Ok, a painful truth. My liver hurts.
For six days, half-a-dozen far-flung wine writers hailing from as far east at NYC, as far north as Quebec, and a few from the west coast wended our way from Walla Walla to Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills in Washington, through bi-state straddler Columbia Gorge AVA before ending our tour in Portland.
As a wine writer specializing in Burgundy, bubbles and beyond, this fell clearly into the realm of ‘beyond’ – in so many ways.
Beyond expectation in terms of organization, collaboration and talent present. But also ‘beyond’ in terms of breadth and depth of established and emerging wine regions and winemakers showcased, as well as quality of wines presented.
In truth, the trip ripped the lid off of my can of wine comprehension, from flavor profiles to morphology to microclimates. Most of all, it dynamited a hole through any lurking complacency regarding Washington and Oregon wines.
You can catch my Instagram feed here, but I also wanted to share a few takeaways:
Missed this leg of the tour to attend the Oregon Sparkling Symposium at Chemeketa Community College Wine Studies Program in Salem, Oregon, but visited this region last year on a Walla Walla Wine Alliance media tour, which resulted in this feature on The Walls in Wines and Vines Magazine.
Here’s my takeaway from that experience: The balance point of elegance, finesse and funk in Washington State.
Got Napa? Here’s Washington State’s own version of cachet, baby. Red Mountain vineyards collect sunshine like green-gridded solar panels, delivering wines of power, boldness, and brio – particularly their cabernet sauvignons.
Featured Wineries: Kiona, Col Solare, Erath.
Horse Heaven Hills
Big skies and expansive farms splay out against this sun-drenched wine region skirting the Columbia River.
Featured wineries: Alexandria Nicole Cellars, Mercer Estate, Double Canyon, Cana’s Feast, Viola Wines, Angel Vine.
Columbia River Gorge AVA
Think Scottish Highlands meets Swiss Alps meets Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” meets “Chinatown.”
An overlooked, misunderstood, border-jumping savant wild-child wine region straddling both Washington Oregon and Washington and crafting some of the most luminous wines around.
Wind-scoured, unruly, unpredictable – and I’m not talking the vineyards, but the winemakers and wines, too. Visit. Drink. Repeat.
Featured Wineries: Analemma, The Pines 1852, Idiot’s Grace/Memaloose, AniChe Cellars, Syncline, Phelps Creek, COR, Maryhill Winery.
Portland Urban Wineries + Willamette Valley
What heaven tastes like. And I was there. Hey, I am very open about my never-changing, ever-expanding, always thirsty appreciation for Oregon wines.
Oregon and Burgundy calm, sustain and feed my soul.
Savoring them over lunch at Hip Chicks Do Wine, small bites at Park Avenue Wine Bar and dinner at Noble Rot only added to the ‘pinch me’ experience.
Featured Wineries: Hip Chicks Do Wine, Ram Cellars, Gersing Cellars, Welsh Family Wines, Division Wines, JK Carriere, Patricia Green Cellars, Tendril, St. Innocent.
Biggest takeaway? A fabulous lesson in creativity, collaboration and being badass, indeed.
A special shout-out to my partners in crime:
Sally Murdoch – Oregon Wine Board
Amanda Frederickson – Chemeketa Community College Wine Studies Program Sparkling Symposium
Averyl Dunn – Washington State Wine
Marie-Hélène Boisvert – SAQ Cellar
Vicki Denig – Wine Enthusiast, SevenFiftyDaily, etc.
Amy Glynn – Paste Magazine
Sara Schneider – The Robb Report
Alana Tielmann – thirsty. Magazine
Copyrighted 2018 L.M. Archer | binNotes. All Rights Reserved.