Northern Idaho’s Colter’s Creek Vineyard and Winery

Colter’s Creek owners Mike Pearson and Melissa Sanborn have always shared an interest in wine. On a cold, winter drive along the Clearwater River, they took a side path home and came across an overgrown yet picturesque vineyard for sale along the Potlatch River. The rest is history. They have since focused their zeal into establishing their new winery while improving the vineyard.

Unbeknownst to many, the Clearwater River Valley was once home to a prosperous grape and wine industry. In 1872, vines were planted near Lewiston. Throughout the following 40 years, up to 40 varieties of grapes, many of which were European, covered the slopes of the Clearwater River canyon and its tributaries. The region distinguished itself from others by its fertile soil, steep slopes and long, hot growing season. Wines from these grapes boasted several national and international awards, showing promise as some of the best wines in the world.

In the past 10 years, the slopes of the Clearwater Valley are again being decorated with vines. New vineyards have been established, with their fruit being turned into premium Idaho wines. There is little doubt that this region will once again stand out as one of the great wine regions of the world.

2010 Chardonnay, $11.99
This refreshing Chardonnay has hints of peach and citrus. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, this estate bottled wine is reminiscent of an Old-World white: clean, bright and crisp.

2012 Riesling, $11.99
The vines that produced this Riesling are some of the oldest in the state. Nestled on the banks of the Clearwater, the vines are naturally cooled by the river’s water, resulting in a crisp, flavorful wine. Slight hints of apricot and honey complement its subtle, off-dry sweetness.

2011 Syrah, $11.99
Sourced from the Snake River Valley, this fruit-forward, full-bodied Rhône blend (85 percent Syrah, 10 percent Mourvedre, 5 percent Viognier) has notes of blackberry and dark fruit.

2009 Koos Koos Kia Red, $25.00
Koos·Koos·Kia is the Nez Perce name of the Clearwater River, meaning “transparent water,” the same water that replenishes Colter’s Creek’s vines. This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc. Well balanced with aromas of plum, sage, currant and leather, the Koos·Koos·Kia blend finishes with a slight minerality characteristic of our soils and clear water.

2009 Cabernet Franc, $28.00
The 2009 vintage provided the perfect growing conditions for this estate Cabernet Franc. A nose of plum, raspberry and a hint of clove is followed by cranberry and cherry flavors with a mineral finish.