Jon and I had dinner last night with my parents and my uncle who was up visiting from Oregon. The topic of wine came up (because really, doesn’t it always?) and my uncle mentioned that he is not a fan of wine. Too bitter. We got to chatting about very sweet wines, and I told him that there was a wine that tasted to me exactly like Martinelli’s sparkling cider. I must say, he sounded intrigued.
It got me thinking that there are a couple of fruit wines that I have around the house and need to get to, since they aren’t going to last a long time. Once we got home, I hunted around for a few minutes and found the Mt. St. Helens Cellars Huckleberry Wine. Jon and I had stopped at this small winery on the way home from one of our many trips to Portland to see family. It is owned by a retired man and his wife, who decided to try their hand at a second career making wine in the shadow of Washington’s most active volcano.
Gary makes some fruit wines and some grape wines, and we sampled several that day. I liked some of the grape wines, particularly their Albariño, but was very impressed with the fruit wines. They have something for everybody, whether you like a sweet wine or something more dry.
Gary has a great sense of humor, giving his wines names like “The Volcano’s Last Syrah,” “Kick Ash Red” and “Sasquatch in a Bottle”. When you live near the site of the largest landslide ever recorded, I suppose you have to have a sense of humor about it!
The Huckleberry wine certainly is sweet, but still has a nice balanced tartness that cuts through the sweetness. It is made from high altitude huckleberries from Mount St. Helens, which is impressive, considering that they aren’t very big, and you are competing with bears, coyotes and cougars for the berries – hopefully they aren’t looking for dinner during harvest! Let’s just say there aren’t that many cases of this wine produced.
So, if you ever find yourself bored on that long stretch of I-5 between Olympia and Portland, take a break at Castle Rock and stop by Mt. St. Helens Cellars. And let me know if you see a Sasquatch…