Happy Idaho Wine Month!

First a bit of history: You may have read that the first grapes planted in the Northwest were in Idaho, where, in 1864 Royal Muscadine vines came to Lewiston. Unfortunately that date has us actually playing second fiddle to Washington. Grape vines first came there in 1825 when the Hudson Bay Company planted them at their Ft. Vancouver. It’s unknown whether they ever produced wine, but we do know that hybrid varieties reached Puget Sound in 1854 and that Italian immigrants in Walla Walla were growing wine grapes, including Cinsault, by 1860. So our claim to being first is close, but no cigar.

What is true is that by 1872 the Clearwater Valley was on the cusp of becoming one of the Northwest’s best-known wine regions. A Frenchman, Louis Desol started things off, but it was a German, Jacob Schefer, who achieved the most notable success. His wines received gold medals from competitions in Omaha, Buffalo, St. Louis and Portland. Today the majority of Idaho Vineyards are further south in the Snake River AVA, most notably, Sunny Slope and the Arena Valley, but things are starting to heat up in the panhandle. Thanks in large part to Clearwater Canyon Cellars’ efforts, the Lewis-Clark Valley achieved AVA status this spring.

Like many wine regions of the late 18th and early 19th century, things came to a screeching halt with prohibition. Though it was repealed in 1933 after just over a decade, the damage was done, and it was slow in turning around. It wasn’t until 1970 that wine grapes were again planted commercially. Ste. Chapelle kicked things off; Pintler and Facelli followed close behind.  But after an encouraging start, things slowed down significantly. By 2002, there were only 11 Idaho wineries (contrast that with the explosion of new wineries in Washington). Still, the last decade has shown promise and the number of wineries has more than quadrupled. AVA status certainly has helped, attracting young talent from other states.

Still, production is very limited. With only 1200 acres of vines planted (contrast that with Washington’s 50,000) most wineries remain small, with distribution confined mainly to Idaho. Despite the quality, it makes national recognition difficult to come by, but there are glimmers of hope. The recently created Eagle Foothills AVA currently

includes only 70 acres of vineyards but there are plans to plant 450 more. And we’re starting to become at least a blip on the wine radar screen. The influential Wine Spectator has rated several of Greg Koenig’s wines 90 points or more. You may not have to wear shades, but the future does look much brighter for the 21st century.

To celebrate Idaho Wine Month, we’re offering a special sale

Save 15% off on every bottle of Idaho wine thru the month of June!


Chateauneuf du Pape

(Where the Pope drank his wine)

2012 Mont Olivet CDP Cuvee du Papet $72

Much more concentrated than the traditional cuvée, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape La Cuvee du Papet is a blend of 75% Grenache, 15% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre.  Its deep purple color is followed by fabulous notes of black raspberry, currants, crushed rock and peppery herbs. This flows to a medium to full-bodied, structured and classically put together Châteauneuf that has fresh acidity and no shortage of tannin. Give this beauty 3-5 years in the cellar, and enjoy bottles through 2032. 94 points WA

2012 Pegau Cuvee de Reserve  CDP $89

One of my favorite wines, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Cuvee Réservée is a classic. Beautiful on the nose, with notions of ground pepper, wild herbs, minerality and smoked plum and dark fruit, it’s medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated and has plenty of tannin that comes through on the finish. Similar in style to a lighter-weight 2010, drink this beauty anytime over the coming 12-15 years. 94 points WA

2012 Guillaume Gonnet CDP Poete $52

The grandson of Etienne Gonnet from domaine Font de Michelle makes the beautiful CDP from the old parcel of the Etienne vineyard. The vines average 110 years in age. Made from 60% Grenache and40% Mourvedre and syrah. Very elegant with a a balance of power and finesse.

2012 Mont Olivet CDP $40

The 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape is a mid-weight, medium-bodied effort that has complex olive, tobacco leaf, cured meats and sweet currant fruit. A blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 6% Mourvedre and the rest a mix of permitted varieties……..it is borderline outstanding and I suspect it will have over a decade of longevity. 89 points WA

2012 Milliere CDP V. V. $45

The 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape Vieilles Vignes is beautiful, with textbook, slightly old-school notes of saddle leather, garrigue, incense and sweet kirsch and blackberry fruit. Made from a blend of 60% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and Counoise, it has a solid, medium-bodied, classically styled palate feel with lots to like. 90 points WA

2012 Mordoree CDP Reine Bois $89

One of the blockbusters in the vintage, the inky-colored 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape La Reine des Bois – 80% Grenache, completely destemmed and aged 12 months in 80% stainless steel and 20% old barrels – offers fantastic richness and depth in its blackberry liqueur, graphite, wood smoke and crushed-rock-like aromas and flavors. An elegant, stylish and polished example of this cuvée, it comes closest in my mind to a lighter-weight 2010. Medium to full-bodied, concentrated and with fine tannin, it will drink well for 10-15 years. 95 points WA

