What: Analemma Pinot Noir Oak Ridge Vineyard Columbia Gorge 2012 $32
Why: The Columbia Gorge is one of the more picturesque growing regions in the Pacific Northwest, with beautiful views of Mount Hood and the Columbia River. The area is unique in that vineyards to the west are influenced by a maritime climate whereas vineyards in the east see a more continental climate. As a result there is a wide assortment of grape varieties grown in the area, from cool climate pinot noir to heat-seeking zinfandel.
While Oregon has shown great success with pinot noir, the variety is one of the few that struggles to find a home in our state, with most areas in Eastern Washington too warm to grow the grape successfully. Not so in the western part of the Columbia Gorge. The 2012 Analemma Pinot Noir Oak Ridge Vineyard Columbia Gorge ($32) is an exceptional example of the variety—easily one of the best I’ve had from Washington. The wine is full of aromas and flavors of wild strawberries and cigar box. It’s supple in feel, with enough tannins that time in the cellar would be rewarded.