The first wine grapes in Idaho were cultivated almost 150 years ago at the close of the Civil War, but it wasn't until 2007 that our unique viticultural environment gained the attention of those in the nation's capital. The resulting Snake River Valley American Viticultural Area stretches all the way from Eastern Oregon to Twin Falls County, covering some 8,000 square miles. Its creation coincided with something of a renaissance for Idaho wine, attracting talented newcomers and drawing attention to the best from those who came before. If you want to keep it local this Thanksgiving, here are three Idaho wines ideal for Turkey Day.
2012 Cinder Dry Viognier, $17.99
Winemaker Melanie Krause crafts this captivating wine using hand-picked grapes from Canyon County's Sawtooth Vineyard. The aromas are light, but elegant, marked by dusty peach, basil, clover and honeysuckle. Ripe peach and apricot flavors fill the mouth, finishing with a lush, lingering creaminess.
2010 Snake River Winery GSM, $17.99
Scott DeSeelhorst and his wife, Susan, bought their Arena Valley vineyard back in 1998, which makes them relative old-timers. The deep, dark fruit aromas of blackberry, raspberry and plum in this Rhone-style blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre are backed by accents of game and lightly toasted oak. The flavors are silky smooth, filled with bright berry and tangy cherry. Smooth tannins come through on the finish.
2010 Vale Wine Company Reserve Riesling, $13.99
John Danielson crafts his wines in Caldwell at the University of Idaho Food Technology Center. A drier-style take on the grape, this wine offers classic riesling aromas of honeyed stone fruit, citrus and gooseberry, with just a whiff of the variety's characteristic diesel. Tangy peach, lemon and lime fill the mouth, balanced by just a hint of sweet spice. This wine finishes crisp and clean.