2012 Chateau Sixtine CDP $54

Made from 40% Grenache, 35% Mourvedre and 25% Syrah, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape is a pretty, elegant example of this cuvée. Always a selection of the best parcels and aged in a combination of concrete and barrels (20% being new), it offers plenty of black cherry, blackberry, licorice and garrigue-like qualities to go with a medium to full-bodied, focused and nicely concentrated feel on the palate. 92 points WA

2012 St. Cosme CDP $56

The 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape showed nicely from barrel last year, and didn't disappoint this go around. Offering a classic feel in its Provencal herbs, black raspberry, licorice and peppery bouquet, it's medium to full-bodied, shows the vintage's voluptuous texture and has outstanding length. Ithas plenty of appeal, andwill evolve gracefully for another decade. 91 points WA

2013 Bosquet des Papes CDP $46

Boiron’s 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape is a classically styled blend of 70% Grenache, 17% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre and the rest other permitted varieties. Raised mostly in foudres, it offers ample Provençal garrigue, pepper, tobacco leaf and assorted darker fruits to go with a medium-bodied, nicely concentrated and balanced feel on the palate. It has plenty of tannin, so give it a year or two in the cellar. 90 points WA

2013 Moulin Tacussel CDP $45

The 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape is a solid wine from this estate that gives up lots of garrigue, white pepper, underbrush, and sweet cherry and currant-styled fruit. It’s medium to full-bodied, easy drinking and loaded with character. Made from 60% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 5% Cinsault and other varieties, it spent 12 months in 40% barrels (50% being new) and 60% in concrete tank. It will have 10-12 years of longevity. 87 points WA

2013 Clos Du Papes CDP $125

The 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape comes from miniscule yields of 13 hectoliter per hectare (25-39 hectoliters per hectare is normal for the appellation), and hits 14.8% natural alcohol. It has a darker, slightly more concentrated, austere feel than the 2014, and has ample kirsch, blackberry, peppery and crushed rock-like aromas and flavors. [It is] outstanding and has considerable charm and elegance. It will also have 10-15 years oflongevity. 92 points WA

2013 Fortia Tradition CDP $36

A solid traditional cuvée, the 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape (70% Grenache, 18% Syrah and 12% Mourvèdre) offers lots of peppery herbs, ripe black cherries, hints of currants and garrigue to go with a medium-bodied, nicely textured and balanced style on the palate. (87-89) points WA

2013 Pierre Usseglio CDP $48

The 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape is outstanding and about as charming and drinkable as they get in the vintage. From miniscule yields of 22 hectoliters/hectare and deep ruby and mostly opaque in color, it gives up beautiful notes of black raspberries, toasted spice and Provençal garrigue. Medium-bodied, nicely concentrated and with sweet tannin (which are almost non-existent in the vintage), it’s a perfect Châteauneuf du Pape to enjoy anytime over the coming 5-7 years. 90 points WA

2013 Beaucastel CDP $84

The 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape is a beauty and has a rare level of concentration and depth in the vintage. Blueberry, crushed flowers, pepper, and violet aromas and flavors flow nicely to a medium to full-bodied, structured and tannic Beaucastel that has impressive purity and plenty of length. It’s not massive, but still needs 4-5 years of cellaring and will keep for a decade after that. 93 points WA

Drink the Dragon!

One of the most popular Dry Rose's of the past several years is the magnificent Domaine du Dragon Grand Cuvee from the town of Draguignan in the Cotes de Provence. This super pale blend of Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache and a little bit of Rolle (Vermentino) has the delicate aromas of rose petals and red cherry with a lively and refreshing flavor that is easy to drink but also compelling for its length and crisp finish. The grapes are pressed and the skins tossed for minimal contact and maximum flavor and freshness. Just try to stop drinking this once the bottle is open! A bottle of pure refreshment, serve well chilled.

$15.99 bottle, or ask about our special case price: $159.95.

Perfect Gifts for Every Mom

If you haven't done your Mother's Day shopping yet, never fear! We have perfect gifts for every type of mom here at the Wine Shop. Stop on by and check out:

  • Wine Gadgets, Gifts, and More! Check out the pictures →
  • Great Wines for Every Mom: Not sure what to get? Just ask our experienced wine staff to find the bottle that will be perfect for her.
  • Wine Shop Gift Cards for the mom who likes to pick out her own wine.

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway!

