Thursday, April 12, 2012

40 Miles of World-Class Wine - Columbia Gorge Passport Weekend

Upon leaving the Preview Grand Tasting for the Columbia Gorge Winegrowers Passport Weekend this past Monday, what I came away with (besides very purple teeth) was a sense of urgency to visit all the wineries I’ve not yet visited and an overall positive impression of a region that’s doing more than just one thing right.

What really struck me, besides all the great wines and food from Nora’s Table, was how several of the wineries have taken alternative approaches to traditional packaging. Naked Winery, for example, has produced a line of wines in recycled and recyclable plastic bottles that’s simply perfect for summer outings called Outdoor Vino (you might have even already seen this wine on the "Bad Tattoo" episode of Portlandia). Quenett Winery is making Copa de Vino, single servings of wine available in plastic cups that allow imbibers to toast life where ever they go, and Springhouse Cellars has been putting their wine in reusable growler-like glass bottles, reducing the amount of new bottles they use as well as offering their patrons a substantial savings on the wine.

Though there were many standouts at the Passport Preview Tasting, several wineries left an indelible imprint on my palate. In fact, one was so good, I had to ignore the "It's Hip to Spit" cup in my hand and ask for a glass to enjoy after I tasted everything else. Though I truly enjoyed a variety of wonderful wines that day, the following is a list of the ones that really spoke to me:

AlmaTerra Wines - 2007 Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre
Aniche Cellars – 2010 Sirius (a co-fermented Barbera and Zinfandel)
COR Cellars – 2009 Malbec
Jan Mark Cellars – 2010 Chardonnay
Marchesi Vineyards – 2009 Barbera
Maryhill Winery – 2010 Sauvignon Blanc
Memaloose Wines – 2009 Cabernet Franc and 2009 Grenache/Syrah/Viognier
Phelps Creek - 2009 Cuvée Alexandrine
Quenett Winery – 2010 Chardonnay and 2009 Zinfandel
Syncline – 2011 Rosé (Sinsault/Mouvedre/Counoise/Carignon)
The Pines 1852 – 2008 Big Red (a gorgeous blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel for just $16)
Viento – NV Brut Rosé (my hands down favorite of the day, a gorgeous sparkler of Pinot Noir and Riesling)
Waving Tree - 2008 Barbera
Wy’East Vineyards – 2011 Pinot Gris

For just $15, you’ll enjoy a variety of benefits from each participating winery, such as waived tasting fees, barrel tastings, library tastings, food and generous discounts on purchases (with potential savings up to $800!). The Passport Weekend spans two states and affords wine lovers an opportunity to discover a “World of Wine in 40 Miles” while learning what makes this region both unique and special.

With 26 wineries participating, and April marking the beginning of prime wildflower viewing in the scenic Gorge, now’s the perfect time to take advantage of the season and journey to the Columbia Gorge for Passport Weekend (April 13th-15th). Visit their website for more information and to purchase your Passport to fun.


Anonymous said...

Licking the drops of nectar from the Shapley glass......

Mattie John Bamman said...

The comment above is visceral!

It looks like we shared many favorite wines. I purchased Aniche's "Sirius," my friend purchased Marchesi's Barbera, and I really loved the Phelp's Creek "Alexandrine."

I think I fell in love over the weekend. Great event.

Sip with Me! said...

Yes, I get a few of those comments. Perhaps he was intending to comment on the post about "How to Seduce a Wineaux: :) You have to wonder about those late night visitors. I was unsure as to whether Shapley was some new brand of stemware I don't know about :)

As for you… ahhh love! Good to know we see eye to eye on so many wines. Thanks for visiting and commenting and please don't be a stranger. Hope to sip with you again real soon!