvance Pinot sells for around 22 bucks and is a real bargain.

Kathleen and I both prefer dry whites, but the off-dry Mouvance Pinot gris was good enough that we included a couple of bottles in our purchase.

Oh, Samantha had the good sense to tell us that the alcohol content of the Pinot noirs approaches 15 percent, so go easy on the tasting if you're tooling around town. Perhaps you can prepare by booking a room at the Modern beforehand. Samantha advises that wine of that alcohol level is best served below room temperature and we think she's right -- shoot for 60 degrees or so, and don't bother decanting.

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