Food & Drink

Northwest Wines: New documentary puts spotlight on Idaho wine

Idaho’s burgeoning wine industry got another boost in March with the premiere of documentary called “Idaho Wine: From Bud to Taste Bud.”

The film, made by the husband-wife team of Drew and Rhea Allen, showed their film at the Sun Valley Film Festival to positive reviews. They hope to now bring their production on the road to show others across the Pacific Northwest what Idaho wineries have to offer.

The Allens came up with the idea for “Idaho Wine” about five years ago, then spent the past two years filming the documentary through their company, Peppershock Media.

The film runs a bit more than an hour and tells the story of Idaho wine going back to its pre-Prohibition roots before diving into the origins of its modern history in the mid-1970s. The filmmakers also focus on many of the state’s newer wineries, including Cinder, Koenig, Bitner, Clearwater Canyon and others.

The film will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray later this spring. Peppershock Media is taking pre-orders at

To give you a flavor for the film, here are a few Idaho wine’s we’ve recently tasted.

3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2012 Reserve Merlot, Snake River Valley $21: Winemaker Greg Koenig has crafted a luscious red with tones of black cherry, dark plum, vanilla, toasted almond and black pepper. This wine earned the plaque for Best Merlot at the Seattle Wine and Food Experience Wine Awards. (13.9 percent alcohol)

Indian Creek Winery 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Snake River Valley, $14: Aromas of lemongrass, dried lime peel and yellow grapefruit expand on the palate, picking up flavors of gooseberry pie and Key lime with a juicy and steely finish. Enjoy with grilled brats and springtime salads. (13.5 percent alcohol)

Williamson Vineyard 2011 Reserve Petite Sirah, Snake River Valley, $35: Here is a dense, dark, earthy and chocolaty wine focused on blackberry and black plum. The variety’s tell-tale assertive tannin profile is well-structured. (14.2 percent alcohol)

Cinder Wines 2012 Tempranillo, Snake River Valley, $30: Winemaker Melanie Krause has crafted a bold drink with bright red fruit flavors of cherry, raspberry and rhubarb, backed by earthy black olive, yet the tannin structure is moderate compared with many in the Pacific Northwest. (13.5 percent alcohol)

Sawtooth Winery 2011 Trout Trilogy Petite Sirah, Snake River Valley, $30: Winemaker Meredith Smith shines in the Snake River Valley with Rhône varieties, including this blockbuster Petite Sirah. She captured aromas of black plum, elderberry, toasted oak, black truffle and charcoal, which are followed by a robust palate of dark plum, chocolate, coffee and bold tannins. (13.9 percent alcohol)

Coiled Wines 2012 Black Mamba, Snake River Valley, $30: Leslie Preston continues to strike gold in competitions with her wines, including her latest blend of Petit Verdot and Syrah. The nose comes at you with hints of chocolate sprinkles on heavy toast as well as pencil shavings amid black cherry and dark plum. The entry is big, dark and rich with plum and cherry flavors, backed by roasted meat, dried herbs and smooth tannins. (14.3 percent alcohol)

Fujishin Family Cellars 2012 Mourvèdre, Snake River Valley, $22: Owner Martin Fujishin has established a tradition of success with Rhône varieties, including Mourvèdre. This release shows elegance and fascinating spice tones of anise and white pepper behind blackberry and elderberry. The robust midpalate allows for a finish that leads with juicy acidity rather than tannins. (14.2 percent alcohol)

Ste. Chapelle 2012 Panoramic Idaho Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley, $25: In some years, it’s a struggle to ripen Cabernet Sauvignon in Idaho, but the stellar 2012 vintage made that less worrisome, and this wine reflects that, starting with the nose of cassis, chocolate-covered cherries, granite dust and a trail of smoke. There’s more dustiness among the dark fruit flavors of black cherry, black currant and blackberry. (13.8 percent alcohol)

Eric Degerman and Andy Perdue run Great Northwest Wine, a news and information company. Learn more about wine at