This week’s article starts with a bittersweet farewell to a friend. Yesterday I attended the funeral of Bob Dykes. If you are a frequent visitor to tasting rooms in the Columbia Valley, you’ve probably run into Bob and his beautiful wife Kathleen. Bob worked in his retirement for several years in the Barnard Griffin tasting room, and Kathleen has represented different wines and wineries as a distributor for many years. Many people were touched by Bob’s sense of humor, knowledge of wines, and his famous gourmet chili.
Several hundred people, including some of the winemaking elite from the region gathered at Goose Ridge last night to remember Bob. One of the reasons why the reception was held at Goose Ridge was because Bob would only want his friends drinking the best. With that, I’m going to share with you my tasting notes from Goose Ridge in his honor.
For those not familiar with Goose Ridge Winery, it is probably one of the easiest Washington wineries for those living in Eastern Oregon to get to. Simply drive north on I-82 until you reach the Dallas Road exit in the Tri-Cities. Take a right and go 200 yards off the exit to reach the winery entrance.
Owned by the Monson family, Goose Ridge’s winemaking is left up to the fine hands and mind of one of the greatest winemakers in the region, Charlie Hoppes. Charlie, while working on his own Fidelitas brand, and helping out several other fledgling wineries, has spent considerable focus over these past years creating beautiful wines for the Monsons.
As for the wines, I’ll start off by talking about the 2008 Pinot Gris. The wine has a slightly floral aroma with bright citrus flavors mixed with honey and melons. It reminds me of Easter Brunch as I swirl it in my glass. The acid levels in the wine make the finish just the right length.
My experience of the 2007 Chardonnay was just as pleasant. Tropical scents on the nose, with flavors of pineapple, pear, crisp apple, and vanilla. The finish is creamy and smooth showing just the right amount of malolactic fermentation mixed with the right amount of time on the oak.
The 2007 G3 Red Blend is a mixture of 48% Syrah, 28% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, and topped with 2% Malbec. This wine lifted from the glass with a nose of currants and blackberry jam. Flavors of cherries and vanilla give it a hearth-like warmth, with a long delicate finish.
2006 was a good year for Merlot in the Columbia Valley. The 2006 Estate Merlot is a perfect example of what this grape is capable of in the right conditions and good treatment. Currants, black cherry, and vanilla on the nose translate directly to the tongue with an addition of baking spices on the back of the palate. A long silky caramel finish makes this Merlot quite memorable.
Last, the 2005 Sol Duc is one of my favorites from this region. Made by Charlie Hoppes for Goose Ridge, and distributed through Precept Wine Brands, this wine is simply fantastic. Blackberry and dark cherry jam on the nose, with flavors of cassis, blackberry, and cherries mixed with rich vanilla and baking spices.
I hope you take the time to visit Goose Ridge soon. In the mean time I know it is available through many stores and restaurants in Eastern Oregon and Washington.