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Wine Tasting In The Gorge

05/17/2017 | Uncategorized


You may have already tasted and experienced many wine regions in Oregon, but did you know that you can experience a succulent wine tour right here in the Columbia River Gorge The historic town of Troutdale, Oregon is home to one of the newest wineries in the region, Calcagno Cellars Winery. It is located at the Gateway to The Gorge where the further you go east the more beautiful wineries and vineyards you will encounter. With some helpful details about our Gorge AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) and a few tasting tips, you will be able to taste and enjoy the most amazing wines we have to offer!

The Columbia Gorge region includes both the Oregon and Washington areas surrounding the Columbia River. Within this small and scenic area lays an incredible blend of soil, climate and geology creating distinctly different micro-climates. (Source: This is a unique recipe for growing the finest grapes. The elevation sweep in the Gorge is not only breathtaking but can change from sea-level to 2,000 feet, which offers some amazing views. Rainfall and soils change from the west to the east offering nearly 40 inches of rain per year in the west which contributes to an ideal cooler climate for growing Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer. The dryer, desert-like conditions in the east contribute less than 10 inches of annual rainfall and offer perfect hot conditions for growing the Bordeaux-style varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.

Identifying flavors in your Columbia River Gorge wine tasting can be as simple as looking, smelling, tasting, and thinking. Start with swirling the wine in your glass in order to add air to the wine which will open up the aromas and flavors: make little circles on the table (or out in front of you) taking care to not swirl too hard for the wine to spill out. Swirl for a few seconds, then swirl again.

By looking at the wine, you can notice the intensity in color, opacity and viscosity. Red and white wines with more concentrated and intense colors tend to be more bold and rich in flavor and with higher tannins (a natural polyphenol found in fruit skins). The main color of the wine is toward the center of your glass. The color and opacity can tell you the age and wine varietal but this takes time to learn! A wines viscosity is from the alcohol and is responsible for the light, medium or heavy mouthfeel we receive when tasting wine.

When smelling the wine, think about the fruit, herbal and spice notes you smell. For whites you may smell orange, apple, or tropical fruits and grass, dill and green pepper. For red you may smell blackberry, currant, plum, blueberry, raspberry and anise, licorice, chocolate, leather and black pepper. You may smell oak, roasted nuts or vanilla in your wine. These smells can be from the oak barrels in which the wine was aged in. Wine that is aged in stainless steel may have a crisp, clean and refreshing scent. These are only a few of the many different aromas you may notice when winetasting. It is your individual experience, there is no wrong or right.

When tasting the wine, your tongue takes part in the fun of sensing sweet and bitterness and detecting texture and tannins. Wines do contain acid so you may also taste a hint of sour. A wine with heavy acidity will taste bright, zippy and lively. A wine with heavy fruit flavors will taste jammy, plummy and juicy. Your tongue may feel a smooth, chewy or grippy texture which is a part of tasting and feeling the tannins. A wine with an increase in texture and body may also have a higher-alcohol volume.

When you consider the wine, ask yourself what about it did you like and dislike Was it memorable and balanced Did any characteristics impress you

With so many winery and vineyard options throughout the Columbia River Gorge, starting in Troutdale, you have copious locations for relaxed and inviting wine tasting. Explore our tasting rooms and towns; ask questions about winemaking and the multitude of fun outdoor adventures our AVAs have to offer. The locals are happy to share!

(Guest Blog post by Calcagno Cellars Winery)


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