"Idaho has been on the verge of coming into its own regarding wine production for several years," says Kathryn House, the owner and oenologist of Wine Wise Idaho, a wine education, analysis, and consulting company. She says it's because winemakers and growers are moving from the more established western wine regions (California and the Pacific Northwest) back to the "wild west." "This influx of knowledge, hard work, and a desire to learn about Idaho's unique terroir, along with the talent of great farmers and established producers seeking to work together to improve quality and explore have really pushed the industry forward," she says.
What kind of wines can you expect to find in Idaho? The good news is that a wino with a big palate will find just about every varietal they love: intense, aromatic white varieties such as riesling, viognier and gewurztraminer as well as red varieties such as syrah, malbec, mourvèdre, and tempranillo, says House. She says certain wineries, like Colter's Creek, Clearwater Canyon, and Lindsay Creek express the distinct terroir of the northern region. But in the Boise area, "urban" wineries like Coiled, Cinder, Telaya, and Syringa are also producing diverse, quality wines. Some of the larger wineries, like Sawtooth Winery, are being recognized nationally for its wines; for example, Wine and Spirits named Sawtooth's 2011 Riesling a "US Best Riesling" in August 2012. A riesling from Idaho? We can't argue with that. "Whatever your palate, there's an Idaho wine that can suit your taste — but half the fun is trying them all!" says House.