During our Boise road trip, we had an opportunity to taste at a couple of wineries. We were already going to be in the downtown area, and since I knew nothing about any of Idaho’s wineries, location seemed as good a criteria as anywhere to select a few to visit (you have to start somewhere right?). We visited Snake River Winery’s downtown tasting room on a super-hot Saturday in the later afternoon.
Snake River is an estate winery, meaning that they grow all their own grapes in their own vineyards – they have 75 acres planted. They strive for sustainable and organic winery practices, including making their own compost from pomace (which is the solid remains of the grapes after the juice has been pressed off), eliminating pesticides and using organic fungicides. At this point, they don’t have a biodynamic certification, but are working towards it.
When we walked into the downtown tasting room, it surprised me a bit that we were the only ones there. It was a great little shop with a tasting bar, and lots of cool gift items as well. Wine glasses and associated wine goodies, Snake River t-shirts, and greeting cards. Jon appreciated having some gift items to look at, as he always wanders away from the bar during a tasting.
I don’t remember all of the wines we tasted that day, but I was pleased with several. The 2010 Rosé is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Touriga Nacional. It had a light sweetness and strawberry flavor, wonderfully refreshing for a hot, summer day. Snake River Winery also makes a single varietal wine from its Touriga Nacional grapes, a bold red with strong tannins and black fruit. The grape varietal is originally from Portugal, and not often seen in the United States, at least on the West Coast. I really enjoyed this wine, and we brought home a bottle.
The wine list at Snake River is extensive, with offerings that include Chardonnay, Riesling, Barbera, Grenache, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Cab Sauvignon, Cab Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Syrah, as well as some blends. And I was surprised to learn that they had another varietal that I had never tasted before, but unfortunately it wasn’t open that day. Blauer Zweigelt, a varietal developed in 1922 in Austria, is more widely planted in Europe, but is beginning to be planted in British Columbia as well. I’ll have to wait until another day to taste it!
Perhaps the best thing about Snake River though, is the wine pairing chocolates that they offer with the heavier reds, and sell packages of! They are made from 85% Cocoa, and have a bitter dark chocolate taste that goes so well with the red wine. These chocolates, made by a company called Dream Chocolate, are fantastic, and they are even better with wine! I couldn’t resist bringing home a package of these as well!
I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Snake River, and I hope to find their wines closer to home. If you have a chance, stop in.
If you get as far as Hammett, ID there is a nice winery with great wine called Cold Springs Winery. We stopped there a while ago, I did a blog about it 1/16/12. They don’t have as many varietals. When I get to travel again I will look up the Snake River Winery.
I’ll have to check that one out when we head out that way again! I was pleased with Snake River’s Idaho wines, and I’m eager to try more!
Thanks for enlightening me about Idaho wines. I’ll have to try some next time we’re out that way on vacation.
I hadn’t tried any before either – I was very pleasantly surprised. If you venture out there and try some, you will have to let me know which ones and what you think!