Wineries in Oregon: Making its mark on the stunningly beautiful Columbia River Gorge, Cathedral Ridge Winery captures rave reviews, including Wine Press Northwest’s 2007 Oregon Winery of the Year. Founded in 1985 as the second winery in Hood River, Cathedral Ridge
Winery, originally Flerchinger
Vineyards, sits high atop a ridge
overlooking the Columbia Gorge,
with Mount Hood and Mount Adams gleaming in the distance. In 2003, Robb Bell purchased these unique vineyards. As his own cellar master, he opened the doors to the modern Cathedral Ridge Winery named after the striking knife-edge ridge running off the Northwest summit of Mount Hood. This impressive
ridgeline is known to climbers as difficult to
find, but worth the trip. Robb expresses this same passion in his wines.
Robb’s winemaking vision placed an increased focus on reds, especially Bordeaux and Rhône
varieties, with a bit of Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. In order to create superb, handcrafted wines, Robb invited fourth-generation Californian winemaker Michael Sebastiani to begin blending and retained Lonnie Wright of The Pines Vineyard
and Winery as the winery’s grape specialist. The impact was immediate and outstanding.
Cathedral Ridge Winery received award-winning recognition, as well as a strong following.
The extraordinary microclimate of the Columbia Gorge allows almost every variety of grape to ripen to perfection within 25 miles of the winery. In order to get great fruit into every bottle, grapes are picked just-before-peak ripeness to control alcohol levels, oak is used as a mellowing variable and not a taste, and wines are very low in sulfites. Wines spin out black cherries, blackberries, raspberries, dark plums, and acai berries. Rich in flavor, Cathedral Ridge wines have been esteemed “perfect” by some reviewers.
Tastings are held either in the tasting
room or enjoyed in picnic seating on the lawn backed by mountain views. Cathedral Ridge Winery simply pours plenty of reasons to keep coming back.
What To Buy
‘07 Pinot Noir Slightly spicy, cherry, hints of vanilla and plum $26
’06 Bordheauxd Red Coffee, chocolate, jammed berries $26
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