Signed in as:
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The 2020 Clearwater Canyon Cellars Louis Delsol Cabernet Sauvignon, named for the Frenchman who planted the first commercial vineyard in Lewiston, Idaho and the Lewis-Clark Valley, is best in class for the Idaho Wine Experience.
Coco and Karl Umiker sourced their grapes from the Umiker Estate Vineyard, which Karl manages, and the Rock n’ J Vineyard and Arnett Vineyard, all from Lewis-Clark Valley.
Medium plus acid, tannin, and intensity of aromas. This wine shows surprising complexity and depth of developing aromas and flavors for such a young vintage (already showing some tertiary characteristics). A wonderful medley of black cherry, black currant, black plum, violet, pyrazines, coffee, chocolate, smoke, black pepper, tar, and barnyard that build on each other, gaining steam like a freight train and leading to a long finish. This wine is drinkable now and has great potential for aging.
Yet another tour-de-force from owner and winemaker Coco Umiker, the Queen of the Platinum.
Showing consistency across the board on aroma, flavor, finish, and balance with all our reviewers, the 2019 Rivaura Estate Vineyards and Winery Merlot was best in class in the Idaho Wine Experience. This wine has medium acid, tannin, and body. Wonderfully complex aromas and flavors of blueberry, black plum, black cherry tart, violet, green bell pepper, tomato leaf, toast, coffee, dark chocolate, turned earth, and cigar box. It is youthful but developing. Eminently drinkable now but with great aging potential. One of our reviewers said, “sign me up for a case!”
The best-in-class Petite Sirah for the Idaho Wine Experience came from Martin Fujishin and Teresa Moye of Fujishin Family Cellars in the Snake River Valley AVA. In the glass it is a crowd-pleasing deep purple. The wine is dry with medium plus tannins, medium acid, and full body. On the nose and palate you find a myriad of descriptors: blackberry, black cherry, black plum, blueberry, licorice, violet, toast, turned earth, and forest floor. Our nine reviewers loved this complex, balanced wine that has a long, satisfying finish. Bravo!
Made from Syrah (95%) and Pinot Noir (5%), the 2021 Indian Creek Winery Dry Rosé is Best in Class in the Idaho Wine Experience. A beautiful medium plus pink in the glass, this wine has fresh, bright acidity and almost no residual sugar. Aromas of strawberry, rose petals, and red cherry predominate. On the palate is strawberry, rose water, red cherry, pomegranate, and citrus zest. This wine was stainless-steel fermented and aged to preserve the freshness. A Rosé with depth!
Winemaker Will Wetmore scores big with this ambitious red blend of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Malbec. A seamlessly integrated wine of red berry, pepper, spice, and chocolate. One of our reviewers said that it is a “flavorful wine that hits way above its weight (price) class; best wine I have reviewed from Idaho.” Drink with pleasure now or hold for up to five years.
Another winner from the Hewett family and Rivaura Estate Vineyards, their 2019 Grenache was best in class for the Idaho Wine Experience. A bright, fresh, flavorful wine featuring red raspberry, sour red cherry, toast, thyme, tarragon, and a hint of pepper. This wine has a really nice mouth feel and a long finish. It is best enjoyed now, and you will enjoy it!
We were immediately enthralled by the medium purple color and pronounced, developing intensity of aroma of this wine. The most amazing scents and tastes of black currant, black plum, blackberry, blueberry, toast, coconut, licorice, grilled meat, peppercorn, and turned earth. Our reviewers wrote comments like, “Amazing!,” “Over-the-top perfect,” and, “Could be included among my favorites.” A wine to be savored. You will love it now but this has great aging potential as well. As seen in the picture this was literally good to the last drop.
A wonderfully balanced, harmonious wine that is medium ruby in the glass with medium acid and tannin. This Malbec delivers jammy blackberry, toast, dark chocolate, and a hint of peppercorn. While in a solid drinking right now, this wine is still developing and can be cellared for several years. Pairs well with a ribeye steak and even stood up to horseradish. Fun and easy drinking; a crowd favorite.
Submissions for the Idaho Wine Experience were so completely dominated by red wines that it made it impractical to release best in class for each white varietal. Instead, we grouped all white wines into one category. The best of them was the 2021 Indian Creek Winery Snake River Valley Viognier.
Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France is a prolific producer of Viognier, situated along the 43rd parallel north. That same latitude runs through Idaho’s Snake River Valley AVA. So, immediately, Indian Creek Winery’s Viognier has a great pedigree. Primary aromas and flavors of green fruit (pear), citrus (grapefruit and orange peel), and tropical notes of pineapple predominate. We detected a tertiary character of honey on the nose and palate as well, which, combined with medium-plus acidity, portends great aging potential. This wine is fresh and exciting now but it is still developing. We are excited to see where this ends up in five to seven years. Hopefully they put some in their library! Outstanding.