When it comes to wines from Idaho, there are so many choices! When someone asks us for a recommendation of what to drink, it's hard to suggest something because the choices of award-winning wines is endless! Plus, wine is a personal thing. Just like chocolate, most people like it, but some prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate. However, one thing everyone can agree on, during the summer you can get beautiful, light, crisp white wines on the Sunnyslope Wine Trail located just 30 minutes from Boise, Idaho. Below, Idaho Wine Ambassador, Jim Thomssen, shares his favorite summer varietals unique to Idaho's Wine Country.
I was recently asked to pick my three favorite white wines from the Caldwell, but I know what I love might not be something that you do. So, instead of recommending a specific bottle of wine I am going to recommend some varietals that are perfect for summer and can be found right here in Idaho. Buying close to the source is always a good thing since it gives direct support to the growers and winemakers, so go out and find some new favorites in Idaho Wine Country. Here are some fun, lighter wines to look for on your vacation to the Snake River and Sunnyslope wine region.
Originally from Portugal and Spain (where it’s called Albarino) this grape has been planted in Idaho during the past few years, and it's thriving in our terroir! It produces a high acid, full-bodied wine with citrus and fresh fruit flavors. It usually has a bright smooth finish and may even be a bit effervescent when you first pull the cork. It’s a great substitute for un-oaked Chardonnays. Viscaya Winery, Fujishin Family Cellars and Sawtooth Estate Winery all have great Alvarinhos available.
This is a more “Fruit Forward” wine with some classic peach and apricot notes in the flavor profile. Genetically this is a cousin of the more well known Nebbiolo varietal that produces lighter, more earthy red wines. Viognier is present many of the white wine blends from the Sunnyslope area such as Bitner Vineyard's High Desert White. Served chilled, it’s another great way to beat the summer heat. Koenig Vineyards, Indian Creek Winery and Williamson Vineyards have great single varietal Viogniers on hand for you to try on your next wine tasting outing.
Muscat, also known as Muscato, is an ancient grape known as one of the only varietals to produce wine that actually tastes like grapes! First grown in the Mediterranean region it’s no surprise they do well in Idaho! The Snake River AVA is located is in one of the “Wine Belts” that circle the globe. Look at the upper belt in the graphic and you'll see Idaho is on the same latitude as many “Old World” wine regions such as Italy. The wines crafted from Muscat can be bone dry or incredibly sweet depending on the winemaker's treatment, but they are all good. The Moscatos from Idaho are not your Grandparents’ Muscatel and definitely worth a second look. Hat Ranch Winery, Indian Creek Winery and Sawtooth Estate Vineyards all produce excellent wines from the Muscat grape.
While I do have my favorite go-to white wines for summer, I encourage you to try something new and find your own favorite. With options all across the Sunnyslope Wine Trail it’s easy to make new friends and find new wines. Download the Sunnyslope Wine Trail Map Brochure today and get out and explore what our great soil, weather and farmers have blessed us with!
The Idaho Wine Ambassador
© 2020 Jim Thomssen