June is Idaho Wine Month, and I’ve picked the Sawtooth’s Sparkling Brut for drinking on the patio, sipping by the pool, or pretty much any time you want some tasty bubbly that doesn’t come with a big price tag. This is well made, solid effort from Sawtooth winemaker Meredith Smith. The nose shows a touch of citrus and yeasty brioche. On the palate, the wine is crisp showing it’s bright acidity. The citrus and brioche notes carry over to the palate, but are also complemented by crisp green apple also. Sparkling wines are a great pairing for almost any food, but try this one with Thai food or with a cheese and fruit plate, or if you don’t have any food, just gulp it down!!
Viognier, THE grape of Condrieu in the Northern Rhone Valley, is often characterized by the delicate aromatics of peaches and white flowers. The wine is full bodied, oily in texture, with peach and melon flavors dominating the palate.
This example from Koenig is very true to type for Viognier. In addition to the pretty floral bouquet, flavors of pear and baked apple mingle with a generous portion of minerality.
This wine is a no brainer for seafood (scallops) but is also big enough to hold up to pork and chicken dishes.
Have you ever been around someone smoking some good, high-quality cherry-tobacco out of a grandpa-style pipe? Well add a little leather and liquefy it and voila, you will have the essence of Hat Ranch 2015 Tempranillo! I was fortunate enough to visit Hat Ranch winery last summer with a dear girlfriend who is a lot of fun and knows a lot about Idaho wine. We had been on an Idaho Wine Tour the entire day and since Hat Ranch was our last stop, we were a little tired and definitely a bit happy! The folks at Hat Ranch were so unbelievably friendly, they made us feel right at home! We started by trying their award-winning Sauvignon Blanc, a truly unique Idaho wine that is superb in its own right. The Hat Ranch team then allowed us to try their Tempranillo and I will never forget the sensory experience! It was dry, smoky, and there was a leather quality to the tannins in the finish.
My friend (whose name I will not mention in an effort to protect her privacy) exclaimed – “Oh my goodness! I feel like I just kissed someone who smokes a cherry tobacco pipe! Everyone started laughing and to this day, that’s what I remember when I see or drink Hat Ranch Tempranillo; cherry, smoke, and a little bit of leather. It has a little bit more body than typical Spanish Tempranillo or Rioja wines, but it is just as dry and the cherry context shines through the intriguing leather and smoke. Hat Ranch Tempranillo is (in my humble opinion) by far, the most complex of all the Idaho Tempranillos I have tried. It pairs beautifully with anything barbecued, nearly all Mexican and Spanish food, lasagna, and any dish that has corn as its major ingredient like grits and polenta. Definitely drink rosés and whites in the summer, but Hat Ranch Tempranillo will be welcomed at any outdoor barbecue and more than adequately please your red wine preferring guests. A truly exceptional Idaho red!
If you’ve never had a Pét-Nat before, now is the time. Our good friend, Jed Glavin, at Split Rail Winery has ventured into the unknown and returned with a delicious, lightly sparkling dry rosé that is super refreshing and loads of fun. Pétillant Naturel has recently become popular, though its roots go back to the 16th century in Limoux, in the South of France, where it was made by monks. The delicate bubbles that are the signature characteristic of Pét-Nats are created by bottling a wine prior to it completing its first fermentation, allowing carbon dioxide to be produced by natural sugars found in the grapes. The result of this ancient style of wine making is a sparkling wine with much less aggressive bubbles than its Méthod Champenoise counterpart. I am supremely grateful to Jed for taking a chance on this wine. It certainly paid off, and now we can enjoy the fruits of his labor. Cheers!