Monday, September 5, 2011

A visit to Periple winery

A pretty display of Periple wines
Photo by Meg McKenzie
Angie Reff's cavernous space (which backs onto Cinder's cavernous space in a warehouse on E. 44th Street in the Garden City suburb of Boise) actually has a pretty intimate feel. She's got twinkling fairy lights illuminating a surprisingly intimate-feeling little tasting room space that you're drawn to when you first come in. Though not as grand and modern as Cinder, it beckons you with its foosball table, wine-barrel tables and couches. And then there's Angie herself, an unprepossessing lady who seems more like a soccer mom than a winemaker.

Actually, she IS a soccer mom (to three boys). But Angie's story also attests to her dedication to the craft: A U of I microbiology grad, she apprenticed with some major California players, including Alexander Valley Vineyard and Marcassin Wine Co., where she became assistant winemaker.

Angie Reff sells wine to some customers
Photo by Meg McKenzie
For the past four or five years, Angie's been crafting her Periple wines out of grapes she sources from California, Oregon and Washington -- sort of the flip side to Coiled's Leslie Preston, who sources HER grapes from Idaho but makes her wine in California! Not sure I understand the reasoning behind Angie's not using Idaho grapes. But ... whatever.

I tasted her Tuesday Night white ($16), which is a blend of Washington Chardonnay and Riesling grapes, and very smooth. Her Russian River Pinot is made in California, tucked in a barrel and then bottled and distributed in Idaho. Angie's first vintage was in 2007, and she started selling her Periple (a French word that means "odyssey") wines in '09. Her reds are in the $30-$40 range, and thus not in this wordsmith's budget, and are truly boutique (less than a thousand cases of each vintage).
Bus tours help pay the bills
Photo by Meg McKenzie

Like most other area wineries, Periple has a wine club (those are going to be the topic of a whole separate post very soon -- it's a lot of research, and I'm only half done) that lets the winemaker send you new releases at a discount and gives savings on cases and entree to special wine events. Periple wines are also sold at Twig's Cellar, a cute little wine bar on Bannock Street in downtown Boise, and at Bown Crossing green market some Sundays. Her wine will also be featured at the upcoming Eagle Food & Wine festival.

I could have stood chatting with Angie under her twinkling lights all day, it was that pleasant and comfortable. Back outside, I couldn't believe I was still in the wilds of Garden City.

Foosball table's a nice touch
Photo by Meg McKenzie
Periple Wines
107 1/2 E. 44th St.
Garden City, ID 83714
(208) 941-5641;

Owner/winemaker: Angie Reff

☻☻☻ I'm glad there's a winemaker as talented and down-to-earth yet savvy as Angie Reff producing quality wines in the Boise area, and making it happen close to downtown. Her space is inviting and appealing. I just wish she'd give those excellent Caldwell grapes another shot and produce a Snake River Valley vintage that gives a nod (and props) to her new hometown.

My ratings go from one grape (poor) to five (excellent) and are based on accessibility, ambiance, overall experience and, of course, the wines.

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