June is Idaho Wine Month featuring Koenig’s Viognier and LH Riesling


 In our on-going series on wine from Idaho, today, the final day of June’s Idaho Wine Month,  we’re featuring two wines from Koenig which Sue visited last summer. While Sue is typically a red wine gal, this is the second Viognier she bought on her trip there (see our notes about Williamson’s Viognier here). The 2014  Koenig late harvest riesling was sent as part of a case of twelve wines from 12 wineries.

While Idaho is a region where wine grapes have been grown since the 1860s, Prohibition along with other agricultural opportunities led to that industry’s demise but today it is an up and coming region where vinters are exploring and experimenting to see what works best where. Read more about the climate and terroir here.

Continue reading

Idaho Wine Month Part 1 featuring Williamson’s Sangiovese and Viognier

When people think of wine, they think Napa, or California, Washington, Oregon or New York because these are the regions of the US that make the most wine that is the most readily available in retail markets.

But wine is actually made in all 50 states! And some of it is actually very good! In January, we wrote about a wine from New Jersey, and I really like the wines I’ve tasted from Colorado.

And when I was at the 2010 Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla, there were a few wines from Idaho so when we traveled to Yellowstone in 2011, we bought and enjoyed Idaho wines with our meals, and I made a point of visiting a few wineries along the Snake River as well. I was very impressed with the quality and the prices were amazing.

Surprised there is great wine in Idaho? One former potato farmer now vinter told me in 2011 that if the weather is right to grow potatoes, you can grow grapes — the most important element each needs is significant diurnal variation — hot during the day and cold at night.

Idaho’s cold winters allow vines to go dormant, rid plants of bugs, and discourages disease. Summer time’s cold nights cool the grapes which balances the acids with the sugars that come as the grapes ripen during the long, hot, sunny days: in a 24 hours period, temperatures can fluctuate between 30-40 degrees!  Along the Snake River, the days are HOT but at night they cool down to very pleasant temperatures in the 50s.

Another factor is DIRT: Idaho’s rich, volcanic soils have attracted grape growers for over 150 years. Because southern Idaho offers ideal growing conditions, it was one of the first places in the west to have a thriving wine industry — that is until Prohibition snuffed it out and other crops took its place. Continue reading

Ventura County Barrel Weekend 2017 Highlights


This past weekend I attended a barrel tasting organized by the Ventura County Winery Association which  “promotes the production and appreciation of fine wines grown or produced in Ventura County. Member wineries produce more than 250 different white, rosé, and red wines using grapes grown in Ventura County and throughout California. They range in size producing less than 500 cases annually to more than 200,000, with most members producing between 1,000 to 5,000 cases. Located less than an hour’s drive from Los Angeles, Ventura County is short drive for visitors to enjoy an easy getaway to enjoy the region’s urban wineries, beautiful beaches, and fine dining.”

And while I only made it to three wineries, I had an absolutely awesome educational experience!

The story goes that Mike Brown, winemaker at Cantara Cellars, Continue reading

Let’s Go! Ventura County Barrel Tasting Weekend June 24 and 25

Dan Kessler of Kessler-Haak pulls out a barrel sample for me to taste in April 2017. This weekend 8 wineries in Ventura County will offer barrel samples.

As a wine blogger, one of the best privileges is the opportunity to taste wine from the barrel — and often with the winemaker! Even though I’ve done this many times, as recently as at Kessler-Haak in April where we tasted a half dozen or so different barrels of Pinot Noir and at wineries as varied as Painted Rock in British Columbia following the Wine Bloggers Conference in 2013 to Basel Cellars in Walla Walla during the Wine Bloggers Conference in 2010 and, more locally, at Bridlewood with David Hopkins in Santa Barbara County, with Ventura County’s Bruce Freeman of Clos de Amis last fall, with Micheal Meagher of Vino V, and with Mike Brown of Cantara Cellars.

Sometimes at tastings, they will pull a barrel sample to taste alongside other vintages and that can be fun too: you can taste a wine BEFORE it’s bottled and get a sense of a vintage. Wines are super fresh and often intense, but they give you a looking glass into the future of a wine.

No wonder Barrel Tasting Passport Weekends are so popular!

This coming weekend, June 24 and 25, seven Ventura County vintners will open up their barrels Continue reading

French #Winophiles Journey to Burgundy Part 2

This should be where I wax poetic about the delights of this wine from Burgundy in a post titled “Bourgogne with Beef Bourguignon from an Instant Pot” for this month’s French Winophiles excursion into Burgundy Part 2 with LM Archer following last month’s amazing trip where we paired this Chablis with seafood and beurre blanc sauce:

Continue reading

For Grads, Dad: Clubs, Tools, Books!

Still looking for Dad or Grad gifts? If so, consider:

  1. a wine club membership either far away or close by
  2. a bottle of wine from that winery or region, for example a bottle (or pair!) of Pinot Noir from The Ojai Vineyard
  3. a wine opener like this one from Avina
  4. a book to read while drinking wine like Vertical 
  5. a breath analyzer to make sure that it is safe to drink and drive

Continue reading