top of page
  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

I've mentioned probably a couple of time how exciting it is to be on the sideline of Idaho's wine scene. What's pretty cool is I've been one the side lines watching Cinder winery evolve. Way, way, way back in the early days of Syringa, 15+ years ago. Joe Schnerr and Melanie Krause went pretty much door to door selling their wine. They came into Syringa and sold us on their wine, working hard ever since, they have made a name for themselves and the Snake River Valley AVA.

Melanie grew up in Boise, studied agriculture at WSU and worked in the vineyard for Cht. St. Michelle. It was about 2006 when they made the move. At the time, Joe was working as a chemist......

...I'm working on a conspiracy theory that chemists make the best wine makers. In my research of the past couple months, I've noticed a theme. Joe with Cinder. I didn't mention it but Mike Pearson with Colter's Creek was an electrical engineer turned chemist, Wynne Peterson-Nedry with Ridgecrest Wines, chemist. Its definitely NOT a bad thing, just something I've noticed. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog...

It was probably 2008-2009 when they came into Syringa. I remember being excited back then that Idaho was making wines/had a wine scene. Since then they went through a couple of different wine rep locally, they've landed on great representation now and I was able to sit down with my rep and Joe and taste through their line up. Have I mentioned what an exciting time is in Idaho for wine right now. Ok my heart is about ready to explode.

This is from an a tri-fold brochure, maybe from the 40's/50's, with more than several fun facts on Idaho. The above passage is the back page. I saved this because of the syringa and bluebird pictures, but scored a reminder of why I live here.

Whoa I've really digressed. How about the Sapphire selections for June? Let's start with the White. I think if I didn't know anything about The Bluebird and stumbled in and decided to join the wine club I would join the Sapphire for white wines. Imma be honest this is the level with the least subscribers. I'm ok with that, 😔 Don't worry though, if my guilt trip worked I ordered extra bottles this month, so you'll can imbibe this baby on the patio.

The Cinder 2021 Dry Viognier, I'm going to let Melanie talk about this wine,

If you get wine from this level of the wine club I already know you have good taste 😉, but since you all appreciate white wine you probably know that not all Viognier's have to by rich and syrupy. This wine is so beautiful layered, there are tropical hints hit right up front, mango flavors exploded on my pallet, followed by juicy peach. The comes around and knock you out for lots of acid on the finish, it finished kind of hot, 13.5% but it a full bodied white with lots of complex flavors. So glad this wine is out there representing Idaho.

I had a really hard time picking between the reds with this level too. Ultimately I tried to get something that you might not be able to get unless you visited their tasting room in Garden City. Then it came down to can I get it?, and do I want to do Another Tempranillo for June re:Indigo Red and Peacock level. After factoring in all that I pretty much went with my heart. I went with the Cinder 2020 Malbec, when I tried it I remember thinking "Damn, this is from Idaho?" I recently tasted through a cadre of Paul Hobbs wines and tasted Uh-maz-ing Malbecs from Argentina and France, places that have been doing wine for longer than Idaho has been a state! Then there's this little Malbec from the Emerald Slope and Sawtooth vineyards in the Snake River AVA. There were elegant layers of exotic teas, and layer of rich dark fruit and woodsy vanilla tones. I'm finishing this up right around dinner time and I am starving thinking about all the good food to eat with this wine. The winemakers like grilled brats and scalloped potatoes with this wine. I was thinking the Bad Dad Burger, or better yet the 32 oz. Tomahawk.

This is it for Idaho wines, we'll maybe not. I'm trying to line up some Verdejo from Cinder, yah I said Verdejo. Cinder bringing a little Spain to your backyard. We should be getting a case this week 🤗's so good. I would love to get feedback in the comments below of your thoughts on Idaho wine.

3 views0 comments
  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

I've been thinking a lot about the fact that Idaho had vineyards back in 1872. I'm really wondering where the Idaho wine industry would be had Prohibition not come along and put a damper on things. In 1908 there were 40 varieties being planted in Idaho. It was nearly 80 years later before Idaho was back in the wine biz and it was a chance turn down Highway 3 on a 2007 road trip to Lenore that lead Mike Pearson and his wife Melissa Sanborn to discover an abandoned vineyard. They originally were headed to Lenore to check out a vineyard supposedly planted by the Rohchilds. It was in Juliaetta they discovered a vineyard that was dormant and covered in weeds. The place was for sale and for the first couple of years after they bought it Mike and Mellisa re-worked the vineyards. ⬅️Great video of the vineyards today.

2008 marked the first vintage for Colter's Creek. 300 cases were produced. In 2009-production shot up to 1,500 cases with the first estate wine being made. In between making great wine Mike and Melissa, along with the wine makers from Clearwater Canyon winery, worked to get the Lewis and Clark AVA recognized. The newest Idaho AVA was made official in 2016.

