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Lost River Winery

Thursday, August 21, 2008

As promised, a brief digression from the focus on white wines this week. This diversion takes us to Lost River Winery.

The weekend of August 8th I set out for eastern Washington for a climbing trip with the Seattle Mountaineers. Our plan was to do two rock climbs of the same peak on two different days. The peak was Kangaroo Temple near Washington Pass on Route 20. On the first day, we planned climb the North Face. On the second day, we planned to climb an intermediate route – the Northwest Face.

I had looked forward to climbing this peak since I first took the Mountaineers Basic Climbing class back in 2001. The North Face route has a famous step-around move that puts a lot of air under you. I remember seeing a picture of this move during the first lecture for the class and putting it on my list of places to get to. It took seven years, but I was finally about to do the climb! With an August weekend in front of us and a climb in perennially sunny eastern Washington, our chances were good. Or so it would seem.

We awoke at 4am on Saturday and were on the trail by 5am. The weather looked questionable at best, but we still had some optimism that we might be able to get the climb in. This optimism quickly waned as the rain started falling. Rain in eastern Washington in August you say? Impossible! Not so.

We quickly retreated to our cars and regrouped. After driving to Winthrop and enjoying a breakfeast, we decided to visit Lost River Winery.

Lost River Winery is in an enviable position. They are the only winery in the immediate area of Winthrop, are prominently located along the highway, and sit in a year-round tourist area. Lost River’s first vintage was in 2002. The winery makes a number of good wines at very good prices with a total production of 3,800 cases. All of the wines have a consistent minerality and smoothness. The tasting room is also a pleasant place to stop and while away the hours while thinking of mountain climbing.

On Sunday, our attention turned back to climbing and we did manage to get a climb of Kangaroo Temple’s Northwest Face in despite the continually threatening weather. Today the problem was not rain though. It was snow! Snow on the east side of the crest in August you say? Impossible. Not so. See climbing pictures from both days here as well as pictures from other climbing trips here.

Please note that, as these wines were sampled at the tasting room, some may have been open for a period of time.

With this brief diversion, we return to the wines.

Wines:

Score

Name

Notes

$

+

Lost River Pinot Gris Columbia Valley 2007

Lots of Golden Delicious apple on the nose and taste as well as Asian pear. Crisp acidity with a nice weight on the back end. 50% Inland Desert Vineyard; 50% Willowcrest Vineyard. 13.2% alcohol.

$14

*

Lost River Nebbiolo Wahluke Slope 2006

Light in color, the nose is marked by floral, mineral, and dried fruit notes. The wine has good body and a nice, even taste with mineral, cranberry, and a touch of sweetness. 13.9% alcohol. 148 cases produced.

$22

+

Lost River Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2005

Classic Walla Walla Valley smokiness on the nose. However, unlike many, it is appealing and not overbearing. Tar and earth round out the wine. Very nicely done. 93% Syrah (Morrison Lane, Stone Valley, and Les Collines vineyards); 7% Cabernet (Les Collines). 13.8% alcohol. 574 cases produced.

$22

*

Lost River Merlot Columbia Valley 2005

An almost candied aroma along with violets and cherries. Beautifully balanced on the taste which, like many of the wines, is marked by a pleasing minerality. Some soy notes on the nose, indicating the wine may have been open for a bit. 14.5% alcohol. 595 cases produced.

$22

*

Lost River Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2005

A fairly big nose with spice, dark fruit, and floral notes. The wine is light in body and exceptionally smooth. 33% Inland Desert Vineyard; 33% Pepperbridge Vineyard; 34% Wallula Vineyard. 13.9% alcohol. 575 cases produced.

$24

+

Lost River Community Red 2006

Black olive, bright red fruit, earth, and light cranberry notes on the nose. The earth notes come through on the taste which is, again, very even. A very fun wine for the money, especially paired with food. Recommended.

$13

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2 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. All that background info on the climb but no mention of the broken bottle of Cab back at the campground! We'll give that bottle to the climbing gods and hopefully they'll bless us with better weather next time!

    Pete

     
  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. Dear Sean,

    Thanks for the great writeup on our wines. I have to say that your story about the lost Cab, while tragic, really struck a chord. I was introduced years ago to beautifully aged Riojas by a climbing companion whose father in law's cellar had outlived the elderly gentlemen's consumption habits. One day while prepping for a memorable trip to the west ridge of Forbidden Peak, my friend dropped the bag containing one such jewel into the gutter in the street in front of my Bellingham home. As we stood around whiffing the sublime aroma both of us thought of running for a sponge and a wine glass. the stories will probably outlive the memory of the wines.

    Cheers,

    John Morgan
    Winemaker
    Lost River Winery

     

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