  • Enter to win at the Wine Shop
  • No Purchase Necessary
  • Winner will be drawn on Thursday, May 5th

A Very Special Case Deal

One of the best selling Cotes du Rhone wines ever at the wine shop is the old vine Cuvee from Clos Du Caillou. Made from a vineyard with grenache and syrah vines averaging 80 years in age, this is a powerhouse Rhone that stands up and out in a crowd. The problem is that the last two years the yields were so low that they did not bottle this Cuvee, instead blending it with their Garrigues Cuvee in 2012 and 2013. Well 2014 produced a good crop and the Vieilles Vignes (old Vines) Cuvee is back! We are offering an incredible case price on this wine while it lasts. Here is the deal:

2014 Clos Du Caillou Cotes Du Rhone V.V. $22 bottle

Special Full Case Price $189.95 save more than $74 over the retail price!!

(Full case price is available on case purchase only, regular bottle price is $22)

Chateau Maris

Robert (Bertie) Eden is perhaps the last person you would expect to find making wine in the Languedoc. The son of an English lord and the great nephew of former Prime Minister Anthony Eden, a career in politics would have seemed more likely. But some twenty years back he emigrated to France to pursue his true passion. Chateau Maris is something of a revolution in the very conservative Languedoc. Eden has led the charge in favor of farming vineyards biodynamically. In an interview with the UK paper Independent he discussed his conversion:

"Getting on the tractor, strapping on the mask and zipping up the overalls ready to spray the vines with chemicals made me think. It was like being a sewage pipe, spewing effluent into a river. I thought, 'This is revolting. We are going to drink this stuff. What are we doing?'"

Biodynamics goes beyond organic, embracing the idea that everything is connected, and how you treat the soil, the plants, the insects, the animals and the grapes you pick, they all have an impact on the quality of the harvest. It’s an intertwined, living system influenced by the pull of the moon and the sun—there’s an emphasis on harnessing these cycles. Natural matter is incorporated into the soil, sometimes in seemingly bizarre ways like burying ground quartz stuffed into the horn of a cow. 

However you feel about the practice, it’s hard to argue with the results at Chateau Maris. Here’s a quote from The Wine Advocate’s Jeb Dunnuck about the wines: “. . .they’re impressive across the board and offer serious levels of fruit and texture, while staying fresh, balanced and very drinkable. They also represent superb values . . .” 

But Eden didn’t stop his organic crusade at the vineyard— he carried on through to the winery. To call it green would be an understatement. Built from hemp lime bricks supported by a wood structure, with a planted roof, it regulates both temperature and moisture, while requiring no ventilation (other than roof vents), cooling or heating. Another plus is that the hemp absorbs CO2 decreasing the winery’s carbon footprint. In addition, as they absorb the CO2, a byproduct of fermentation, the bricks become darker and much harder. They should continue to carbonate for another 25 years. Here’s the line-up of wines we’re offering from this outstanding producer:

2014 Maris Old School Rouge, $11.99
A blend of young vine Syrah and Grenache from estate grown, handpicked fruit, fermented with natural yeast in concrete tanks. The goal (a successful one) is to create a wine that preserves the freshness of the fruit.

2013 Le Carignan de Maris, $12.99
Organic Carignan is blended with biodynamic Grenache (20 percent) in a wine that the Wine Advocate’s Jeb Dunnuck rated 91 points, extolling its classic plum, spring flowers, crushed rock and beautiful purity. Amazing value.

2013 Ch. Maris La Touge, $14.99
The Syrah and Grenache grapes for this wine are grown on a mix of hard and soft limestone and alluvial soils, hand picked, then aged in large oak vats. The nose offers black fruits with
notes of spice and herb. The silky flavors are a mix of raspberry and blackberry fruit. Another top scorer with a range of 88 to 91 points from the Wine Advocate.

2013 Ch. Maris Natural Selection, $14.99
A wine that’s about as green as you can get from the ultralight bottle to the recycled paper label, and with absolutely no chemical additives. It’s a lush, plush blend of biodynamically
grown Syrah and Grenache.

Wines for a Holiday Feast

March 27 is Easter Sunday, a day for a celebratory meal that typically centers around either lamb or ham. Either way, we’ve got the wine match covered. The classic pairing for lamb is Bordeaux or Bordeaux-style blends, especially those with a healthy portion of Cabernet Sauvignon. Here are four Wine Shop favorites:

  • 2010 Chateau Chasse-Spleen, $49.00
  • 2010 Chateau Haut-Bergey, $44.00

Two Cabernet dominant Bordeaux from an undeniably excellent vintage.

  • 2012 Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon, $56.00

A blend from California—85 percent Cabernet.

