Welcome back to Sip Northwest’s Bar Tab, our editor’s weekly selection of what to drink in the Northwest now. This week, we recommend four white wines from Idaho’s burgeoning Snake River Valley. The original Idaho AVA was established in 2007 and encompasses 8,000-square miles with 1,125 acres planted in vines, sporting similarities to both Washington’s Columbia Valley and Spain’s Rioja region. With lake bottom sediment and volcanic soils, hot days and temperate nights allow grapes to flourish into ripe, fruit-forward profiles with structurally solid acidity, a perfect equation for balanced white wine. With that in mind, come on in, belly up to the counter and order a digital white wine on us.
2015 Estate Dry Moscato | HAT Ranch Winery | HAT Ranch Vineyard, Snake River Valley | In 2011, the Harless family resurrected the HAT Ranch name, once a turn-of-the-19th-century homestead in Wyoming, as an estate winery in honor of their farm-friendly lineage. The Caldwell property proudly make estate-grown wines, like this ethereal, perfume-y white. A balancing act of orange blossom with fleshy mandarin, basil with cardamom pods, acid and medium weight, lively scents bring delicate yet resonant flavors to the dry palate.
2015 Reserve Viognier | Fujishin Family Cellars | Snake River Valley | Don’t be thrown by the mention of this wine spending three months in new French oak barrels: the presence of oak is minor on the nose but amplifies the texture of this spot-on varietal Viognier. Slight butterscotch and baked apple aromas are met with tender pineapple, and fresh, sharp tropical fruit dominates the palate. Medium-bodied and clean, drink on a patio soon.
2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Small Lot Series | Cinder Wines | Snake River Valley | And the best packaging award repeated goes to this Garden City winery, which also deservedly gets nods for the solid juice inside the bottles. Rounder and fatter in fruit than other PNW versions of the ilk, this Sauv Blanc shows soft aromatics of crisp Asian pear, lemon and fresh herbs, while the palate is much more expressive with citrus, crunchy pear and bright acid. Match with scallops and a white wine butter sauce from the same bottle.
2015 White Riesling | Indian Creek Farm Winery | Snake River Valley | Founded in 1982 by an “Idaho boy, born and raised,” retired Air Force airman Bill Stowe caught the wine bug when he was stationed in Germany. An obvious transition, the Idaho native and his team bottle this Riesling with the home-style Thai cooking of Stowe’s wife, Mui, in mind. Bold green apple and pear aromas flush on the palate, which brings in flavors of apricot and honeysuckle, finishing off-dry and in need of some curry.