Blackberries are wildly abundant in September. In Hood River, one could easily fill a basket while walking through almost any neighborhood. I recently discovered the ultimate fall trifecta (blackberries! chocolate! Cabernet!) in the form of these perfectly grown-up cupcakes. The recipe only calls for a 1/2 c of Cabernet, so you’ll want to enjoy a glass while you bake and–trust me–it pairs perfectly with a fluffy fresh-from-the-oven chocolate cupcake. –AG
This month we’ll be posting a series of recipes to accompany Cabernet Sauvignon (as a companion to the Cathedral Ridge Winery September Special). The first of four is a really simple quiche to make use of all those delicious end-of-summer tomatoes. Photos, Illustration and Recipe by Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast. Tomato Parmesan Quiche: Perfect with a glass of Cabernet!
For this coming Labor Day weekend, consider including a new element into any parties that you might host or attend. A vertical wine tasting is tasting one particular varietal (from the same winery) from successive years to experience the nuances that can change from year-to-year. It’s a really interesting way to taste the way that unique weather patterns and soil conditions can slightly alter the resulting grape. A fun way to do it is to place each wine in a bag so that the tasting can be blind. Take notes and share personal favorites. You might go in with some friends to enjoy both a white and a red vertical. A Cabernet would be especially versatile with summer grilling: Try the Cathedral Ridge September Special (the two newest cab releases against the vintage). Cheers!!
Whether you’re hosting a July 4 barbeque or you’ve been invited to attend, this White Balsamic Custard Tart is a gorgeous offering that can be whipped up in no time. Let someone else bring the apple pie, and take advantage of berry season. Juicy, ripe, red & blue berries call for the perfect white: an off-dry Reisling, such as the 2009 Cathedral Ridge. With notes of apricots and brown sugar, this wine is softer, rounder–perfect for enjoying with friends during the late afternoons of summer.
Summer is the season for outdoor grilling, and the perfect companion to those burgers, steaks and ribs is a robust red wine. You might even say it’s a necessity. For this reason, Cathedral Ridge Necessity Red is hard to keep in stock during the summer months. It’s a versatile blend of Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Zinfandel. The names comes from our former president, Thomas Jefferson, who once said, “Good wine is a necessity of life.” It’s certainly a necessity for summertime sipping. Throughout the month of June, CRW is offering a 25% savings on a six-pack (save $39) so you can stock up for the long months ahead. Cheers!
One of the simple pleasures of this time of year is a lazy afternoon picnic. All you’ll need is a sunny afternoon, maybe a friend or two, and a few delicious treats. I like to pack either a slightly chilled rosé, chardonnay, or pinot gris–and maybe a book or a Frisbee. As we approach the longest season of the year, make the most of each lingering hour of daylight. Enjoy a few picnic recipe suggestions from Food & Wine. Cheers!
This weekend, my husband and I had the pleasure of mountain biking to a remote section of the Lewis River in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington. We camped next to the rushing river and enjoyed the solitude, campfire, and–of course–great food and wine. We wrapped homemade burritos in foil and rolled them into the campfire and set a bottle of Cathedral Ridge Chardonnay Reserve in a shallow, rock-protected section of the river to keep it chilled (the river temp was about 55 degrees, which also happens to be a perfect temp for chardonnay–very convenient!). We had a few glasses and kept the bottle in the river overnight. The chilled chardonnay was waiting for us after another bike ride the next day, so we stretched out in the meadow and appreciated every detail that makes living in the Pacific Northwest so unbelievably great.
One of these reasons, among many, is that the Columbia Gorge happens to share geographic and climatic similarities with the Burgundy region of France. Like the Burgundy region, the Columbia Gorge experiences sporadic weather ranging from unpredictable snow, rain, frost, and even heat. Cathedral Ridge grows their chardonnay grapes on the north side of the Columbia River at Huber (also known as Dampier) Vineyard in Underwood Mountain, WA. Not very far at all from the spot where we enjoyed our bottle of Chardonnay Reserve, a luscious, complex, golden-hued wine.
