Idaho wine lovers have ample opportunity to enhance their relationship with Gem State vintages this month.
That’s because it’s Idaho Wine Month and the calendar is loaded with opportunities to sip and enjoy the lovely surroundings around town, in Sunnyslope and beyond.
I’ve been sampling all kinds of new varietals or new versions of varietals, blends and specialty wines that honestly just keep getting better.
A lot has happened since the June 2016 Idaho Wine Month: mergers, partnerships, amicable breakups, winter vineyard damage, expansions and some huge capital investments already realized or on the horizon.
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Among Idaho’s sipping strengths are dry whites such as viognier, riesling, pinot gris/pinot grigio — and some surprises along the way such as albariño and gewurztraminer. The Snake River Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) is turning out some swell late-harvest riesling — sweet, but with enough acidity to balance them a bit.
Pay particular attention to rosés this month because the 2016 vintages are fresh, dry and swimming with strawberry and watermelon notes in colors from pink to salmon. Most are sourced from cinsault, tempranillo, syrah or sangiovese. My top picks so far: Cinder, Split Rail, Indian Creek, Williamson, Vizcaya and Syringa.
The mainstay reds of the Snake River AVA are syrah, tempranillo, malbec, merlot, mourvedre, and some big chewy cabs.
A SAMPLING OF WINE MONTH EVENTS
Today through June 15
▪ Friday, June 2, Sawtooth Winery, 13750 Surrey Lane Nampa. Legacy Vineyard tours. Enjoy new releases, small bites and barrel tastings of upcoming tasting room-exclusive wines. Tours at 6:30, 7:30, & 8:30 (Sunset Edition). $15, free to members. RSVP at (208) 467-1200 or universe.com/sawtoothkickoff17.
▪ Saturday, June 3, Telaya, 240 E 32nd St, Garden City. River Discovery offers outdoor adventures for cancer survivors that promote healing. Celebrate their mission from 7 to 10 p.m., $25, includes glass of wine and hors d’ourves (208) 557-9463.
▪ Sunday, June 4, Zhoo Zhoo Wines, 18835 Symms Road, Caldwell. Yoga. That’s right, yoga and wine from 10 a.m. to noon. Free. RSVP with Hadley at (208) 921-5145.
▪ Thursday, June 8, 3 Horse Ranch Winery, 5900 Pearl Road, Eagle. Enjoy artists at work, listen to jazz and sip wine, 6-9 p.m. $25, includes wine tasting, entertainment. Food, beer and wine available for purchase. Email reservations to Meg Glasgow, email@example.com.
▪ June 10, Parma Ridge Winery, event at Old Fort Boise Days Park, Parma, 2-5 p.m. Parma Ridge will be pouring wine by the glass. Details at (208) 946-5187.
▪ June 11, Savor Idaho. The Wine Commission’s signature event is 2-5 p.m. at the Idaho Botanical Garden. It’s been sold out for weeks.
▪ June 16-18, Vizcaya Winery and Syringa Winery, 8987 S. Greenhurst Road, Kuna. Father’s Day celebration all weekend, noon to 6 p.m. daily. Sunday will feature a car show and concert. Vizcaya and Syringa will be pouring. Syringa’s Mike Crowley makes the wine for both wineries and they now share the Kuna space. $10 includes the concert, car show and wine tasting. Call (208) 870-8354 for details.
▪ June 17, Williamson Winery, 14807 Sunnyslope Road, Caldwell. If you haven’t checked out Williamson’s new digs yet, this would be a great time, as they debut a dry rosé and their Reserve Petite Sirah.
▪ June 18, Ste. Chapelle, 19348 Lowell Road, Caldwell. Father’s Day and continuation of Summer Concert Series, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (music by High Street Band 1-4:30). Tickets $12 advance, $15 at the gate. Details at (208) 453-7843, ext. 3, or stechapelle.com/events.