Let's get to the wine. The indigo white wine selection this month is the 2022 Colter's Creek Chardonnay-Viognier. According to the tech sheet the 2022 vintage had a delayed bud-break, cooler temperatures and a late and long harvest. Compared to the 2021 vintage-harvest was complete by 01 October- the 2022 vintage started in September and "stumbled" all the way into November. Cool evenings and slow ripening and heavy fruit loads allowed the flavors to mature. This particular blend is bright and crisp. I picked up melon flavors and tropical notes. The finish is my favorite. Bright, clean, great acid and not a cloying or syrupy finish. California and Oregon are known for Chardonnays, Caution ⚠️Opinion ahead (Washington makes them, I question sometimes if they should?, I keep do keep trying them hoping one will turn out the be the benchmark Washington chardonnay and change my opinion)....I digress, Cali-Oregon Chardonnay, Cali is know for rich oak butter bombs, Oregon Chardonnay's are rivaling France's Burgandies. Now Idaho!? Can't wait to see how Chardonnay grapes evolve here in our home-state. I don't want to end this paragraph by dogging WA Chardonnays, Long Shadows Chardonnay is, so far, my favorite WA Chard.

Of course my thoughts turn to food and particularly what on the Bluebird menu would pair with this beauty. Shrimp and Grits, The Cauliflower appetizer, Salmon and risotto, my new favorite dish I've been drooling over lately is the Pork Chop (Walnut panko breaded pork chop, fennel/apple slaw, not so dirty rice). Comment below, what dish you paired this wine with.

I tasted these wines at a trade show last month and I was able to chit chat with the Assistant Winemaker Jon Harding. I tasted through their wines and picking a red wine for club was tough, the tie-breaker went to Jon, ultimately I decided on the 2020 Colter's Creek Tempranillo. Lewis-Clark Valley 😍 Estate bottled. According to the wineries tech sheet the 2020 vintage was "relatively normal." There were only a few days of 100°F extreme heat and the ground was well irrigated until mid summer. It was 2020 remember, there was a wildfire and that delayed the fruit ripening and then harvest. Luckily the fruit was able to ripen through the frost-free fall, harvested on 12 October 2020. The berry size was small but mighty, the flavors are deliciously concentrated. Black Cherry is the first flavor to hit my pallet. Dark, juicy, summer ripened black cherries. The tannins are light, I liked the subtle tobacco notes hanging on with the finish. The tech-sheet also recommended a high acid tomato dish as a food suggestion. The closest thing we have on the menu is the SEAFOOD GUMBO Andouille sausage, shrimp, clams, halibut, scallop, rice.

I did start out the year with a clear plan of what each month's wine's club was going to be. I'm trying to properly celebrate each states month. June is officially #idahowinemonth. I was a little nervous that I wasn't going to be able to fill all the spots, so I made June Idaho/Wines from Spain. I picked Spain in part because of Idaho's large Basque population. In the mid-1800 a large group of Basques from northern Spain came because of Gold but ended up staying because of Sheep. Again I digress, I was able to fill the Indigo and Sapphire spots with Idaho wines and our peacock wine does hail from Spain.

⬅️Fun little National Geographic article on the Basques population in Idaho.

6 views0 comments
  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

I'm pretty dang excited about the wine this month. It is officially #idahowinemonth. We've got some great juice from a couple of my favorite Idaho wineries. I wasn't sure if I would be able to find all the selections from Idaho so had a plan B of also doing Spanish wines. Southern Idaho has a big Basque community so I thought that was a good combo.

Idaho is definitely part of the new frontier of grape growing areas. Fun fact-the first grapes were planted in 1864 in Lewiston and until prohibition Idaho actually had a nationally renowned wine industry. From the time prohibition ended until 1970 when grapes were planted in the Snake River Valley-radio silence from Idaho wine industry. Can you imagine where we would be if Prohibition didn't derail the early success of Idaho wines? Snake River AVA was the first Idaho AVA approved in April of 2007. In 2008 there were 38 wineries and now Idaho is home to more than 60 wineries. Idaho is a wee babe as far as the wine world goes. After talking with the wine makers for Cinder and Colter's Creek winery (this month's wines) I am so excited to see what happens in Idaho in the next 15 years.

The Colter's Creek wines are June's Indigo selection. This month we are featuring a Chardonnay/Viognier blend for the white wine and the red wine is the Tempranillo (the winemakers' favorite wine).

The sapphire selections are wines from Cinder. The white wine is the Dry Viognier and the red wine is a Malbec. I'm hoping to get my hands on some special order Cinder wines for a feature later this month.

For the Peacock selection I did defer to a wine from Spain. It might be a couple of years before Idaho is producing higher end wines. There are probable some out there-I would love to try them, but with the resources I have I deferred to plan B and chose the 2018 Macán Clásico Rioja from Spain.

We've even got Bubbles this month.


For the Royal participates the quarterly bubbles hail from France, of course. Gremillet Dosage Zero is the selection this quarter.

Keep checking back I will have lots more information on the wine selections for this month. We are gearing up for a great summer. Hope to see you all soon.

15 views0 comments
bottom of page