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Fud News May 5, 2004

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A Mentor Among the Vines

Ste. Chapelle Winery presents the fourth of its seven wine education classes on Sunday, April 16 at 1 p.m. Cork coach Walt Varnes has already covered Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot wines in the first three classes held by the Caldwell vineyard, and will highlight Gewürztraminer wines in the May class. For a $20 admission, aspiring scholars will sniff, sip and spit not only Ste. Chapelle's own dry Gewürtz, but also five others from wineries ranging from California to New York. "We'll talk about a little of everything: wine tasting in general, what the label will tell you about the wine and its alcohol content, and do a lot of question and answer," explains Varnes. In addition to pouring and pontificating about the wines themselves, cooks from Ste. Chapelle will stage a cooking demonstration of what Varnes labels a "light and very easy" dish appropriate to serve with a Gewürztraminer. Ste. Chapelle's classes continue in June with a feature of Sauvignon Blanc wines, in August with Rieslings, and finish in September with Syrah wines.

Pre-registration is required. Ste. Chapelle is located at 19348 Lowell Rd. in Caldwell. Ring 453-7843 or go to www.stechapelle.com to reserve a spot or get directions.

Beans and Bindings in Meridian

One of the largest and most unique coffeehouses ever to jolt Idaho's delicate receptors is set to open on May 10. All 29,000 square feet of The Library Coffeehouse, located squarely in downtown Meridian, will be dedicated to owner and operator Craig Rittenhouse's dual passions of high quality hardback books and freshly roasted small batch coffees. "We're directly importing beans from South America, Africa and Hawaii, and then blending them ourselves—a hobby that I took up many years ago," Rittenhouse explains. "What is unique about it is that we're going to be using the beans in the same week we roast them. This is very different from large-batch roasters, because after just a week the flavor of their coffee beans drops by about 40 percent. Fresh, small batch coffee like ours is really a totally different experience." In addition to coffee, The Library will offer pastries, sandwiches, ice cream and rare teas.

Bookshelves abound throughout the five large rooms of the renovated 1930s house inhabited by Rittenhouse's shop, offering reclining sippers a chance to peruse titles from the owner's personal collection. "A library has to have books, and I personally own over 3,000 hardbacks, a lot of which are first editions," Rittenhouse explains. "The books are there just for people to be able to go from one shelf that might say travel, to another that might say biographies, and just root through them and pull anything that looks interesting off the shelf. Then you can put your feet up in front of the fire and enjoy reading part of a good book while you're there. You can even put a bookmark in it when you leave, because we have bookmarks."

The Library Coffeehouse will also feature work for sale by local artists, live music on weekends and a ten-person conference room for utilization by local businesses and schools. According to Rittenhouse, "It's really a gathering place that is cleverly disguised as a coffeehouse—something that Meridian has really been looking for."

The Library Coffeehouse, 141 E. Carlton Ave, M-Th: 6 a.m.-9 p.m.; F-Sa: 6-11 p.m.; Su: 8 a.m-2 p.m. www.librarycoffeehouse.com.