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Cascade Cliffs - Tasting Mar 2023

Home to one of the first plantings of Barbera and Nebbiolo in the Pacific Northwest, Cascade Cliffs has over 30 years of winemaking history. Their Estate Vineyard in the Columbia River Gorge puts out a broad range of varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Syrah, red and white blends, rosé wines. However, it is their Italian varietals and blends that makes them unique. Their focus on Barbera has received numerous accolades.

2020 Rosata Rose of Barbera, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese. Columbia Valley. Peach, grassy notes. Medium body of juicy peach, full mouthfeel lemon tart with bright round acidity. $35. Score 90. 2021 Merlot Mckinley Springs, Horse Heaven Hills Tawny color, fig, plum, raisins, dark cherries on the nose. Light body of plum, savory herb, slight bitter oak notes on the finish. $50. Score 89. 2020 Merlot McKinley Springs, Horse Heaven Hills, 15% estate Subdued nose of bright red fruit, licorice. Bold Red cherries black tea, medium body. Firm tannins, with hint of vanilla. $55. Score 90. 2020 Nebbiolo Horse Heaven Hills Subdued Earthy nose, graphite. Cherry and strawberry jam, leather and tobacco, smooth firm sticky tannins long finish. $55. Score 90. 2021 Syrah Shaw Vineyard, Red Mountain. Massive nose of dark berries and savory herb, game. Bold blackberries, blueberries, grippy tannins, swimming salinity. While young, showing promise. Cellar. $55. Score 94. 2019 Barbera Columbia Valley Sweet cherries notes of mint aromas. Vibrant, Straberry jam and tart cherries, eucalyptus. medium body, structured tannins and lengthy finish. $65. Score 93. Price 65 Score 93

2020 Hommage 47% cab sauv 38% merlot 15% malbec Plum and fig nose, oak, touch of pepper. Bold dark berries, leather, heavy oak and vanilla, alcohol on the finish. 2019 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia valley 75% McKinley Springs, Horse Heaven Hills, 25% estate Ripe concentrated juicy cherry and balanced by spice of black pepper, green peppercorn, Rounded tannins, lengthy smooth finish of red cherry vanilla. $75. Score 94. 2021 Malbec Columbia valley Cherry, Floral notes, cherry and licorice, grippy tannins. Ready to go! $55. Score 95.

Cascade Cliffs has much to offer. They met expectations with their 2019 Barbera. I adored the 2021 Malbec, which is surprisingly ready to go despite its young age. Their 2021 Syrah from Shaw Vineyard is showing great promise, and should cellar well. The 2019 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was very well balanced in a more medium body style. I must return to explore their Italian varietals and blends in more depth. In particular they make two styles of Barbera - the lighter Washington version, and a "Blood Red" Barbera, a richer ripe style. Finally, it is worth mentioning their Paisan, a "Super Tuscan" style blend, is limited mostly to club members.


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