If you’re looking for a more thoughtful, in-depth wine tasting experience, here are 5 reasons to join us for our Varietal Vertical Immersions on March 21st and/or April 18th. Join us to discover wines from multiple vineyards that are still in the barrel, wines that are currently on the floor and rare 7-10 year old library wines.
5) Spend Time in the Columbia Gorge
The Columbia Gorge AVA was only established in 2004 but area wineries are winning awards, famous vintners are homesteading here and the many varietals that can grow in the regions 40-mile microclimate are similar to those grown in the Bordeaux region of France.
And that’s just the wine scene. Last year, Hood River, Oregon was named by Livability in the top 10 for America’s Best Small towns.
As a past 18-year resident, I can attest to the beauty of the area and the unparalleled passion for all things wine and food. Restaurants such as Celilo have been included in New York Times as an “upscale-healthy hip” favorite, Pfriem Brewery is a Northwest and Belgian inspired brewery winning awards left and right including the Gold at the recent Oregon Beer Awards (not an easy feat for a state known for its breweries). Boda’s Kitchen, a gourmet delicatessen, has been named one of the areas best restaurants. Their delicious and imaginative menu is locally sourced and their recent purchase of a high-end smoker bodes well for the meat-lover.
In 2008, “Bottle Shock” was featured at the Sundance Film Festival and made headlines for sharing the oft-referenced “Bottle Shock” story. French wine experts participated in blind wine tasting that illuminated the Napa and Sonoma Valley excellence and sometimes superior wines. In 1976, a small American winery bested the exalted French wines of the time and sent the wine industry into a tailspin – putting California wines on the map for good. Based on a true story, Bottle Shock chronicles the events leading up to the famous ‘Judgment of Paris’ tastings, told through the lives of father and son, Jim and Bo Barrett.
The Columbia Gorge AVA is poised for such excellence. Some of the grape varietals grown in Columbia Gorge and Columbia Valley AVAs include: Albariño, Aglianico, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Gamay, Gewürztraminer, Grenache, Gruner Vertliner, Lemberger, Malbec, Marsanne, Merlot, Mourvedre, Muscat, Nebbiolo, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Primitivo, Riesling, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo, Viognier, White Riesling and Zinfandel.
The Varietal Vertical Immersion ™ experience focuses on a handful of varietals as they share a library of different years of the same varietal to explore the interest and complexity of single varietal wines.
3) Visit Top Wineries in a 5-mile Radius
Cathedral Ridge Winery Varietal Vertical Immersion™ experience lasts for about 2 hours, which leaves plenty of time to visit our friends down the road at Marchesi Vineyard, The Pines, Viento and Phelps Creek Vineyards. To give a feel for the quality, in the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Marchesi Vineyard won Best of Show for their 2012 Sangiovese and Cathedral Ridge Winery won Double Gold for 2012 Bolton Vineyard Barbera Reserve.
Geographically, the Columbia Gorge has it all. Moving from West to East along the Columbia River, the climate goes from a temperate rain forest at Cascade Locks (~80 inches of annual precipitation) to an extremely arid high desert in The Dalles (~14 inches of annual precipitation.)
The interceding 40 miles covers a broad range of climates and places, The Columbia Gorge is within only a few degrees of latitude as the famous French wine regions like The Rhone Valley, The Rhine Valley, Burgundy, and Bordeaux.
Also in the Columbia Gorge’s favor is the extreme proximity of the different microclimates. Few wineries purchase grapes from farther than 30 miles away. This proximity means that from the time of picking to crushing and wine making is only a few hours as opposed to days. The result is cleaner, more aromatically intriguing wines.
But even the best grapes in the world can be mistreated in the hands of novice wine makers. Luckily for the Columbia Gorge, the versatile growing region has attracted masterful wine makers from the beginning. The region has drawn winemakers from some of the best winemaking schools in the world like UC Davis and winemakers who have found success in the Willamette Valley and Sonoma, as well as winemakers from Europe.
2) Immerse Yourself in the Discovery Process
John Medina’s book “Brain Rules” outlines the biology of experience and remembering and there’s strong correlation when multiple senses are engaged. Not only will you smell and taste the wine, but you’ll experience standing in the barrel room where proprietor Robb Bell and fourth-generation Sonoma winemaker Michael Sebastiani create the award-winning wine. You’ll hear about groundskeeper Francisco Chairez who has been with the winery even before Bell purchased it in 2003. Making wine discovery that much more fun and memorable.
1) Taste Great Wine
Join Cathedral Ridge Winery March 21st and/or April 18th to taste wines from multiple vineyards that are still in the barrel, wines that are currently on the floor and rare 7-10 year old library wines. Hosted by the Cellar Master, Robb Bell. Experience the wine developing from grape to barrel to bottle to cellar, and purchase your favorites to bring home. Each session is limited to 25 people so check out the tasting menu and register now.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Spring out here!
Taking the bird nets off is one of the first steps. Doing this allows us to start the pruning process and get the vines ready to grow those delicious grapes. The easiest way to take them off is by using a tractor and rolling them up on a pipe while pulling them off. We use the same nets year to year to save money and not waste. Stay tuned for some vine pics and updates on the pruning
Commonly referred to as the wine cellar, the Cathedral Ridge Wine Library is our opportunity to showcase our best wines with a collection of tasting notes from our own sommeliers. With original Flerchinger Vineyard vintages, Halbtrocken lovers would be beside themselves, to Merlot and Zinfandel verticals and even our famed Rusty Red from the beginning, our Wine Library is a dream for those who love our wine.
With Passport Weekend upon us, we invite you to join us to venture into the library for a complimentary Reserve Cellar Tasting and if you love what you find, we’re offering 10% all reserve cellar purchases. But don’t fret; if you can’t make it this weekend, we welcome you to come in for a visit and perhaps an opportunity to venture into our library and our history. Enjoy the beauty of a different kind of library.
It seems like just yesterday that I missed a day of school to travel up north into Central Washington to pick-up the newest member of our family. Driving home, he was immediately dissatisfied with traveling in his crate and ended up making the journey home asleep in my lap and it hasn’t changed much since, even though he’s quadrupled in size. Growing up, Rusty was another brother. Always protective, an endless playmate and I even had to share the backseat on family road trips with him, wrestling for who got the most room and always losing.
Aside from being a brother, Rusty is also a top-notch bird dog, but you’ll have to read that story on the bottle of wine dedicated to Rusty himself, our Rusty Red. A complex wine with rich, jammy blackberry, hints of chocolate, a bit of smoke and a touch of earthiness. A little bit of everything, just like Rusty is to our family.
We invite you out to say hello to Rusty and of course have a glass of wine. And keep an eye out for our newest family member, Rhett, a bundle of exuberant puppy racing around the grounds. Something tells me that his tribute wine will be a bit more spicy.
My husband and I will whip this up together while rocking out to some good records and sipping Rusty Red. This 100% Syrah is the perfect match for the pepper-crusted meat and veggies. It’s also the “Wine of the Month” at Cathedral Ridge Winery, so it’s a great time to stock up!
Photo curtesy of www.bakersroyale.com