While this region may share grape-growing qualities with France, the Pacific Northwest experience is truly unparalleled. –AG
Rosé is a beautiful wine to enjoy throughout the year, but it is often associated with the warmer months. The Cathedral Ridge Rosé is done in the drier, Alsation-style with lower alcohol. The 2010 Rosé carries pleasant floral notes but offers more body, and a crisp, dry finish. Flavors of pear and grapefruit hit lightly on the palate, making this a perfect wine for late afternoon, and it complements a wide range of dishes from spicy asian fare to seafood. As the days grow longer, make the most of the extended sunlight by uncorking a bottle of rosé and enjoying a French-style picnic with these (easy to prepare) Asparagus-Cheese Tartines.
Order a case of Cathedral Ridge Rosé and enjoy a 15% discount. Stock up: You have have five months of warm weather ahead!
We left off with me going crazy for a 2010 Bangsund Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, but I also tasted the 2010 Hillside Vineyard Cabernet and if you’re a fan of big, juicy, ripe cabs, this is your wine! The nose is full of blueberry, vanilla, and blackberry jam. I also loved the amazing mouth feel, so incredibly smooth and rich that I felt like I was drinking liquid velvet. This was also a wine I was bugging Robb to bottle separately, we’ll see if that comes true…
Moving on, Robb also poured me a sample of the 2010 Rockstar Red, our big, brawny, amazing Reserve wine. With 50% cabernet sauvignon from Hillside Vineyard and 50% syrah from Kortge Vineyard, both from lots that are specifically set aside for our Reserve single-varietal bottling, this is the top tier of wine Cathedral Ridge makes. It doesn’t disappoint. The bouquet is explosive, rushing out at you with gorgeous notes of cherry and spice, blackberry, and a delicious forest-floor aroma. On the palate, the Rockstar is deep and soulful, showing flavors of ripe fruit and baking spice backed by firm tannin. If you want a celebratory bottle that will age, stay tuned for this one!
As Robb and I tasted through the barrel samples, I was struck by the differences in each wine. Beyond the obvious differences between grape varieties, each wine showed a true sense of place. To the French, it’s called terroir, and when you taste through these barrel samples, I think you’ll agree.
Before I ramble too much more, I’ll end this peek into the future of Cathedral Ridge with the 2010 Ziegler Vineyard Tempranillo, full of cherries, sandalwood, and peppery spices. This wine is almost “ready”, and I think it spoke to Robb and me that day, telling us that it’s itching to get bottled and shared with all of you!
The Barrel Tasting Party is coming up, one week from now, so I urge you to buy your tickets now! If you need some more information, feel free to call the winery 1-800-516-8710 and we’ll happily get you all set to go. ^Beau
With the April Barrel Tasting Party almost here, I recently visited the “mother winery” to taste through some different barrels with owner Robb Bell. The goal of our tasting was to get some ideas of what to pour for you all on April 21. Barrel sampling is a unique opportunity to taste a wine before it’s bottled, often times before it’s even “finished”. For wine lovers, when we barrel-taste we get a sense of what that wine tastes like in the present, when it’s young, flashy, and even a little rough around the edges. When the wines are released and we re-taste them, a deeper level of understanding is reached with what the wine was and what it is now.
Robb took me back into the barrel rooms and we began the tasting with some 2009 Scorched Earth Vineyard Syrah, which had a delicious smoked meat and tobacco nose. The mouth feel was intense, with loads of ripe fruit and a savory quality that I marveled at. I also tasted the 2009 Pines Vineyard Zinfandel, a wine which could very well end up as a Reserve bottling given its quality. The nose was full of herb, ripe black fruit, tar, and whiffs of pine. I was enamored with the palate, where the zin showed loads of jammy fruit, baking spice, and a peppery streak.
A few barrels later, I was stopped in my tracks. The 2010 Bangsund Cabernet Sauvignon was my style of wine! The nose is loaded with black fruit, herbs, and a beautiful earthy aroma. On the palate, it’s fairly tannic (as young cabernet tends to be)but that tannin creates a gorgeous structure, enclosing flavors of blueberry, black cherry, dried currant. Suffice it to say that I am bugging Robb to bottle this as a single vineyard wine!
In the next blog, I’ll talk more about the barrel tasting, giving some tasting notes on even more of what I tasted on that awesome day. Stay tuned! ^Beau