This year, one of the most highly anticipated competitions of 2021 took place. After much planning and preparation, many worried that COVID would put a stop to the festivities before they even began. But with an abundance of caution, the fun and games went off without a hitch. Records were broken. Medals were given. Drama filled the air. And the glasses. No, we’re not talking about that other competition, the Olympic Games. This was the 12th annual Idaho Wine Competition, a celebration of Idaho wines and winemakers.The competition, which is organized jointly by Great Northwest Wine and the Idaho Wine Commission, took place on Tuesday, August 17, 2021 and was supported by a judging panel of respected writers, sommeliers, winemaking consultants, wine buyers and industry experts—each determined to find and recognize the very best of the best on offer in the Gem State.
“We look forward to the Idaho Wine Competition each year because it allows us to showcase the incredible winemakers in our state on a national level,” said Moya Dolsby, executive director of the Idaho Wine Commission. “By partnering with Great Northwest Wine, it allows us to bring in some of the most influential wine experts to experience our region and taste our wines—and ultimately produce more ambassadors for Idaho’s wine industry.”
This year’s competition was the largest one yet, with exactly 180 Idaho wines representing 37 wineries from across the state. “It feels like each year we host the Idaho Wine Competition the wines just get better and better—and with the highest number of entries this year, you can really feel the strength of this growing wine region,” said Eric Degerman, Great Northwest Wine president and CEO, and Idaho Wine Competition director.
As always, the judges evaluated each wine blind, meaning there were no labels, corks or other clues to influence their judgement. Each wine was evaluated on the wine’s appearance, aroma, taste, texture and overall quality. And like last year, they tasted at a socially safe distance from their fellow judges. It helps that the venue was once again held at the spacious (and luxurious) Koenig Vineyards, which also set the stage for 2020’s competition.
Here are this year’s champions...
Best of Show/Best Red/Double Gold medal: Hat Ranch Winery 2018 Rivaura Vineyards Cabernet Franc, Lewis-Clark Valley $34
Best White Wine/Double Gold medal: Cinder Wines 2020 Dry Viognier, Snake River Valley $25
Best Rosé: Cinder Wines 2020 Cinsault Rosé, Snake River Valley $23
Best Sparkling/Double Gold medal: Coiled Wines 2018 Rizza, Washington $30
Best Sweet Wine/Double Gold medal: Roghani Vineyards 2015 Riesling Late Harvest, Snake River Valley $30.40
Best of Class/Double Gold medal:
- Camas Prairie Winery 2020 Raspberry Mead, Idaho $14
- Clearwater Canyon Cellars 2019 Heritage Series Louis Delsol Cabernet Sauvignon, Lewis-Clark Valley $32
- Huston Vineyards 2020 Huston Estate Grüner Veltliner, Snake River Valley $38
- Cinder Wines 2019 Valentina Red Wine, Snake River Valley $32
- Indian Creek Winery 2020 Riesling, Snake River Valley $18
- Telaya Wine Co. 2018 Syrah, Snake River Valley $34
Best of Class/Gold medal:
- Indian Creek Winery 2019 Reserve Chardonnay, Snake River Valley $24
- Coiled Wines 2019 Merlot, Snake River Valley $34
- Kerry Hill Winery 2018 Malbec, Snake River Valley $45 Indian Creek Winery 2018 Reserve
- Tempranillo, Snake River Valley $32
- Lindsay Creek Vineyards 2016 Petite Sirah, Washington $28
Double Gold medal:
- 3100 Cellars 2018 Runoff Rosé, Snake River Valley $36
- Hat Ranch Winery 2020 Sèmillon, Snake River Valley $25
- Holesinsky Winery and Vineyard 2018 100% CH Syrah, Snake River Valley $32
- Koenig Vineyards 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley $28
- Koenig Vineyards 2019 Riesling Ice Wine, Snake River Valley $26
- Cinder Wines 2019 Tempranillo, Snake River Valley $32
- Clearwater Canyon Cellars NV Waha II, Washington $28
- Coiled Wines 2019 Black Mamba, Snake River Valley $34
- Free Dog Wines 2020 Albariño, Snake River Valley $18
- Free Dog Wines 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley $25
- Fujishin Family Cellars 2019 Malbec, Snake River Valley $27.95
- Hat Ranch Winery 2020 Rosé, Snake River Valley $20
- Holesinsky Winery and Vineyard 2018 100% JH Syrah, Snake River Valley $22
- Holesinsky Winery and Vineyard 2020 Idapeach Sangria, Snake River Valley $14
- Holesinsky Winery and Vineyard 2020 Sparkling Unicorn Rosé of Syrah, Snake River Valley $18
- Huston Vineyards 2019 Malbec, Snake River Valley $32
- Indian Creek Winery 2018 For the Mountains Malbec, Snake River Valley $25
- Indian Creek Winery 2020 Viognier, Snake River Valley $17
- Jovinea Cellars 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington $26
- Koenig Vineyards 2019 Estate Viognier, Snake River Valley $18
- Rivaura Estate Vineyards & Winery 2020 Estate Vineyards Rosé of Cabernet Franc, Lewis-Clark Valley $19
- Rolling Hills Vineyard 2018 Cabernet Franc, Eagle Foothills $45
- Sawtooth Winery 2020 Classic Fly Chenin Blanc, Snake River Valley $24
- SCORIA 2018 Merlot, Snake River Valley $32
- Williamson Vineyards 2020 Albariño, Snake River Valley $23
- Williamson Vineyards 2019 Malbec, Snake River Valley $26
- YKnot Winery 2019 Sèmillon, Snake River Valley $25
- SCORIA 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, Snake River Valley $32
- Ste. Chapelle 2020 Panoramic Chardonnay, Snake River Valley $26
Since the competition started in 2010, the Idaho wine industry has added two more American Viticulture Areas (AVAs), increased the number of Idaho wineries by 60 percent, and annually contributed more than $210 million to the Idaho economy. The competition also serves as a fundraiser for the Idaho Wine scholarship program.
Taste Idaho Gold for yourself
If you to take a stab at judging and taste these award-winning wines for yourself, check out the Idaho Wine Commission’s Taste Idaho Gold promotion going on now until September 21, 2021 (or until they sell out!). The curated full and half-case options of this year’s Gold Medal winners are offered at 10% off the retail price — allowing you to experience the best-of-the-best wines that Idaho has to offer while simultaneously supporting Idaho wineries. Also, conveniently available for pickup or delivery starting in October.
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