City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

A perfect pairing of fine wines and food

Chandlers dishes exclusively curated and paired with Telaya wines

Article by Ashley Loeb

Photography by Ashley Loeb

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Chandlers Steakhouse has been a downtown Boise staple for nearly 30 years. While it’s known for prime steaks and fine seafood, experiencing their winemaker dinner is an exceptional treat. It’s also a perfect testament to the Boise mentality that I’ve grown to love: locals supporting locals. Not only do the consumers of the community support local with pride, but local businesses are showing support for one another by using and promoting each other through collaborations like this magical experience. This experience offers a unique opportunity to taste dishes exclusively curated for this dinner and to be paired with specific wines provided by the winemaker. On this particular occasion, Telaya Wine Co. owners Earl and Carrie Sullivan provided wines for the chefs, inspiring the creative feat that transpired over the course of the evening.

Once granted a “golden ticket” to this event, there’s an expectation to experience fine dining and delicious local wine, and the anticipation builds as the menu is not released prior to arrival. As soon as we stepped across the threshold, my friend and I were greeted with impeccably dressed servers bearing shiny platters of hors d’oeuvres and a refreshing glass of rosé that paired well with the sweet and salty cantaloupe spheres showered with a fun crispy layer of turmeric rice and prosciutto. My friend’s face lit up at the sight and taste of the delicate Kumamoto Oysters, well-appointed with champagne mignonette and sturgeon caviar. After sampling sashimi-grade ahi tuna poke perched upon an ahi wonton, we were seated in a twilight-lit private dining space with white tablecloths and empty wine glasses waiting to be filled by Devin Zendel, the Chandlers wide-smiling wine director.

Down-to-earth and yet rightfully proud of his wines, Earl introduced himself and his wife before he and General Manager Dave Boyle described the food and wine journey on which we were about to embark. Over the course of the next two hours, an explosion of flavors ensued on our tongues. We began with summery, crisp white peaches atop perfectly dressed greens paired with a golden-colored, brightly acidic, and aromatic Viognier. Next came a bowl of rich and hearty French-style cassoulet filled with duck, white beans, chorizo pork belly, and guajillo peppers. This resonated feelings of warmth and comfort while paired with a smooth, berry, and spiced Telaya Syrah.

After a taste-bud cleansing intermezzo, we were served a luscious, grass-fed filet with potatoes bravas spiced with chipotle, alongside an inky Petit Verdot that blankets the mouth with velvety cherry cola flavor, while hints of blackberry jam intrigued my nose. Earl also shared some wine knowledge and presented his larger-than-life-sized bottle of wine, brought out especially for this evening to share with all of the guests. Who knew that larger wine bottle sizes were inspired by biblical names! Our last course of the evening embodied summer fruit at its best: A crisp, flaky tart filled with red cherries, elegantly topped with mascarpone and white chocolate mousse. My stomach thankfully saved room for dessert because there was not a bit left on my plate from the dish that washed down nicely with Telaya’s Snake River Valley Malbec. As delightful as the evening had been, an encore at the Chandlers bar to have a taste of their infamous chocolate soufflé was an indulgent yet incredibly satisfying way to end the evening!

And while the food and wine were clearly the stars of the show, it was the people behind the curtain that made this evening extra special. In addition to the outstanding service that Chandler provided, we were fortunate to sit with Dave, Chandler's general manager, and Earl, owner and winemaker, at our table as they also partook in the meal. I relished in the conversation with Earl, who was happy to share more about his journey that led him and his wife to their role today as talented Idaho winemakers. Like many, his tale did not start in the vineyard, but the important part is that it's where he ended up! My friend and I laughed and shared stories, making new friends with our tablemates as Devin, the wine director, poured the burgundy-colored liquid into our glasses. The last surprise was getting to meet the talented chefs who left the kitchen to say hello and for us to give thanks for all of the hard work that led to the thoughtfully curated and flavorful meal.

If your taste buds are watering and you’d like to have a chance to embark on this local fine-dining journey too, odds are good there will be another opportunity to partake, as the relationship between these local businesses has only continued to grow. Telaya recently welcomed the Chandler's team into their winery for wine education to further expand their knowledge of the local wines. It really is a match made in heaven! Earl likes to say he has a face for radio, but he really has a face for wine! And Rex Chandler has really ingrained himself into the Boise community with all of the support he provides to local businesses while churning out incredible dishes for us to enjoy. Look for future winemaker dinners on and websites and social media accounts, so you don’t miss this unforgettable experience!

After a taste-bud cleansing intermezzo, we were served a luscious, grass-fed filet with potatoes bravas spiced with chipotle, alongside an inky Petit Verdot that blankets the mouth with velvety cherry cola flavor, while hints of blackberry jam intrigued my nose.