Koenig Vineyards dessert wine tops 7th Idaho Wine Competition

By on September 20, 2016
Ice wine harvest takes place in Idaho's Snake River Valley.

Workers pick frozen Riesling clusters for Koenig Vineyards in Idaho’s Snake River Valley. (Photo courtesy of Koenig Vineyards)

BOISE, Idaho – A dessert wine from one of Idaho’s top winemakers won best of show Tuesday afternoon at the seventh annual Idaho Wine Competition.

Koenig Vineyards’ 2014 Botrytis Single Berry Select Riesling, a late-harvest Riesling made in the style of a German trockenbeerenauslese, was the winner.

“No way! That’s so cool,” Greg Koenig told Great Northwest Wine. “I have to spend so much time explaining that wine because very few people have heard of botrytis. And they wonder why it is more expensive than ice wine, and they don’t understand what ‘single berry’ means. But they love the story behind it, and they seem to love the wine.

“I’ve only been able to make that wine in 2010 and 2014 because of the botrytis conditions,” Koenig added. “And with the warm summers we’ve been having lately, who knows if we’ll ever be able to do it again in Idaho?”

The competition, which took place at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in downtown Boise, drew a record 169 entries. The competition is run by Great Northwest Wine, a Washington-based media company, in cooperation with the Idaho Wine Commission.

Rhône-based reds, Rieslings impress judges

Mike Dunne, longtime wine writer for The Sacramento Bee in California, judged the competition for the second year in a row and said he was impressed with the quality of wines coming primarily from the Snake River Valley.

“The overall quality of has stepped up a notch,” he said. “Idaho is an area that is attempting to find the varietals and styles that will best grow here and best express the area.”

Dunne admitted a fascination with the region, as he wrote two columns last year for the Sacramento paper about Idaho wines.

Dunne was particularly interested in the Rieslings and Rhône-based reds, particularly those using Syrah.

The judges this year included Dunne, Naomi Boutz of the Cellar at 317 Sherman in Coeur d’Alene; Mary Cressler, wine writer from Portland; Ilene Dudunake, owner of A New Vintage Wine Shop in Meridian; Stephanie Earthman Baird, a longtime wine judge, distributor and educator in Houston; Lane Hoss, wine buyer for Anthony’s Restaurants in the Seattle area; Kat House, a wine educator and winemaking consultant in Boise; and Paul Sinclair, a retired educator for Kennewick, Wash., who is a longtime member of Great Northwest Wine’s tasting panel.

Here are the full results of the seventh annual Idaho Wine Competition:

Best of show/best dessert wine

Koenig Vineyards 2014 Botrytis Single Berry Select Late Harvest Riesling, Snake River Valley, $30

Best red

Split Rail Winery NV The Horned Beast Cernunnos Syrah-Grenache-Mourvedre, Snake River Valley, $29

Best rosé

Sawtooth Winery 2015 Classic Fly Series Grenache Rosé, Snake River Valley

Best white

Open Air 2015 Chardonnay, Snake River Valley

Best of class/double gold

Cinder Wines 2015 Off-Dry Riesling, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2014 Mountain Syringa Dry White Wine, Snake River Valley
Vine46 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington

Best of class/Gold

Cinder Wines 2014 Tempranillo, Snake River Valley
Terra Nativa Vineyards 2012 Reserve Merlot, Idaho

Double gold

Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2014 Phinny Hill Vineyard Carménère, Washington
Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2014 Umiker Vineyard Estate Syrah, Lewis-Clark Valley

Gold

Bitner Vineyards 2012 Reserve Petit Verdot Merlot, Snake River Valley
Bitner Vineyards 2015 Riesling, Snake River Valley
Crossings Winery 2012 Zabala Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Snake River Valley
Crossings Winery 2012 Bleu Noir Blaufrankisch, Snake River Valley
Holesinsky Winery 2011 Fat Man Red Blend, Snake River Valley
Huston Vineyards 2015 Chicken Dinner Red, Idaho 62%/Washington 38
Huston Vineyards 2015 Riesling, Snake River Valley
Sawtooth Winery 2015 Classic Fly Series Riesling, Snake River Valley
Split Rail Winery 2014 The Laser Fox Cinsault, Snake River Valley, $24
3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2015 Merlot Cabernet Franc, Washington

