Thanksgiving wine trip to the Columbia Gorge – A wine region worth visiting! (Day 1)

After getting my palate assaulted in the Willamette Valley two weeks prior, I decided to change things up for my wine tour and check out the Columbia Gorge region for their Thanksgiving Winery Open House. After spending two days in the region, I know I made the right choice. Not only was the selection deep, but it was very accessible from Portland (about an hour drive away). The only bad part of the trip was the fact that I got a late start on both days and not many people were able to go. So on day 1, Rebecca Masulo and I ventured out and hit up three wineries. I literally could’ve bought almost everything, but I limited it to these selections:

The Pines 1852 Vineyard & Winery

What was going to be the 4th stop of the day, ended up being the first stop. This winery was in downtown Hood River, where you’ll find a collection of tasting rooms. The staff was very friendly and the room was filled with a collection of art. While I tasted a lot of good ones, these are the ones I left with:

The Pines 1852 2007 Big Red
Note: This one didn’t make it home 🙂

Your favorite blend of Cabernet Sauv., Merlot, Syrah, and Zinfandel is back! This wine brings together the best of four wines for a hearty blend with a full mouth-feel. Long legs, jammy berries, and a peppery finish make this wine great with steak and pasta.

The Pines 1852 2008 Satin
This white blend of 50% Pinot Gris and 50% Gewurztraminer combines the best of both worlds: a beautiful floral bouquet from the Gewurz paired with the fruity, crisp Pinot Gris. Satin is sure to pair well with melon, fish, chicken, and thai.

Quenett Wines

Stop two on the tour was another great one. Quenett has a very deep selection of wines and I found myself like almost everything they had. The winemaker was really nice as well and we’re looking forward to having him pour for us in the future.

Quenett 2007 Chardonnay (Columbia Valley)
A great, everyday white wine with a medium body, slight notes of butterscotch and green apple, with a subtle finish.

Quenett 2006 Zinfandel (Columbia Valley)
Note: This wine was just released over the weekend, so the tasting notes are not available

Naked Winery

This is, by far, the best winery I’ve visited in 2009 (if not, all time!). When I first saw the name, I thought that they were either marketing geniuses or they were referring to the grapes in some way. When I walked in, I knew they were marketing geniuses! The marketing they put behind their brand is a work of art and it’s a model that many business can follow in other sectors. Their wines carry the name even further. This is one of the first wineries where the first 8 wines I’ve tried, I would’ve bought immediately. Overall, I would’ve bought one of each, but I settled for four wines:

Naked Winery 2007 Pinot Gris (Rogue Valley)
This refreshing wine offers a full frontal blast of sun country nose! It’s time to sip into something a little more Naked…

Fermented in cooler than normal temperatures with nice hang time on the vines, this brings out a medium bodied wine that’s great for summer, or by a warm fireplace. Melon, apple, & pear run throughout this wine.

BACK LABEL
Naked Gris is our chillin’ wine. Smooth, ripe and a bit silky, this wine delivers a full frontal blast of sun country nose that explodes midpalate. Stripping the skins down to the bare essentials, it’s hard to take your eyes off those luscious legs as they streak down the glass. Sip into something a little more Naked… wouldn’t you A-Gris?

Naked Winery 2006 Foreplay Chardonnay (Columbia Valley)
This is a delicious way to warm to an evening. Who doesn’t like Foreplay, ladies?

A large portion of the blend was barrel fermented with full malolactic fermentation which yielded a soft butterscotch finish. Notes like pear and melon are accented by some caramel and toasted coconut aromas from the barrels.

BACK LABEL
Foreplay teases your senses upfront with a bouquet of luscious ripe fruit. No hurry here… once uncorked, let it breathe and work into a nice rhythm as it warms up. Anticipate the sweetness at the end, complimenting the silky tannins. A little Foreplay goes a long way.

Naked Winery 2008 Gay Rosé
Our Rose is light and fruity with a hint of sweetness. Even if you haven’t been feeling Gay, this wine could make you change your mind!

Naked Winery 2007 Pinot Noir
This is our bare-all wine. Who doesn’t love to get Naked?

Try the Varietal that made Oregon wines famous: Pinot Noir. 100% Pinot Noir, enjoy the classic light body and floral bouquet with a delicate satin tannin finish.

BACK LABEL
Naked is our bare-all wine. Stripped of traditional attitudes, only the free-spirited grapes go into this voluptuous wine. Lusty with a smooth complexion and long legs. This wine gives a full-frontal of ripe cherries with a firm well-rounded end. Who doesn’t love to get Naked?

Although I didn’t get to all the wineries I wanted to, this was a perfect way to start the trip. Day 1 was filled with tasting rooms in the downtown area of Hood River. Day 2 is a trip to the actual vineyards and the valley. To be continued!

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