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  • First Friday

A Saturday Afternoon With Spokane Wine

“What do you wanna do?”

“I dunno, what do you wanna do?”

How familiar is this conversation to you? Left to our own devices we seem to get consumed with routine and sucked up into the weekend duties of tending to the house, the children, the yard, and the piles and piles of laundry. This weekend you have permission to procrastinate on all those things. To help you out, here is a fun Saturday afternoon adventure. Now you have no excuse. “What do you wanna do?” “How ‘bout a Saturday Spokane Wine Magazine adventure!”

Morning

Good morning! The sun is shining and you are ready to go. It’s recommended that you get this adventure started around 11AM. First things first, you need sustenance AND you need coffee. Get yourself cleaned up, grab a few water bottles and head out the door to Taste Café & Gourmet to Go at 180 S. Howard. Don’t forget your quarters. The parking police are in full force on Saturday. Taste Café serves brunch from 8AM – 2PM. Since you only had granola and yogurt for breakfast, you’re bound to be hungry for Ranchos Huevos, a very berry waffle or if you’re lucky some English Crumpets. Don’t forget the jolt of DOMA coffee and enjoy. Since you are relaxing for the day, it is highly recommended that you do it right and order a mimosa. It is the acceptable alcoholic beverage to consume before noon (that and Bloody Mary, but let’s be civilized). Before you leave, grab a cookie or two (or three) to go!

Afternoon

Since it’s always great to go for a little walk after you eat, you’re going to take a quick stroll (.41 miles) to Robert Karl Cellars. Since you’re walking you can head East on 2nd Ave for four blocks then North on McClellan St for one block then turn the corner and you’ll be at Robert Karl. This high quality boutique winery is housed in an old horse drawn firehouse. If you’re lucky you may see some winemaking magic from Joe. If you’re nice Rebecca will take you on the grand tour. There is a small $5 tasting fee that is refundable with the purchase of a bottle. Their wine has received some high praise from those magazine wine guys lately. You’ll be lucky if you only leave with one bottle. As you taste through the wine, keep your eye out for the Claret. This beautiful Bordeaux style blend will beckon you back again and again. Rebecca is known to be chatty, so by now, it’s probably close to 1PM and you’re ready for the next stop.

Right across the street from Robert Karl is a cozy little furniture store called 1900. Have a little fun and do some window shopping. Remember you left your car about ½ mile away so don’t buy anything too big.

After you get to your car, take a quick ride West and park somewhere on Madison, Jefferson, or Adams (preferably between First and Second Ave). You’ll be able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon with quick walks.

It’s probably 1:15-1:30 and you shouldn’t be feeling too hungry. The next stop will be at Barrister Winery. Barrister is on Railroad Ave. “Where,” you say? It’s a small little road between First and Second on Jefferson that runs along the railroad bridge. You’ll feel transported back in time to the days of an old secret ‘speakeasy’ as you enter down the alley through the back. Barrister is in an historic building that will impress you the moment walk in. The art adorned brick walls and wood plank floors transport you back to a time when life was little simpler. Barrister makes some high quality white and red wine. A small $5 tasting fee is refundable with purchase. You’ll enjoy the bone dry Riesling and the Cabernet Franc is always a big hit. Saturday can be a busy tasting day but if you are lucky and they’re slow, ask Greg if he has time to take you on a tour of the barrel room!

By now the clock is ticking close to 2:30 and that sound is probably your stomach letting you know it needs a little food. Pop through the alley (going West) two blocks to Cedar. Go North one block and you’ll see a fantastic spot for a quick bite…The Rocket Bakery (Cedar and First). Get your fill on salad, soup, pastries, pasta and more. When you’re ready, go next door to your next stop.

Welcome to Whitestone Winery, 111 S. Cedar. Whitestone is Spokane’s only 100% Estate winery (means all the wine is made from fruit they grow). Michael Haig and family have vineyards on the shores of Lake Roosevelt. The Spokane tasting room gives you opportunity to taste their wine without having to make the trek to Wilbur, WA. Relax, sip through their Merlot, Cab Franc, Cab Sauv, and Meritage. There is no rush, the laundry will be there tomorrow.

Since many of you reading this are not professional wine tasters, it may be an important time to remind you to drink lots of water, and there is no need to sample everything or finish what’s in your glass. It is actually normal practice to taste and spit. Don’t be shy…even a Llama can do it.

A great new winery as opened their doors. They happen to be on their way to our final destination of the night. Take Second Ave East to Stevens and then turn South. Go up to Seventh Avenue and go East. Here is where it gets tricky. Overbluff Cellars is just South of you on Washington (a one way street). Take a left and they will be immediately on the left at 620 S. Washington. If you miss their driveway, there is a parking lot across the street on 6th that you can park in. John Caudill will be there to greet you. Taste through their Viognier and a bevy of Cabernet based wines. Overbluff may be new to the Spokane wine scene, but their wines show a lot of maturity. They are open until 5pm.

At your final stop of the night, you can stay as long as you want…or until they kick you out. Get in the car and head south on Stevens all the way up to 43rd. The road will curve and swerve as you pass the hospitals and then Manito Park. Since you’re not in a hurry, feel free to take a detour to enjoy the duck pond, Japanese Gardens, or the award winning Rose Gardens.  When you’re ready, cruise to 726 E 43rd Ave (on the corner of High Drive and 43rd, pretty darn close to the Manito Golf Club). Here you’ll find a quirky little gas station / corner store / wine shop / live music venue.

You have arrived at The Rocket Market, fuel for humans. Saturday’s are a busy day here. If you’ve arrived in time, Matt will gladly walk you through their free sampling of wine (from 4-6pm). If you’re a little late, don’t worry, live music is starting at 7pm (during the summer months). I highly recommend you check out their deli food, pick out a fine bottle of wine, grab some hummus and pita bread, pick up some fresh organic fruit and then make your way to the checkout counter. There is so much good stuff, it’s a good thing there are two of you to carry it all. Now that you’re ready to checkout, look at all the amazing goodies in the case. Don’t they look absolutely divine? Since you are enjoying yourself and relaxing, it’s okay to add a slice of cake to the menu.

Grab all of your bounty and pick a table outside and get ready to enjoy the wine, food and good music. Once you’ve had your fill of everything you can call it a day. The kids will be waiting. The laundry will still be there. The chores didn’t do themselves, but YOU took a break and explored a Saturday in Spokane wine. Aren’t you glad you did?

*Remember to drink responsibly and always use a designated driver

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