The 3 Horse Ranch from Idaho

Now would be a great time to have an interactive site to be able to ask, “by a show of hands, how many of you are aware that Idaho state makes wine?”  Yes, our beautiful neighbors to the east produce more than breathtaking scenery and the nation’s helping of mashed potatoes.  While I have known for some time that Idaho has stepped into the wonderful world of wine, the one and only bottle I’ve ever tried was enough to tell me, “Those grapes need more time to age.”

Most every Thursday night, I have the pleasure of having my dad provide some wonderful kitchen creation for myself and my two kids (husband too, when he can make it).  This all started a few months ago in an effort to provide me with some “down time” after a week of classes and endless hours of studying (insert *my dad is the greatest*  flashing sign). I at least try to provide the wine.  This past Thursday he informed me he had picked up a few bottles from Costco after meeting the winery owner, no need for me to stop, and  something for me to review.

The winery is 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards, located in Eagle, Idaho.  As I don’t know

Map of Eagle, ID

Map of Eagle, ID

where Eagle is located, I provided a map :)  And conveniently found one to include Spokane, WA, as well. Now you know where I am located.  The owner, Gary Cunningham, began 3 Horse Ranch back in 2003 in the newly formed Snake River Valley AVA.  If organic is your preference (often it is mine), you are in luck as 3 Horse Ranch has been certified USDA Organic by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.  Being that I love horses, I find the label quite historically beautiful.  Up for review tonight are two 2012 vintages: the Vivacious white blend, and the Reserve Rosé.

2012 Vivacious white blend is dry feel with sweet taste

2012 Vivacious white blend is dry feel with sweet taste

The 2012 Vivacious white blend is composed of 68% Viognier and 32% Roussane.  Both typically are dry white blends, and so “Dry” is what I was expecting.  On the nose, I was caught by surprise by aromas of sweet honeysuckle. The pear and hint of peach that followed were pleasant and welcoming on such a hot day.  Floral flavors are met with peaches on a brightly acidic palate; light oak accompany a sweet, lingering finish.  You may not notice it right away, but the wine does have a bright, dry mouthfeel to it.  So yes, this is a “dry white wine” as the back label indicates; though I don’t know I agree with the level of dryness, as the sweet peach does tend to mask it.  On a hot summer day, a chilled glass of Vivacious and a relaxing backyard setting?  I’m in!  This wine paired quite well with Garlic Shrimp Scampi over Spinach spaghetti.  Dad’s recipe :)  The 2012 Vivacious took a Silver medal at the 2011 Tri-Cities Wine Festival.  Not too shabby given the quality of wines that come from this area!

3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2012 Vivacious White:  ★★★☆☆ (good wine!)

Winemaker’s Notes: A lightly oaked, perfectly balanced blend of two great white Rhone varietals, a most beautiful marriage. Blending the voluptuous mouth feel and aromatics of the Viognier grape to the more acidic, floral side of the Roussanne grape expresses the terroir of our vineyards as well as any wine we have produced. 12.9% Alcohol.

It appears we have seen the last of our hot summer weather, at least for the time being.  As I expect Spokane will have another scorcher of a summer, I will continue to search for new Rosé wines that will satisfy the hottest of hot days.  So far my favorite goes to Renegade Wines 2012 Rosé by Slight of Hand Cellars.  A virtual tasting of this wine was done a few weeks ago and the general consensus was “Buy!!”  And I agree. It may be my new house Rosé this year. The Washington Wine Report will give you more information on this fabulous little gem with a great price tag ($11-$15).  For tonight, however, we will continue with Idaho state: 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards and their 2012 Reserve Rosé.

Beautiful in salmon pink, this Rosé is comprised of 60% Merlot, 29% Grenache,

2012 Reserve Rosé

2012 Reserve Rosé

and 11% Mourvédre.  The nose opens up bright with strawberries.  Further sniffing reveals a tiny hint of citrus blossom.  The palate is equally bright with fresh, ripe strawberries and tart raspberry.  A crisp, acidic feel, and light oak lingers on this finish.  Like it’s Vivacious counterpart, this wine also scales itself as “Dry”.  I would say quite accurately stated.  After devoting 12 hours today to studying, opening this little jewel gave me a few moments of summertime “Ahhhhh….” The Rosé has been awarded the Silver medal as well from the 2011  Northwest Wine Summit.

3 Horse Ranch Vineyards 2012 Reserve Rosé:  ★★★★☆ (great wine)

Winemaker’s Notes: Our very dry French Style Rose is one of our most popular creations. This 5th vintage showcases the same beautiful nose of fresh garden strawberries and hints of raspberry. The crisp acidity makes this a perfect match for so many types of food and cheeses that you can enjoy a summer day in Provence and day of the year. 12.7% Alcohol.

I have inquired as to where one may be able to locate the wines of 3 Horse Ranch. I have seen their wines at Costco, but they are also available to order by contacting the winery at  Vivacious retails for approximately $16, and the Rosé runs $15 via the website.  When I receive this information, I will update this blog.

I raise my glass to Idaho and the 3 Horse Ranch Vineyards.

Have you tried this wine before? Please share your experiences in the comments below!


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