Deciding how to make the most of the last day of our mini-adventure we chose to leave Newberg and drive to Hood River with the intention of stopping at a couple wineries there; because we usually just travel through on our way to the Willamette Valley without making IT a destination of its own. On our way we were able to enjoy the Multnoma Falls as they flowed rapidly toward the Columbia River on the other side of the highway. It is mid-winter, imagine this come springtime with the snow melt!
Our first stop, Cathedral Ridge Winery, would open in five minutes; we made good time from Newberg. This quaint, middle-European style structure was built by the original owner of what, in 2003, became Cathedral Ridge Winery, as he focused on German style Riesling & Pinot Gris wines made from the adjacent vineyards. There are now 24 wines, red, white, rose, and, of course, more library wines produced by Michael Sebastiani of Sonoma. We weren’t familiar with any of the wines when we went in. Customers are asked to choose six wines from the list, some of which aren’t open on the bar, so another selection
needs to be made. We were hard pressed to make our choices without some background, but choose we did. I know about the unopened bottles because we managed to choose two unopened bottles out of our six; go figure. Lorri and Monica were very helpful, answering as many questions as they could.
- 2012 Pinot Gris, an off-dry, stainless steel fermented wine with lovely citrus and mineral qualities.
- NV Halbtrocken, is just what it says, half-dry, but it is a blend of red and Riesling wines. The website says it is a ‘bold, heavy’ red, but doesn’t disclose the varietal involved. Not a style of wine I am used to but is probably quite popular with sweeter wine drinkers.
- 2012 Riesling, 1.5% RS with apple, peach and a pleasant citrus finish.
- 2012 Tempranillo, spice, raspberry fruit leather and cocoa with a fresh tobacco finish.
- 2013 Barbera Reserve, so young, that it is already bottled and released made me curious. It is a full, smooth wine with flavors of ripe dark fruit, spice and vanilla and a subtle finish. Really quite nice, so much less acidic than I expected.
- 2011 Syrah Reserve, rich in black currant and Marion berry with hints of anise, the licorice nicely supporting the fruit flavors, finishing smooth with a little bit of black pepper.
- 2011 Zinfandel Reserve, our ‘bonus pour’ is an off-dry, fruit filled wine, it is smooth with undertones of vanilla and baking spices.