Food + Wine

Alternative Wine Trails

by Evan Rail

Snake River, Idaho

Oregon has a great reputation for its legendary pinot noirs and pinot gris, but at least one of that state's many wine appellations—the Snake River Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA)—is actually located primarily within the neighboring state of Idaho. Set in the beautiful hill and canyon country west of Boise, the Snake River Valley AVA contains a sudden bounty of 29 Idaho winemakers, from the oversize Ste. Chapelle, pictured, (with 55 percent of the state's entire production) to smaller, boutique producers like Cinder Wines and Huston Vineyards.

Surprisingly, most of the wineries are within a half-hour's drive of the state capital, making wine-tasting trips easy for travelers. Due to the Snake River Valley's inland location, substantial day-to-night temperature changes, and success with sweet rieslings, the area might seem a good domestic substitute for Germany's Mosel wine region, home to some of the best sweet rieslings in Europe. But the emerging dry reds produced here from malbec bring to mind another favorite New World viticultural zone: the Mendoza region of Argentina.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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