2016 Rizza

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2016 Rizza
2016 Rizza

Snake River Valley

Tasting notes


Made exclusively from the Riesling grape, the fruit for the Rizza is harvested early in the fall and fermented all the way to dryness. The base wine is then sweetened and hand-bottled, individually administered with encapsulated yeast, capped by hand, and given time while we patiently wait for it to ferment to dryness once again. After disgorging (removing the yeast) one bottle at a time, the bottle is lightly dosed with sugar to bring the racy acidity and exuberant bubbles into a crisp, but lush balance. The most labor-intensive, and arguably one of the most beloved wines in our cellar, the Rizza is a true, Champagne-method treat for both the palate and the soul!

Sawtooth Vineyard - 70 Acres
This estate-vineyard for Sawtooth Winery is one of the warmer sites in Idaho. This site is well-suited for Cabernet Sauvignon compared to "cooler" sites in Idaho. Other varietals planted at Sawtooth Vineyard include Cabernet Franc, Roussannne, Pinot Gris, Syrah, and Merlot. Unique volcanic ash soils, typical blazing heat in July and August, and elevation of more than 2,700 feet contribute to a set of growing conditions like no other in the state. At Sawtooth, because of its slope and a variety of aspects, you'll find Rhone varieties, big Spanish reds like Tempranillo, and Chardonnay all thriving together.
Sawtooth is also host to USDA-ARS long-term study blocks of lesser-known cultivars (Gruner and Graciano are eye-openers!) and special trellising experiments for Riesling. Although there are elements at the top of the hill reminiscent of The Mosel and Mendoza, Sawtooth and the Snake River Valley AVA are making stunning wines from this dirt that are uniquely Idaho. As more about this wine region unfolds with science, we are privileged to witness it firsthand.
Skyline Vineyard - 400 Acres
One of the most significant plantings of wine grapes in Idaho, Skyline Vineyard lends itself to many different varietals. With south, west, north and east facing slopes, the micro-climate differs greatly at the site, allowing for a wide selection of varietals to be planted. The south and west facing slopes are the warmer areas of the vineyard, better suited for vinifera grapes which thrive on the long, hot days of the Idaho summers, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Whereas the east and north facing slopes are ideal for varieties requiring more vigor and cooler climates, such as Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling (Sawtooth's 2011 Riesling was named in Wine & Spirits US Best Riesling, 2012).
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