Maiden Missoula: The Maiden Voyage!

By LEAH LEWIS

I was so flattered to be asked to begin this new blog “Maiden Missoula,” on awesome Make it Missoula! I’m a Missoula maid and I’ll be blogging about some of my favorite Missoula-made products that my friends and neighbors create, right here in my hometown.

I thought of golf bags from Sun Mountain Sports, the delectable Huckleberry Chocolates from the Huckleberry People, tasty brews from our award winning beer meisters, adorable kids’ clothes from Dig This Chic, bread from Le Petit Outre, coffee roasted by Black Coffee, Lifeline cheese, upcycled goods from ReTread, and….Ten Spoon Wine. I’ll have plenty of time to get to my favorite local producers but for my first endeavor, I decided to share my new love of our local winery, Ten Spoon.

It started when my mother’s favorite cousin and her fabulous husband came for a ski vacation to Montana this winter. They hail from Duluth, Minnesota. I know. We feel bad for them, too.

The last time they were here for a visit was years ago for my wedding. The week after my wedding, my family headed up north my husband’s hometown of Kalispell. We had an afternoon at my in-law’s cabin in Bigfork.

Cherry Central.

I live for cherry season. I love Flathead cherries. We have friends who own a fabulous orchard on the shore of Flathead Lake and every summer I need my fix. I stop by the Kuntz’s farm and eat cherries until my teeth are stained red. To me, summer doesn’t begin until the cherry stands are open.

And in the middle of this long, cold winter I found Ten Spoon Vineyard’s Flathead Cherry Dry wine. This could be a bottle of summer. I sent the relatives home with a bottle, for memory’s sake, and I stuck one in my wine rack.

I have been a little leery of “fruit wine” if it’s not from grapes. I wasn’t even sure how to serve it. Dessert wine? That’s what I assumed.  So I immediately went to the Ten Spoon Facebook page. I posted that I wasn’t sure to serve it chilled or room temp.

Fortunately, Connie from the vineyard replied in the most polite way that the Flathead Cherry was in fact a fine dinner wine, to be served at room temp… Really? Cherry wine for DINNER? And, yeah – it was fantastic! Just enough sweetness, just enough “real” wine taste. This was not my father-in-law’s cherry wine that he made in his garage.

I had a glass with dinner. (Crock pot ribs. So Minnesota gourmet!) Then, after the kiddos were tucked in, I poured a BIG glass and slid into a luxurious bubble bath and savored every sip of a truly fine red wine with a nostalgic overtone of my beloved Flathead cherries. I relaxed and enjoyed a few sips.

And then, my wonderful children crept out of bed and burst in to my bath time. To make sure I wasn’t drowning, of course.

Watch for Leah’s weekly Maiden Missoula reviews. Feel free to comment below, or drop her a line at leah@montanaradio.com and let her know what YOU make in Missoula!

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Leah Lewis is living the dream on Missoula’s Northside with her handsome and handy husband Mark, daughters Zoe and Mila, two dogs and a cat.  She enjoys making things on her sewing machine, with her knitting needles and in her kitchen.  You can listen to her play today’s pop music every day on Fresh 104.5 FM, or listen to her podcast about hundred or more year old pop music on her classical music podcast at www.downbeatdownlow.com with Darko Butorac from the Missoula Symphony.  You might catch Leah and her family relaxing in their backyard, cheering on the Missoula Osprey or rooting for the Lady Griz on any givenweekend.