Silver medal

Bitner Vineyards 2012 Cabernet Shiraz, Snake River Valley
Camas Prairie Winery 2016 Raspberry Mead, Idaho
Cinder Wines 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Malbec, Snake River Valley
Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2014 Petite Sirah, Washington
Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2014 Verhey Vineyard Malbec, Washington
Coiled Wines 2014 Black Mamba, Snake River Valley
Coiled Wines 2014 Sidewinder Syrah, Snake River Valley
Coiled Wines 2015 Dry Riesling, Snake River Valley
Cold Springs Winery 2009 Phren/ology Riesling, Snake River Valley
Colter’s Creek Winery 2013 Arrow Rim Red GSM Wine, Idaho
Colter’s Creek Winery 2013 Koos•Koos•Kia Red, Idaho
Colter’s Creek Winery 2014 Chardonnay, Snake River Valley
Colter’s Creek Winery 2014 Syrah, Snake River Valley
Hat Ranch Winery 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay, Snake River Valley
Hat Ranch Winery 2015 Dry Moscato, Snake River Valley
Hells Canyon Winery 2014 Heritage Series Cabernet Franc, Snake River Valley
Holesinsky Winery 2004 Idaho 12 Year Port, Snake River Valley
Huston Vineyards 2014 Malbec, Snake River Valley
Huston Vineyards 2015 Chicken Dinner White Wine, Idaho
Huston Vineyards 2015 Private Reserve Chardonnay, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2014 Syrah, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2015 Muscat Canelli, Snake River Valley
Koenig Vineyards 2013 Three Vineyard Cuvee Syrah, Snake River Valley
Koenig Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley
Laissez Faire 2015 Red Table Wine, Idaho
Lindsay Creek Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington
Lindsay Creek Vineyards 2013 Merlot, Washington
Lindsay Creek Vineyards 2013 Petite Sirah, Washington
Lindsay Creek Vineyards 2014 Riesling, Washington
Lindsay Creek Vineyards 2015 Chardonnay, Washington
Pend d’Oreille Winery 2014 Bistro Rouge, Washington
Pend d’Oreille Winery 2015 Chardonnay, Snake River Valley
Pend d’Oreille Winery 2015 Riesling, Snake River Valley
Sawtooth Winery 2014 Classic Fly Series Merlot, Snake River Valley
Snake River Winery 2014 Arena Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley
Snake River Winery 2014 Arena Valley Vineyard Rosé of Sangiovese, Snake River Valley
Snake River Winery 2014 Arena Valley Vineyard Zweigelt, Snake River Valley
Split Rail Winery 2014 Barbera, Snake River Valley, $35
Ste. Chapelle Winery 2015 Panoramic Idaho Riesling Ice Wine, Snake River Valley
Telaya Wine Co. 2014 Boushey Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Yakima Valley
Telaya Wine Co. 2014 Mourvedre, Snake River Valley
Telaya Wine Co. 2014 Syrah, Snake River Valley
3 Horse Ranch Vineyard 2014 Single Vineyard Syrah, Eagle Foothills
3 Horse Ranch Vineyard 2014 Vivacious Proprietary Blend White Table Wine, Washington 81% Idaho 19%
3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2013 Beau Geste Red Blend, Idaho 55, Washington 29, Oregon 16
3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2013 Syrah/Mourvedre, Snake River Valley
3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2014 Pinot Gris, Washington
3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2014 Roussanne, Washington
3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2014 Single Vineyard Sangiovese, Eagle Foothills
3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2015 Dry Rosé, Washington 85% Idaho 15%
Vale Wine Co. 2015 Riesling, Snake River Valley
Vine46 2014 Malbec, Washington
Vine46 2014 Sangiovese, Washington
Vine46 2014 Trill Blend, Washington
Vizcaya Winery 2013 Malbec, Snake River Valley
Williamson Vineyards 2011 Reserve Petite Sirah, Snake River Valley

