If warm sunshine, charcuterie boards, and delightful libations sound like a great combination, head on over to the Snake River Valley for a relaxing afternoon of wine tasting during your stay in Idaho.
Approximately 40 minutes west of Boise is a valley which boasts some of the best award-winning wines in the state. The volcanic soil, altitude, and climate blend together in perfect harmony for winemakers to develop their varietals. The region does particularly well in producing wines such as Riesling, Syrah, and Merlot.
The Sunnyslope Wine Trail includes 16 wineries along rural roads surrounded by rows of grapevines and orchards. Many of the vineyards are open year round, but check websites for seasonal hours and reservation requirements just in case. Fortunately, you can spend more time drinking and less time driving since most of the tasting rooms are nearby one another!
Brad and I really enjoyed visiting the following five wineries. The unpretentious vibes, friendly staff, and spectacular views along with the quality wines made this tasting tour my favorite to date. Cheers!
Sawtooth Estate Winery
Sip your wine outside on the landscaped patio with a view that overlooks the Owyhee Mountains. Brad sampled the Tempranillo, Syrah, and Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blend of Sawtooth Estate Winery's Trout Series. I opted for the June mimosa flight with watermelon, orange, and peach juices. The refreshing Brut wonderfully balanced the sweetness of the colorful trio.
Ste. Chapelle Winery
Next door is a popular winery with a tasting room modeled after a medieval Gothic chapel in France. Walk along the uphill paths and admire the rows of grapevines surrounding Ste. Chapelle Winery. Try the Panoramic Idaho flight that includes a dry Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Malbec. The bright acidity and fruitiness of the Riesling was absolutely perfect.
Hat Ranch Winery
Looking to give your tastebuds a workout? The notes of the Cabernet Franc, Hat Trick Red, and Malbec kept us guessing during our tasting at Hat Ranch Winery. The hints of smoke and olive were a bit too intense for us, but the one-on-one experience learning about the wines was worthwhile.
My award for the most grand tasting room goes to Koenig Vineyards with its tranquil fountain, watchtower, and giant outdoor chess board. We couldn't help but fall in love with the picturesque grounds in between pours of the Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. If you plan to pack a picnic, I highly recommend you enjoy it at this winery!
Character and charm embody Huston Vineyards on Chicken Dinner Road. Grab a chair and relax with a glass, but don't neglect the black lab who is eager for attention. I appreciated the cherry flavor and rich texture of the Cabernet Sauvignon so much that I purchased a bottle. Be sure to get the story on how the road got its name!
The Sunnyslope Wine Trail hits the mark with its innovative winemakers, comfortable tasting rooms, and beautiful countryside. Taste these delectable wines for yourself and explore what this area of Idaho has to offer!