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Cathedral Ridge Winery
by K. L. Sullivan

Cathedral Ridge Winery vineyardSummary: Cathedral Ridge Winery concentrates on the wines it produces. As the owner, Robb Bell, said, “ We celebrate the grape.” He believes that it is important for the winery tasting room to engage visitors with whatever they need.

Located in an ideal area, Cathedral Ridge Winery offers views of vineyards, snow covered mountains and distant desert areas. After a day of recreation, in the Columbia Gorge, plan on enough time to visit Cathedral Ridge Winery and enjoy a glass of wine. The name Cathedral Ridge comes from Mount Hood where a section goes by the same name.

We met Robb Bell, owner of Cathedral Ridge Winery, in the tasting room. He explained the weather for this area. Daytime temperatures can get very hot during the day in the summer but cools down at night. The cool air moves down from Mount Hood and Mount Adams. According to Bell, the area can grow many grape varieties including Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The growing conditions along the Columbia Gorge may be among the best in the world. Grapes can reach ripeness since they have long hang times.

Cathedral Ridge WineryBell believes that the grape is the important aspect of wine. He says, “We celebrate the grape.” The wine is 90% the grape and 10% the people involved in making it. Michael Sebastiani is the winemaker. The philosophy of wine making is to not interfere with the grapes. Great grapes will make great wine. Most of the wines we tasted had a soft silky mouth feel. Although we tasted an occasional wine with this attribute at other wineries, most of Cathedral Ridge’s wines have this mouth feel.

oregon Winery of the YearRobb Bell bought the vineyards in 2003. The former Flerchinger Vineyards won several awards for their wines and Bell wanted to continue in these footsteps while introducing more reds. Today the vineyards consist of six acres that include Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay. Cathedral Ridge buys grapes from other nearby vineyards where they have established a great report with the growers. About 7000 cases of wine are produced each year. Wine Press Northwest awarded Cathedral Ridge with the Oregon Winery of the Year in 2007.

Cathedral Ridge winesWe tasted several wines. The 2006 Gewürztraminer was dry with a fruit nose, citrus taste and dry on the finish. Riesling 2006 offered citrus on the nose and a hint of peach on the taste. The finish was crisp. This was a dry Riesling that will pare well with many foods. The grapes came from Bangsund vineyards in The Dalles, Oregon. The Pinot Noir 2006 was made from grapes also from the Bangsund vineyards. It had a rose color with a touch of salmon. The nose was strawberry to red cherry, with a red cherry taste and crisp finish. However the Pinot Noir Reserve caught our attention. It had a dark salmon color with strawberries and cherries on the nose. The mouth feel was silky smooth and it finished with a crisp tart cherry taste. This Pinot Noir Reserve can pair with red meats.

The color of the Zinfandel 2006 was a dark red to purple. It had a red fruit nose, cherries and plums on the taste and a fruity, peppery finish. Bordheauxd Red 2005 was a dark purple blend of 53% Syrah, 27% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine had a red fruit nose, with a very smooth mouth feel and a red fruit taste. The finish was crisp with a lingering fruit aftertaste. The Syrah Reserve 2006 was dark red purple colored with a spicy nose and a smooth spice and red berry taste. It was a bit hot on the finish.

Cathedral Ridge WineryThe winery building is continuing to grow and landscaping is increasing. When you visit Cathedral Ridge Winery, take time to amble outside and enjoy the landscaping. Views of the vineyards and distant mountains are ever changing. From all sides you will observe the elegant beauty of the mountains. The winery offers the perfect site for weddings and the winery hosts events throughout the year.

Cathedral Ridge Winery
4200 Post Canyon Dr.
Hood River, OR 97031

GPS N 45° 70.026 W 121° 56.195'

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