Bronze

Bitner Vineyards 2012 Menopause Merlot, Snake River Valley
Bitner Vineyards 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley
Bitner Vineyards 2015 Las Tres Mujeres, Snake River Valley
Cinder Wines 2014 Syrah, Snake River Valley
Cinder Wines 2015 Laissez Faire Sauvignon Blanc Chenin Blanc, Snake River Valley
Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2014 Renaissance Red,
Coiled Wines 2015 Rizza Sparkling Riesling, Snake River Valley
Cold Springs Winery 2010 Chron/ology Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley
Cold Springs Winery 2014 Myth/ology Chardonnay, Snake River Valley
Colter’s Creek Winery 2015 Rosé of Sangiovese, Lewis-Clark Valley
Crossings Winery 2001 Solera Style Passport Port, Snake River Valley
Crossings Winery 2012 Meritage, Snake River Valley
Crossings Winery 2012 Semillon, Snake River Valley
Feathered Winds Wine 2012 Malbec, Snake River Valley
Feathered Winds Wine 2015 Chardonnay, Snake River Valley
Fujishin Family Cellars 2014 Amatino Red Blend, Snake River Valley
Fujishin Family Cellars 2014 Tempranillo, Snake River Valley
Fujishin Family Cellars 2015 Reserve Viognier, Snake River Valley
Hat Ranch Winery 2015 Hat Trick White Wine, Snake River Valley
Hells Canyon Winery 2012 Artists Conservation Series Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley
Holesinsky Winery 2004 Idaho 12 Year Sherry, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2011 Ruby Dahlia Dessert Wine, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2012 Star Garnet Red Blend, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2013 My Best Friend Malbec, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2014 Merlot, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2014 Pinot Noir, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2014 Star Garnet, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2015 Viognier, Snake River Valley
Indian Creek Winery 2015 White Riesling, Snake River Valley
Koenig Vineyards 2012 Cuvee Alden Private Reserve, Snake River Valley
Koenig Vineyards 2014 Fraser Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon , Snake River Valley
Open Air 2014 Merlot, Snake River Valley
Open Air 2014 Red Blend, Snake River Valley
Parma Ridge Winery 2015 Fargo Farmes & Parma Ridge Vineyards Tre Bianchi White Wine, Snake River Valley
Pend d’Oreille Winery 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington
Pend d’Oreille Winery 2015 Vickers Vineyard Cuvee Julie Reserve Chardonnay, Snake River Valley
Sawtooth Winery 2013 Classic Fly Series Grenache, Snake River Valley
Sawtooth Winery 2013 Classic Fly Tempranillo, Snake River Valley
Sawtooth Winery 2013 Estate Skyline Red, Snake River Valley
Sawtooth Winery 2013 Trout Trilogy Carmenere, Snake River Valley
Sawtooth Winery 2014 Classic Fly Series Chardonnay, Snake River Valley
Sawtooth Winery 2014 Classic Fly Series Riesling, Snake River Valley
Scoria Vineyards 2013 Mourvedre, Snake River Valley
Scoria Vineyards 2013 Syrah, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Snake River Valley
Snake River Winery 2014 Arena Valley Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Snake River Valley
Ste. Chapelle Winery 2012 Panoramic Idaho Petit Verdot, Snake River Valley
Sweetbriar Vineyards 2014 Private Reserve Cabernet Franc, Idaho
Telaya Wine Co. 2014 Turas, Snake River Valley
3 Horse Ranch Vineyard 2014 Syrah, Snake River Valley
3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington
Vale Wine Co. 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley
Vale Wine Co. 2014 Syrah, Snake River Valley
Vizcaya Winery 2012 Tempranillo, Snake River Valley
Vizcaya Winery 2013 Windy Ridge Red, Snake River Valley
Williamson Vineyards 2012 Harvest Moon Red, Snake River Valley
Williamson Vineyards 2014 Sangiovese, Snake River Valley
Zhoo Zhoo 2015 Reserve Chardonnay, Snake River Valley
Zhoo Zhoo NV Blonde Chardonnay, Snake River Valley

 

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About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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  1. Pingback: Cinder Wines 2014 Tempranillo, Snake River Valley, $29 - Great Northwest Wine

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