Saturday, July 14, 2012

Williamson Vineyards A Great Southern Idaho Oasis

The front door of the Williamson Winery. 
Left takes you to the fruit.  Right takes you to the Juice!

No matter where I travel I make it a real point to visit the local wineries. It has been something that my wife and I have done for many years. Just our way of being touristy I suppose.
This last week when we were in the Boise Valley I wanted to make at least one stop in Idaho wine country. It being a Monday, I knew that most of the self respecting places would be closed, recovering from the busy Independence day weekend.

However, we did luck out as we drove toward Lizard Butte outside of Marsing, Idaho. Litterally a driveway away from the Ste Chappelle Winery that I wrote about a few weeks ago, was a winery owned by the Williamson family.

For those of us from the Boise Valley, we grew up knowing that there were basically three major families in the fruit business from that region. The Symms, the Saxtons, and the Williamsons. Little did I know that over all these years, the Williamsons, like the Symms, have gotten very busy in the wine industry.

The Williamson's Many Wine Awards
Williamson Fruit celebrated 100 years in 2009. Originally a homestead of Lillian Williamson and her husband George Gammon. The farm has grown from having to deliver water by horse and trailer to water the trees, to being a major producer of tree fruit in the region.

The Williamson Family got into the wine business about 20 years ago. They saw the success of their neighbors and decided that putting in some vines wouldn’t be a bad idea. A few years ago they entered into an agreement with Rob Koenig from Koenig Winery, which is just down the street about 200 yards.

With Koenig at the winemaking helm, the Williamsons have done very well for themselves. They have acquired many trophies, ribbons, and accolades over the past decade.

We pulled into the fruit stand/winery at the end of the day. The very friendly winery staff actually came out to greet us, and tasted us through their portfolio. Once they found out who I was they even opened a couple of “special” bottles for us to try.

I can’t share with you the notes from the entire portfolio, but these are the notes on my favorites.

The 2011 Dry Riesling is done in an Alsace style, using german yeasts. It is an off-dry with a 1.86 residual sugar, which allows the fruit, spices, and creaminess come through from the malolactic fermentation. This would have been great with a nice buttery scallop.

Williamson’s Rose’ is called Blossom. Made from the 2011 vintage of Sangiovese grapes, this wine is subtley sweet and spicy. The wine shows flavors of wild strawberry, white pepper, and melon.

The 2006 Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon were both very drinkable. I particularly liked the characteristics of the syrah, with dark berries, black cherry, and pepper. The finish was very nice on this wine.

As a special treat I got to taste the 2006 Reserve Petite Syrah. This wine shows great potential for ageing, The nose is rich with dark berries, and the flavors of blackberry, blueberry, pepper, and tobacco make this wine fantastic!
Last, the winery offers several late harvest wines and a nice port. I suggest trying them, as they are all very nice.

You can find Williamson Orchards, and a map to their tasting room at I suggest making a stop in the next time you travel through Southern Idaho.


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