On a basalt ridge looking south over the Columbia River there is a vineyard, originally 44 ares, planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in 1989 by some names now big in the Walla Walla and Prosser wine scenes. Lewis and Clark traversed the area, leaving a journal entry remarking that the ridge resembled an overturned canoe, and they should know what a canoe looked like, right? That vineyard is claimed as ‘estate’ by Canoe Ridge Vineyard. With wide distribution (15-20 thousand cases) in many regions,they are likely something you can find locally wherever you purchase wine.
We visited our local tasting room, opened in 1994. It was too chilly to sit outside the day we visited but they have a charming patio area to relax in with nice trees on the west and south corner to provide a bit of a sun break.
Charming, warm, and Lita, the tasting room manager, with her Italian Greyhound, Dolly, were ever so welcoming.
- 2014 Cinsault Rose’ – 14.2% ABV is a summer fruit salad with a drizzle of honey and grapefruit
- 2014 Sauvignon Blanc – 13.2% ABV is lemon grass and just ripe gooseberries at the front of the palate, a distinct minerality in the middle and lovely, smooth pineapple finish
- 2013 Reserve Chardonnay – 14.1% ABV 9 months on new American oak with a honeysuckle nose, ginger spiced pear and buttered toast finishing with a light marshmallow
- 2012 Reserve Cherry Street Red Blend – 60% Syrah, 30% Merlot, 10% Malbec with ~33% new French oak, 14.2% ABV is cedar and pomegranate with darker berries and fresh sawn wood to finish
The best part is they have a growler system for us locals, called the Villager with rotating wines! Currently the Waistburg Cellars “Three” white blend and the Waterbrook Viognier are available. Precept, the parent company of all of these wines, is still privately owned; Waterbrook Winery is where we came across the wine growlers a couple of years ago (also a Precept brand), so this isn’t a surprise.
I would like to know if you have tried Canoe Ridge wines. How did you like them? Do you seek them out? Are they competitively priced? We brought home wine, it is of a price point that makes it a nice daily drinker.