This week's list of new and returning products follows a few words about Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks
Preamble by Steve Siciliano
If you fly into Jackson Hole, Wyoming and are looking to drive into Idaho to fish on the legendary Snake River the shortest route is through the Teton Pass. The highest point of the pass is 8,431 feet above sea level and the series of switchbacks, the ten percent grade and the numerous signs warning about the potential of rock slides was a bit disconcerting to a couple of flatlanders from Michigan. "Have you driven through the pass before?" the young man asked when we picked up the rental car on the outskirts of Jackson. We shook our heads to indicate the negative.
"Don't ride the brakes on the way down," he warned, a slight smile forming beneath a blonde wisp of a mustache, "or you'll burn em up."
We had intended to head back over the pass after our five day stay in the Teton Valley and then take US 191 up from the ultra busy tourist town of Jackson to our motel in the vicinity of the Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. We scrapped that plan and opted to take the much longer but decidedly less stressful route north through Idaho, then west on to Montana and finally south through the western part of Yellowstone to our digs for the next three days--the Jackson Lake Lodge.
The historic lodge (it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003) was completed in 1955, in large part with the support of noted philanthropist and conservationist John D. Rockefeller Jr. It is owned by the National Park Service and is managed by the Grand Teton Lodge Company. Our comfortable room with an outside seating area was in one of the buildings towards the back of the property but the star of the show is the main lodge designed by architect Gilbert Stanley Underwood. Guests can enjoy a meal in the massive dining room or have a drink in the bar while gazing out the huge windows at the majestic Tetons.
The restaurant was operating at limited capacity due to Covid restrictions but on our first night we were lucky enough to snag one of the window tables. Both elk and bison were on the menu and since I already had the former I opted for the latter. As I dined on the gamey and a bit tough and stringy steak I silently cursed the government which encouraged the indiscriminate slaughter of tens of millions of the majestic animals in the late 19th century in an attempt to hasten the decline of the indigenous plains Indians. By 1889 the estimated population of American bison was less than 1,100 animals.
The next day we made the short drive up to Yellowstone. We did most of our sightseeing from the car, getting out only to ooh and ahh at the impressive Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. As we approached Hayden Valley the traffic had slowed to a crawl due to the fact that a bison was ambling down the middle of the road. I like to imagine that if the massive beast had hands rather than hoofs it would have reared up and showed the picture taking sightseers its middle finger.
Featured Wines of the Week
Kermit Lynch Blends, 2018, Vin De Pays De Vaucluse, France, $16.99/750ml-56% Grenache, 21% Syrah, 8% Mourvèdre, 7% Carignan, 7% Cinsault, 1% Marselan. Explosive red fruit is gracefully harnessed by a clay and limestone mineral structure, notes of violet, licorice, and garrigue. So delightfully drinkable, you’ll wonder where the rest of the bottle went. (Source)
Art Of Earth, 2019, Montepulciano D'Abruzzo, Italy, $11.99/750ml- Dark dusty violet color. This wine showcases aromas and flavors of marinated blackberry leaf, fountain pen ink, herbs de Provence, and green peppercorn. It has a slightly chewy yet crisp and fruity finish and is great for rustic Italian meals. (