Thinking of an old Nancy Sinatra/Lee Greenwood tune this season….take off your silver spurs and help me pass the time…..oh, oh… Summer Wine…..we have had some excellent choices this year… Rich Cushman’s Verona, which masterfully blends the best of Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay, Saignee of Pinot Noir from Mt Hood Winery, and of course one of the best in our area, James Mantone’s Syncline produced-crisp, dry, Rose with more variety than one would find at a Greg Colt impromptu party.
I am seriously trying to like Gruner Veltliner but after one glass I just can’t pronounce it; however, I suspect we will see more of it since more vineyards are growing it. With a name like Pate I am driven to the Chardonnay grape, and nobody does it better than Cathedral Ridge with their Reserve that they would describe as Creamy and Buttery..even though I would add “Oaky”, as one would expect from Michael Sebastiani. If you don’t like the oak you may want to pay Bob Morus a visit; he has an excellent unoaked Chardonnay over at Phelps Creek Winery. If your tastes go more toward the Alsatian style I would recommend Cool Hand Luke Bradford’s ( COR Cellars) Dry Reisling. The Italians are also well represented by Franco Marchesi and his Pinot Grigio…the newlywed also has done a marvelous job marketing and expanding the Marchesi tasting room. It’s funny how much better he looks with Sandy at his side.
Don’t Think..Just Drink!! Is it the Cerulean Nebula from Star Wars, or Lando Cerulean? In any event, it has been nice to see Pat Graham enjoying First Fridays at the tasting room…nice spot to listen to the music and enjoy a glass of wine…and how wonderful to have our own Lonnie Wright (The Pines)receive the well-deserved “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Oregon Wine Industry. I know he is revered for his Zinfandel but, I so enjoy a glass of his Viogner on a warm summer afternoon while monitoring the flow of the Columbia River from the back deck.
New VinNews…Brad Gearhart (Jacob Williams) is taking both Jacob and William to an Avery tasting room..unbelievable views Brad! Did I see Rich Cushman and wife, Robin breaking ground on the new Viento tasting room on Country Club….I am told it will be open in November..FINALLY! Any discussion on Venues would be incomplete without mentioning Springhouse Cellars and the RUINS! Wow! Wine, Food, Music and Dancing…great job James! I attended a recent meeting in The Dalles at Sunshine Mill…another venue that just gets better and better..another “James” doing a great job…… But watch out for those SHARKS! I know I have focused on whites and Roses…however, the new release Quenett Barbera is off the charts!!
Two final notes: Marketing efforts have had a huge impact on bringing outsiders to the Gorge AVA; special recognition to those who do an exceptional job in promoting Gorge Wines…Naked, Marchesi, and Cathedral Ridge…not to mention the local Restaurants that feature local wines: Nora’s, Nolan’s Pourhouse, Riverside, Three Rivers, Stonehedge, and Celilo………….and FINALLY, a word about pairings, where everybody has an opinion on what should accompany the “Summer” wines I have mentioned. IN MY OPINION, a nice glass and a good friend are all you need for the perfect pairing!! Okole Maluna!