  • 2008 Syzygy Cabernet Sauvignon, $37.00

One hundred percent Cabernet from Walla Walla.

For ham, you can go white, red or rosé. Dry Riesling is a great choice for the white. Any of the following, each from a different region, will work well:

  • 2014 Pewsey Vale Dry Riesling, $15.99

From Australia’s Eden Valley.

  •   2014 Gobelsburg Riesling, $17.99

A lovely entry from Austria.

  • 2013 Schloss Schönborn Rüdesheimer, $21.00

Delicious German Trocken Riesling.

  • 2012 Schoenheitz Riesling, Linsenberg, $21.00

Classic dry Riesling from Alsace.

When it comes to red, think fruit forward with softer tannins. Beaujolais’ Gamay Noir and Burgundy’s Pinot Noir make for perfect pairings. You won’t go wrong with any of these:

For Beaujolais, here are four top cru wines from the very good 2013 vintage that’s drinking beautifully now:

  • Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py, $33.00
  • Stephane Aviron Fleurie, $20.00
  • M & C Lapierre Morgon, $28.00
  • Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly, $25.00

While Burgundy is still synonymous with Pinot Noir, over the past decade or two, the grape has finally shown it’s potential in other regions, as all of the following show:

  • 2014 Evesham Wood Willamette Valley, $20.00

A genuine bargain from Oregon.

  • 2012 Joseph Swan, Cuvée de Trois, $32.00

An exceptional Pinot from a California pioneer.

  • 2013 The Crater Rim, Waipara, $28.00

Proof of New Zealand’s affinity for Pinot Noir.

  • 2013 Refugio, $27.00

From Chile, another new frontier for quality Pinot.

Last, but not least, four oh-so-versatile, food-friendly rosés, two of which are sparkling, and three of which are on member sale:

  • 2014 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre, SALE $18.99

Save big on Pinot rosé regularly priced at $26.

  • 2014 Mas de Gourgonnier, SALE $12.99

Drinking beautifully now, and you save $6.

  • Macarico Serra Delle More, SALE $22.00

A traditionally made sparkler, fermented in the bottle.

  • Zuccolo Brut Rosé, $12.99

A definite best buy from Italy.

2016 Cellar Tastings

All tastings are from 6-7:30 p.m. on Friday evening in the Boise Co-op Wine Shop.
Special pricing on featured wines will be offered at the tastings.

All tastings are $35 per person and seating is limited.

March 4 - The Wines of Domaine Roty
“ It is possible that only Domaine Fourrier can compete on an ‘average’ age basis in Gevrey; Roty’s vines average more than 60 years of age.” Almost every wine from Roty we have has received a heart from Burghound, the wines are all that good. Here is a chance to try several vintages and villages from this outstanding producer.

March 18th – Washingtons Big Guns
Wines from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah grown in Washington State. We will try Betz, Quilceda Creek, Andrew Will and Cayuse as well as a few others to see if these wines really do rock the wine world.

April 8th – Barolo and Barbaresco
Nebbiolo, the wine of kings, will be given a spotlight in this tasting. We will try different vintages and producers to learn about these legendary wines of Piedmont.

April 22nd – White Burgundy
A comprehensive look at Chardonnay from the Cotes du Beaune as well as wines from Macon and the Cotes Chalonnaise. 2014 is the new “best vintage ever” and we will try a few wines from this as well as a few other vintages.

Call the Wine Shop (208 472-4519) or e-mail [email protected] to reserve your seat.

Think Pink for Valentine’s Day

Flowers are fine, but make mine wine; and what could be more appropriate for Valentine 's Day than a lovely bottle of rosé? Although we are reaching the end of the 2014 vintages, we still have a good selection. The wines are drinking great, but we need to make room for the 2015's, arriving
some time in March, so we've put all the 2014's on Member Sale. You'll be able to buy them at rock bottom prices (think our cost), and you can still save 10% on six or more, or use your 10% coupon if you just want to buy a bottle or two. Here’s just a partial list of what’s on sale:

  • Italo Pietrantonj Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo, $7.99 (reg. $9.99)
  • Mas des Bressades, $7.99 (reg. $11.99)
  • Villa des Collines, $10.99 (reg. $13.99)
  • Les Rochelles Cabernet d’Anjou Demi-sec, $10.99 (reg. $13.99)
  • Loimer Zweigelt, $12.99 (reg. $16.99)
  • Domaine Gerard Fiou Sancerre, $12.99 (reg. $18.99)
  • Mas de Gourgonnier, $12.99 (reg. $18.99)
  • Clos du Caillou, $13.99 (reg. $18.99) )
  • Chateau les Crostes, $14.99 (reg. $18.99)

Hurry in for best selection!