Tag Archive | Snake River Winery

Boise Road Trip: Snake River Winery

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.

Boise Roadtrip Random Highlights!

During our Boise trip, after we went to the World Center for Birds of Prey, Jon and I spent some time just relaxing without an agenda.  Here are a few of the highlights:

BitterCreek Ale House:  The food was great (we each had a salad) – and they have a lot of local micro-brews to choose from.  For days when it isn’t quite so hot (it was 104 the day we were there), they have outdoor seating available on the sidewalk.

A Beautiful Historic Sign on a Sandstone Building

A Beautiful Historic Sign on a Sandstone Building

Record Exchange:  Jon liked this local downtown music store – he browsed their albums for a long time.  They have an adjacent coffee shop and cafe that is attached to the store, and it also sells kitschy and novelty items, so I had some perusing to keep me occupied.  They have a bunch of funny greeting cards, and cute gift items.  And maybe the best part, the cafe booths offered me an opportunity to sit down while I waited for Jon to finish shopping!

Aspen Leaf:  This is one of those pay-by-the-ounce frozen yogurt places in downtown Boise, and Jon and I split one topped with raspberries and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.  Bad for the waistline, but great for the soul – delicious!

Aspen Leaf Frozen Yogurt - Perfect for a Hot Day!

Aspen Leaf Frozen Yogurt – Perfect for a Hot Day!

Cycle Pub:  While we were eating our frozen yogurt, we were amazed to watch a man piloting a pedal-powered bar down the street.  He was all alone when he rolled onto the street, but before very long, several people had hopped onto the strange contraption.  Apparently you can book this thing for a rolling pub crawl – with a bit of exercise thrown in!

Cycle Pub - A Pedal Powered Pub Crawl with your Friends!

Cycle Pub – A Pedal Powered Pub Crawl with your Friends!

The Old Assay Office: Now you didn’t think that having no agenda would really mean no historic buildings right?  We visited the historic Old Assay Office, built in 1871 to weigh and value minerals and gold brought in by Idaho’s miners.  Between 1872 and 1933, millions of dollars a year came through this office – some estimates are over $1.5 million each year.  The Office was constructed of sandstone in the Italianate architectural style, and the top floor was occupied by the chief assayer and his family, and the security guards lived in the basement.  The building is now the office for the Idaho State Historic Preservation agency, and the grounds outside are a city park.

The Old Assay Office - Built 1871 - Italianate Architectural Style

The Old Assay Office – Built 1871 – Italianate Architectural Style

Wineries:  Jon and I had time for two tasting rooms while we were in town.  We were already downtown, so we checked out a couple in the downtown core, the Snake River Winery and Mouvance.  I’ll post about them separately, but both were great – for very different reasons.  Snake River is making wines with Snake River Valley fruit, both estate grown and sourced from other vineyards.  Mouvance is bringing in their fruit from their family owned vineyards in the Willamette Valley, specializing in my favorite red, Pinot Noir!

We had a great time in Boise, and will certainly go back!  It was a big city with a small town feel – clean, easy to get around, and (at least for us) no big city traffic congestion!  The downtown core had a nice feel and I loved our drive through the area of historic homes.  Although it was way too hot while we were there to take advantage of the many recreational opportunities (103 to 107 degrees the days that we were there!), we would love to go hiking next time we visit.  Antiques Roadshow introduced us to a whole new, beautiful city!