Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The United Grapes of America - Idaho - Sawtooth Winery Riesling

It's still the Summer of Riesling so we turn to Idaho where Sommelier Vino50.com recommended Sawtooth Winery and we selected their 2011 Riesling (a blend of 95% Riesling and just 5% Muscat Blanc).  Any discussion of Northwest wine production should not be monopolized by Oregon and Washington; Idaho and British Columbia should be included - particularly since the first vines in the Pacific Northwest were planted in Idaho in the 1860s. The terrior in Idaho is similar to that of eastern Washington & Oregon except its higher elevation produces a larger diurnal temperature variation. We are talking 30*-40*  at the highest elevations. The Snake River Valley was Idaho's first designated American Viticultural Area (AVA) and encompasses the strategic 43°- 46° latitudes.  Sawtooth Winery was founded in 1987 as started as Pintler Cellars, with early plantings of Chenin Blanc, Riesling, Semillon, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon.  In 1998 Pintler joined Corus Estates & Vineyards and was re-branded as Sawtooth Winery - honoring the Sawtooth Mountains. Today Sawtooth is one of about forty wineries operating in the Gem State.
Andrew Stover of

The United Grapes of America
StarChefs.com: The United Grapes of America
The grapes for the 2011 Sawtooth Winery Riesling were harvested from the winery's Skyline Vineyards, a new vineyard with slopes facing in all directions. The east and north facing slopes are planted with cooler climate grapes such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling; whereas the south and west facing slopes are warmer and host Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Interesting - different micro-climates within he same vineyard.  The wine is made semi-dry with 2.0% RS but tons of acidity to balance the sugar. The aroma exudes peach, whereas the flavor is primarily lemon grass similar to some Sauvignon Blancs. There is also a honey richness to the wine that is followed by the pleasing acidic finish. Also pleasing is the price, $12 at Norms Beer & Wine. Cheers to that.

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