When I mentioned that Idaho Wine Country in an up and coming wine region, people were shocked to say the least.  And is it because you don’t really think of Idaho as a major producer of wine grapes or because there really is this mystique of Idaho if you haven’t spent time there yet?

And you know I love trying new sparkling wines, but even I was definitely a bit skeptical.  Even after spending so much time in Washington and Oregon, I heard about the natural beauty of Idaho, but never ventured over there for any amount of time partially because I loved the wine tasting opportunities in Oregon and Washington.  

After doing some homework, here’s what I found interesting.  While Idaho is very much an up and coming wine region, as of the summer of 2024, there are only 3 sparkling wine producers.  And I am thrilled that my first experience tasting Idaho Wine, bubbly style, is with the family business 3100 Cellars.  

And after chatting with Hailey at 3100 Cellars, it’s clear they are the sparkling wine pioneers of Idaho Wine Country producing the best sparkling wine with their first commercial vintage happening back in 2014.  And fast forward 10 years, they have a variety of sparkling wines with new releases each year.

3100 Cellars Story

With over 3,100 whitewater river miles in the state of Idaho, Hailey and her husband, Marshall met on the Middle Fork of the Salmon and decided to make sparkling wine while on a trip.  A true family business in that her parents actually planted the estate vineyard in 2017 and now they manage it. Hailey and Marshall manage the wine production and the tasting room that is very new to the property.

Their property is located minutes from downtown Eagle, Idaho, in the Eagle Foothills AVA.  

Why Sparkling Wine?

Well, the answer to that is simple, because they believe every great wine region should make sparkling wine, they decided, it might as well be them.  And I for one am so grateful for this.  

I was excited that all of their sparkling wine is made in the traditional method which means that the second fermentation (which is where the bubbly magic happens) takes place in the bottle.  These bottles will be aged on lees for however long the winemaker decides and then will be disgorged and ready for you to enjoy.  

And Hailey shared some fun facts with me about how they do this even though the two regions (Idaho and Champagne, France) couldn’t be more different.  

In the Boise area, there are over 300 sunny days a year.  And in the Champagne region of France, there are over 250 overcast days a year.  So right there they new their selection of the best grapes would be very different and they would have to select fruits that ripen early in the ripening process like Malbec, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Mourvedre and Syrah.

And I know what you might be thinking, red wines like Syrah and Mourvedre aren’t typical sparkling wine varietals and you would be right.  And that’s what’s so fun about 3100 Cellars. They hold true to the traditional method, but do so with their own twist to lean into the Idaho Wine region and the wine grapes that are more prevalent there due to their unique terroir and sunny days.

3100 Cellars Sparkling Wines

So let’s dig into the sparkling wines we tasted.

Sparkling White Wines

  • 2019 Whitewater-Sparkling Chardonnay
  • 2021 Pool & Drop-Sparkling Gewurztraminer
  • 2022 Double Captain White in a can

Sparkling Rosé Wines

  • 2022 Initial Descent -Sparkling Malbec Rosé
  • 2022 Double Captain Rosé in a can

Of course, we tried these on their own first, cleansing our palate between tastes.  These sparkling wines were great on their own, and lucky for us we were pairing them with homemade Idaho Potato chips which was the perfect pairing.

2019 Whitewater – Blanc de Blanc

I started with the Whitewater mainly because I love chardonnay.  And a blanc de blanc (100% chardonnay) (paired with potato chips) is perfection in my book. This bottle sits on lees for 42 months which allows for more pronounced flavor development. With 4g/l dosage, this bottle of bubbly, this is a extra brut (dry) and is easy to drink and, of course pair with food.  If you’re looking for a blanc de blanc, this is a great choice.  

2022 Initial Descent – Sparkling Malbec Rosé

Next, I tried the sparkling malbec rosé because I have never had one before and I was so intrigued. This malbec rosé was delightful.  This sparkling malbec rosé had me messaging all my wine loving friends with:  “I have 3 words for you: sparkling malbec rosé!”  

Great with this pairing, but perfect on its own for these warm summer nights.  With 10g/l dosage, this brut rosé is just so good.  Based off the 10g/l dosage I was expecting it to be sweeter, but it was not sweet at all.  The nose on this sparkling wine is perfect that you really could just smell it all night long.  It’s aged on lees for 13 months.  

2021 Pool & Drop-Sparkling Gewurztraminer

I finished the bottles with the sparkling gewurztraminer.  With 8 g/l dosage, this bottle of brut is perfect for the gewurztraminer lover.  It’s aged for 2 years on lees.  

Sparkling Wine Cans

Next we moved to the cans.  Now, this is not something they typically have, but when your equipment fails, you figure out how to make the best of it.  They had all this wine from the 2022 vintage and just needed the help of some friends who own a brewery to get it into cans so they didn’t lose the everything.  

These cans are so easy to take to a BBQ and we enjoyed the Double Captain White the best as it was crisp and easy to drink.

The Future of 3100 Cellars

When I received these bottles, I was surprised to see they had been disgorged and then sealed with crown caps.  So I asked about them because I was genuinely curious.  Hailey shared with me that they use crown caps because they can secure them from local sales channels for just a few hundred dollars while a corker must be purchased overseas for anywhere from $15-20K.

Here’s the best part of 3100 Cellars, they new it was possible to make the best sparkling wine in Idaho, but since no one else was doing it, they were going to have to invest in all the equipment on their own.  So while it took some time, they recently just invested in a semi-automated disgorging line with a corker, wire hooder, and foiler.  So moving forward, they will be disgorging their bottles and corking them just as they would in Champagne, France.

3100 Cellars Wine Club

Do you want to guarantee that you will receive their limited production of sparkling wines every year?  Well, it’s easy, join the wine club.  Whether it’s a special occasion or just in the spirit of adventure, they do believe you should always have bubbles to toast with. 

3100 Cellars Tasting Room

Yes, you can now go and visit the 3100 Cellars tasting room right in the Eagle Foothills AVA.  Not only will you taste their delicious sparkling wines, but you’ll experience their vineyard and get a peak at how they make their sparkling wine.

Tasting fees are $15 per person, waived with a three (or more) bottle purchase. Currently wine tastings are available Thursday-Saturday 12:30-3:30.  Simply call Hailey at 208-949-6613 or email info@3100cellars.com to book your next tasting.

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