Bean and I attended the Columbia Gorge Passport Wine Weekend for the first time on April 9th and 10th. We had a spectacular time enjoying the people, the scenery, the geology and of course, the wines. Several things struck me as exceptional on this trip: the wine makers, the varietals and certain wines that really impressed me.
First and foremost, was the friendliness of the all of the winemakers and their staff on this busy passport weekend. All of the winemakers went out of their way to explain their wine making processes and goals. In addition, the passport visitors were very polite and friendly. We enjoyed connecting up with other wine lovers on our journey throughout the weekend, sharing notes and wine. We like to think that we did our job as Washington Wine Ambassadors in helping send this North Carolina couple home with LOTS of Washington wine!
The second impressive attribute to the Columbia Gorge wineries was the amazing range of varietals, both red and white, that we got to taste. The wines grown within the AVA vary considerably but many of the wineries take advantage of their location to use some of the best grapes that both Oregon and Washington have to offer. We stuck to the Washington side of the gorge when visiting wineries but grapes were sourced from both sides of the gorge.
Just some of the wines that I appreciated most included: Syncline Winery‘s 2008 Syrah, 2008 Roussanne, 2008 Pinot Noir (best Washington Pinot Noir I have tasted!!) 2008 Mourvedre, Domaine Poullion‘s 2008 White Blend called Deux (Chardonnay and Viognier), Waving Tree Winery‘s 2006 Barbera and Nebbiolo, Maryhill Winery‘s 2007 Reserve Chardonnay, 2008 Muscat Canelli and their Viognier and Zinfandel, Cor Cellars‘ 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and Memaloose Winery‘s Rose of Tempranillo, Cascade Cliff Vineyard Symphony, it was the first time I had that grape. I rated these wines all high and enjoyed many of the other wines that I have not listed. I loved the diversity of varietals and wine making styles.
I look forward to making this an annual event!