Idaho’s Own, Bitner Vineyards

The family-owned Bitner Vineyards consists of 15 acres of premium vinifera wine grapes. Riesling and Chardonnay were the first varieties planted back in 1981, making them some of the oldest blocks in Idaho. The vineyards are located in the  beautiful Snake River valley, and the quality of the grapes is the result of the true “terroir” of the area.

Originally Bitner Vineyards sold grapes to several Idaho wineries. In 1995 they began providing Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay to Koenig Distillery and Winery. Greg Koenig has won much recognition and many awards for his wines, and in 1997 began making small quantities of Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Chardonnay, which the Bitners bottled under their own label.

Dr. Ron Bitner is a professional entomologist. His work with bees has allowed him to travel extensively. Beginning in 1995, he spent nine seasons working in Australia with his bees, but also enjoying the Australian wine country. This experience has led to the plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz (as the Aussies say) to produce Australian-style wines. Here are notes on a few of their wines:

2011 Dry Riesling, $17.99
German style with floral aromas, crisp, clean, citrus flavors, in a medium-bodied wine. A great food wine that goes especially well with spicy foods.

2010 Chardonnay, $20.00
Lightly toasted oak with ripe apple, pear and melon aromas, punctuated by creamy butterscotch and soft oak. Long-lingering buttery finish, it pairs well with seafood and soft, creamy cheese dishes.

2008 Cabernet/Shiraz Blend, $30.00
Sixty percent Cabernet and 40 percent Syrah, the 2008 vintage expresses flavors of clove, chocolate, coffee and a hint of violets. Terroir-driven fruit, this wine is big, full bodied and can be laid down for up to 10 years. A perfect choice with lamb, veal or a standing rib roast.

Las Tres Mujeres (Three Women), $22.00
Very fruity Cabernet with strawberry jam aromas and a hint of plum.