Boise-area winemaker Hailey Minder turned some of Idaho’s oldest Chardonnay — Bitner Vineyards — into one of the Pacific Northwest’s best interpretations of Champagne. “Whitewater” is the title she and her husband, a former river guide, gave to their blanc de blanc made using traditional methods. It’s an appropriate name, considering the abundant bubbles of its mousse. It opens with a bit of yeast and lemon in the nose before lime, lemon, Granny Smith apple and juicy acidity wash across the palate. At the Cascadia International Wine Competition, its voyage began with a unanimous vote for gold — aka double gold medal — and popped out as the best sparkling wine. In the sweepstakes, it dominated the voting for best of show.
Rating: Double gold medal, best of class, best of show — 94 points
Production: 200 cases