ADVERTISING: Advertorial — GEORGE BALLING: Our winter schedule

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Now that the holidays have concluded it’s time to look forward to our winter (and even a bit of our spring) schedule for winemaker dinners and shop tastings. For those of you who have attended our dinners with our wonderful partners at Fleur de Sel in Post Falls, you know what a treat they are. For those who have not yet had the chance to join us, now is your chance! Remember to sign up early as the dinner will typically sell out within 48 hours of when the invite goes out to our mailing list.

Every January we start the season with a dinner centered around wines that we like to drink from France, and based on both attendance and the orders you, our customers, are fond of the French selections as well. The big advantage to this dinner is that we are unconstrained by one winery or winemaker and can pick from a broad array of wines. This year the January dinner will be held on Thursday the 17th at 6 p.m. at Fleur de Sel in Post Falls like all our dinners are now.

All of our winemaker dinners and tastings are designed to be educational as well as delicious! The dinner on the 17th though, is even more so. The best way to understand the wines from Europe is to have them with the food that is from the same region or country. This single fact is what makes the January date our most popular, as Chef and co-owner Laurent Zirotti can tap his French heritage for some of the most spectacular food and pairings to be found. There are still a couple of spots left for this seasonal highlight, so sign up now.

We have long looked forward to hosting Erath Cellars from Oregon for a winemaker dinner and tasting. Frankly though, it is tough to structure a dinner around the typical Oregon portfolio. Even though the Erath wines are wonderful, the varietal selection is limited to Pinot Noir and the white wines they superbly craft. To pull this one off we talked Serge LaVille and Spring Valley Winery to join us the same night! Spring Valley’s offerings are Bordeaux centric. Together with Erath, we will have an epic lineup of Northwest wines with their roots firmly planted in Bordeaux and Burgundy.

We departed from our normal Wednesday and Thursday schedule to accommodate the start of restaurant week, so the winemaker dinner will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 20 and the shop tasting on Thursday, Feb. 21.

In March, we are very excited that owner winemaker Justin Wiley of VaPiano will be joining us. We have been working on getting VaPiano in town ever since we tried the wines several years ago. His Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc are both standouts to me and the remainder of his Washington portfolio should not be missed either. VaPiano is a proud, small winery offering a lineup of great varietal specific wines at more than fair prices that are simply delicious and unmanipulated. The winemaker dinner will be on March 14 and the shop tasting on Friday, March 15.

April remains open for the moment but we have booked and are excited to welcome Morgan Winery from the Central Coast of California to town on May 16 and 17. We have always worked to bring the biggest names in winemaking to town for our customers to enjoy, spanning beyond the Northwest to California and even Europe, and we certainly have done that with Morgan. Offering a wide array of wines that encompass Bordeaux and Rhone varietals, as well as Pinot Noir, the wines are elegant, well-made and wonderful.

We will be getting our April and June dates posted to our website (www.thedinnerpartyshop.com) as soon as we have them confirmed, so check there for updates. If you would like to attend any of our events you can call us here at the shop 208-765-5653, or email us at George@thedinnerpartyshop.com. We hope to see you at these fun and tasty events!

• • •

George Balling is co-owner with his wife, Mary Lancaster, of the dinner party, a wine and gift shop in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. The dinner party has won the award for best wine shop in North Idaho twice, including for 2018. George is also published in several other publications around the country. After working in wineries in California and judging many wine competitions, he moved to Coeur d’Alene with Mary more than 10 years ago to open the shop. You can also follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/#!/dinnerpartyshop.

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