Tag Archive | Hood River

July 2016: Hood River

After our amazing rafting trip, my aunt, uncle, cousin and I camped on a sustainable practices organic farm.  There were chickens, turkeys, horses and pigs.  The farm had views of both Mount Adams and Mount Hood, and other than the sound of the irrigation ditch, it was really quiet out there.

The next morning, we packed up the tent and my aunt and uncle’s trailer and went to Hood River, Oregon to check out the town.  We watched people parasailing on the Columbia River.  We wandered the main streets and checked out the shops.  We went into two wineries too.

 

Paddle Wheel River Boats on the Columbia River

Paddle Wheel River Boats on the Columbia River

 

What's up with the weirdo on the cell phone?

What’s up with the weirdo on the cell phone?

The first was Cascade Cliffs Winery.   Our server was very friendly, and she served us some fantastic wines.  She explained that the logo for the winery is a petroglyph that was discovered on the vineyard property.  I bought the 2014 Dolcetto and the 2015 Symphony white blend there.  I haven’t had them yet, but I might have to open one soon!

After Cascade Cliffs, we headed over to Naked Winery. Naked Winery was a fun and lively place; there was certainly a young hip vibe going on there. The focus seemed less on the quality of the wines and more on the “curb appeal.” The wines all have fun, sexy names, and the logo of the winery is a naked woman. I purchased a great sparkling wine there, and a bottle of their Wanderlust White. It comes in a plastic, lightweight bottle that is perfect for taking on a hiking trip!  I also got a bottle of their Frisky Sparkling Wine, which was pretty good!

The tasting menu at Naked Winery

The tasting menu at Naked Winery

My aunt and I had fun at both wineries, and my uncle was a trooper, even though it isn’t really his thing. After wine tasting, we headed over to the Three River’s Grill. I had the fish tacos, and they were absolutely delicious. The view was amazing too – we got to watch more para-sailors (is this the right word for people who are parasailing?) out on the water from our table on the deck.  I would absolutely love to go back there on another gorgeous summer day and watch the view on the water.  It was really relaxing.

We made one last stop before we got back on the road to head our separate ways. We made a stop at the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery. The Hatchery has some adult White Sturgeon that visitors can see. They are big fish! White Sturgeon can grow to be 20 feet long are the third largest sturgeon species.  Unfortunately, populations of sturgeon on the Columbia River are not abundant, because the dams have inhibited their ability to migrate freely.

I also saw some lamprey, which have sucker mouths to attach to things; they really like to stick on the glass in the underwater viewing area. They were interesting to see, but apparently they are nuisance fish.  And of course, I also saw lots of different kinds of salmon and trout.  They have a pond at the hatchery where you can buy fish food for 50 cents and feed the salmon – they all come up to the surface like they haven’t eaten in days!  Even though you just fed them 10 seconds ago.  But hey, my cats are like that too…

And then, too soon, it was time for my long drive home…

2010 Cathedral Ridge Necessity Red

The weather was terrible today.  After weeks of dry weather – 80 some days with no rain! – we finally got some blustery, stormy weather on Friday.  The wind picked up last night and continued through today.  We have a lot of leaves and small branches to clean up once the weather clears!

So to honor the terrible weather – I made some comfort food.  Spaghetti chicken bake, as I like to call it.  Spaghetti with sauce and veggies, cooked in a casserole dish with a couple of chicken breasts and some shredded cheese.  Baked long enough that the cheese forms a delicious crust.  And to go with our meal, Jon opened up the Cathedral Ridge 2010 Necessity Red.  This wine is a blend of Pinot Noir and Zinfandel; it was the perfect red to go with our dinner!  The blend is about 80% Pinot Noir, and it has a tart cherry flavor that is so prevalent in Pinot.  However, it also is just a touch more robust, due to the addition of Zinfandel.

Cathedral Ridge – 2010 Necessity Red

And you have to love the name.  Thomas Jefferson is attributed with saying, “Good wine is a necessity of life.”  Cathedral Ridge named this wine with that quote in mind.

I wish we had some more of this …

Halbtrocken means Half-dry in German

At work the other day, I proctored two exams for candidates applying for jobs. I know that when you are taking a standardized test , it is stressful and difficult, and I certainly don’t want to minimize that. But when you are proctoring am exam, it is downright BORING. Just watching a bunch of people sitting and working on their Scantrons, listening to people sniffle and cough – it could be considered a form of torture.  Maybe I’m on to something – I could sell this idea to governments, make millions and retire early!  Or not.  I’m not sure how those SAT proctors don’t go insane. I suppose they focus on the fact that it is only once per year. It also makes me wonder who actually tries to cheat on those exams? I guess that a person would have a lot to gain by getting an artificially high score, but is it worth the risk?

The room I was sitting in didn’t have any windows, so I suppose it is just as well that it was cloudy and drizzling for most of the day, otherwise it would have been so painful to look outside and see what I was missing.  Which gets me to the whole point of my post.  The beautiful weather that we had this last weekend got me thinking about a red/white blend that I enjoyed last summer, the Halbtrocken, by Cathedral Ridge Winery. Cathedral Ridge is in Hood River, Oregon, right on the Columbia River Gorge. When Jon and I visited last Memorial Day weekend, it wasn’t a winery that we knew much about, other than just the name. We were pleasantly surprised by their lineup of wines and had trouble choosing which to take home with us. The Halbtrocken is a proprietary blend, and they won’t tell you what they put in it. It is a light, dry wine, perfect for sipping on the patio during the hot days of summer.  It has a distinct strawberry taste, without the sweetness of a fruit wine.  I think it would be perfect with a fresh garden salad with grilled chicken on top and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Cathedral Ridge Winery

And to be totally honest, it would have been the perfect accompaniment to my day of exam proctoring. Perhaps it would have made the day go more quickly.