Bitner Vineyards 2012 Erletxe Tempranillo, Snake River Valley, $27
In Spanish, this means “bee house” and is pronounced air-LAY-chay, which is Idaho bee biologist Ron Bitner’s tribute to friends he met in the Basque country. Greg Koenig often works with Bitner’s vines for bottlings under the Bitner Vineyards brand, but they pulled Tempranillo of Skyline Vineyard — Idaho’s largest site — for an exceptional expression of the Iberian Peninsula bold red grape. Its slightly brickish hue opens the door to aromas of sweet herbs, black cherry, blackberry, smoked figs, light chocolate and lavender. Its structure is rich, bright and delicious with plums, cherries and more chocolate as acidity pushes just ahead of the elegant tannins. A thread of mint, green peppercorns and clove blend in the finish. This charmed judges at the 2015 Idaho Wine Competition, earning a gold medal. Enjoy with Basque-influenced cuisine.
Production: 74 cases
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