Founded in 2003, Precept Wine is the largest privately owned wine company in the Northwest, and believes that:
WINE without character isn't worth drinking.WINE improves the quality of life.WINE reflects the people who make it.
We recently received samples of two Idaho wineries owned by Precept, Ste. Chapelle and Sawtooth Winery. When Galileo Galilei famously wrote, "Wine is sunlight, held together by water," he was probably not referring to Idaho white wines, but he might as well have been. They are truly an astounding sight in the glass, glowing golden yellow like rays of the sun. Turns out they're pretty good to drink as well, as are the reds. Both wineries are based in the Snake River Valley AVA, Idaho's first designated AVA, established in 2007, and are nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Snake River. Leading varietals in the AVA include Syrah, Viognier, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Riesling, Malbec, and Tempranillo.
Founded in 1976 by the Symms family, Ste. Chapelle Winery is named after the beautiful La Sainte Chapelle in Paris, built by King Louis IX as the court chapel during the 13th century. The winery tasting room follows the airy feel of La Sainte Chapelle with its high, bright cathedral-style windows, vaulted ceilings with wooden beams and a stained glass grapevine window greeting its visitors. Idaho native Maurine Johnson joined Ste. Chapelle in the summer of 1987 with agricultural roots and a background in chemistry and biology.
One thing we did note is that, in general, these wines are more suitable for those with a sweeter palate. Not cloying, all well-balanced, but definitely on the sweet side of the scale.2012 Special Harvest Riesling: spice, melon, citrus, and floral aromas; honeyed apricot and honeydew melon flavors; luscious mouthfeel and finish (SRP $10)
2012 Chateau Series Riesling: pale straw color; floral and faint lemon scents; honey, stone fruit, and a bit of tart citrus flavors, creamy mouthfeel with a medium finish; sweet (SRP $8)
2012 Chateau Series Moscato: Amazing light straw color; floral, melon, and tropical aromas; stone fruit, melon and subtle raspberry flavors: tart citrus into a lingering finish; round mouthfeel; on the sweeter side (SRP $8)
The winery, formerly known as Pintler Cellars, was founded in 1987 and started as a fifteen-acre vineyard in the heart of the Canyon County region. The new Sawtooth label is distinctly unique, depicting the jagged Sawtooth mountains and conveying the grandeur of Idaho's scenic wilderness and sporting. Winemaker Bill Murray (no, not THAT Bill Murray) travelled from Napa via Spain to make wines here.
2010 Skyline Red: deep ruby red; dusty dark plum aromas; fruit forward with vibrant red cherry, peppercorn, and earthy red currant flavors; medium mouthfeel into tannic finish (SRP $12)Disclaimer: Wines were provided as media samples for review purposes.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon: opaque dark garnet color with mahogany edge; earthy dark cherry and cream soda aromas; stewed plum and black cherry flavors; round mouthfeel with slight tannic bite; medium finish (SRP $14)
2011 Syrah: dark ruby red; earthy red currant aromas; dark cherry and plum flavors; medium mouthfeel shot through with tannins; lingering finish (SRP $14)
2010 Chardonnay: pear and apple aromas; more apple with vanilla flavors; creamy and well-balanced (SRP $12)
2010 Late Harvest Riesling: Honey, stone fruit and stephanotis aromas; honeydew, tangerine, tropical fruit flavors; creamy mouthfeel with a caramel tasting finish that lingers (SRP $12)
2012 Pinot Gris: Beautiful aromas of grapefruit and musty flowers; honeyed almond and lemon flavors; nicely balanced into a finish with some earthy notes (SRP $12)
2011 Riesling: Magnolia and kumquat on the nose; starfruit, honey, and peach flavors; balanced feel leading into a crisp lemony finish (SRP $12)
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