Columbia Gorge vintner Robb Bell continues to fly in his hired gun from Sonoma, Michael Sebastiani, to orchestrate the wine program at Cathedral Ridge. In the case of this Pinot Noir, its story begins across the Columbia River from the Hood River, Ore., winery. Berries used for this reserve off Dampier Vineyard on Underwood Mountain are pulled from the easternmost rows, which means these clusters see nearly an hour more of the morning sun. This example from the critically acclaimed 2016 vintage ranks alongside the best examples of Columbia Gorge Pinot Noir our panel has evaluated, and the 20 months in neutral barrels sprinkle in baking spice and rather than toast. Its enticing nose of cherry punch and cinnamon leads to a rich flavors as plum and blueberry bracket the deliciously resolved tannins that will endure. Last year, this wine earned a gold medal at the Savor NW Wine Awards on Cannon Beach, and it’s only gotten better. Suggested pairings include mussels, salmon, pork, goat cheese and pâté.
Production: 200 cases