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  • Writer's pictureThe Bluebird. A Midtown Eatery.

June Wine Club-Indigo

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.

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