Cascade cliffs

Cascade cliffs

Last year when I raved about Maryhill winery’s Barbera, a friend of mine suggested that I might like Cascade Cliff’s Barbera as well.  So, this year after dropping by Maryhill I had to check it out.  The winery was buzzing with activity since it was the day of their 16th year anniversary.  I was in a bit of a hurry, but the entire flight of wines were amazing and I enjoyed every single one immensely!

Cascade cliffs

Cascade cliffs tasting room

Here’s the tasting lineup along with tasting notes:

2011 Nebbiolo
Our nebbiolo is much more “generous” and soft at an early age while still retaining the grape’s trademark complexity. The estate nebbiolo provides a myriad of flavors and aromas ranging from rose petal, dried tea, rosemary, coffee, and Mediterranean fruit such as fig and blood orange. This is truly the most poetic red wine known to mankind!

The skins of nebbiolo are fairly thin and delicate, producing a lighter, somewhat translucent ruby color. Looks can be deceiving though… This is a wine that can stand up to hearty dishes and goes particularly well with earthy flavors of wild game, mushrooms and truffles.

2011 Syrah
It can produce dark and brooding aromas of black fruit, chocolate, espresso and black pepper. With proper aging a deep layering of flavors emerge that are earthy with savory hints of leather and white truffle.

Our Syrah exhibits ultra ripe fruit flavors, powerful spice and smoke aromas, and soft, velvety tannins on the finish. This is a great wine to either lay down for a while or enjoy with grilled meats.

2011 Barbera
Barbera wines can be either fresh, fruity, and youthful (without oak aging), or produced in a more robust, drier style that ages well for many years.

Our estate barbera is our richest and most intense red, packed with dark red berry flavors, including black cherry, currant, and black raspberry. Solid acidity allows this wine to remain well-balanced with a long, vibrant finish.

2010 reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Our estate cabernet is a robust, full-bodied red with notes of tobacco, cassis, black cherry and clove on the palate. It can be enjoyed in its youth with hearty meals, but will age well and soften for many years.

I was still thinking about how delicious these wines were days later when I called a few days later and signed up for their Cliff’s club.  It was exciting to pick up the 1st shipment and have another tasting to decide which bottles to open first.

If you’re not familiar with Cascade Cliffs, you might enjoy their blog as well as this “Vine stories” video about them.


Maryhill winery

Maryhill winery

Last year was my first excursion to Maryhill winery and I was due for another visit since I was out in the gorge en route to Skamania lodge.


Last year I was impressed with their Barbera and I was eager to try another flight of their wines.  This time I indulged in the flight of their reserve wines.  Here’s the lineup along with the tasting notes.

2011 Reserve Chardonnay

We can’t believe ‘it’s not butter’ in this Chardonnay!  Honeysuckle, grilled pear, pineapple and peach aromas liven the senses and prepare you for a silky,  golden delicious apple, honey and toasted almond finish.

2009 Reserve Syrah

This ruby beauty blends rich aromas of fig, coffee and caramel with a pomegranate, dark chocolate palate that lingers briefly and leaves a wonderful bready, roasted chestnut finish.  Pair with peppercorn steak, roasted duck or rich shellfish.

2007 Reserve Serendipity

“Serendipity – the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Experience lavender, raspberry, cherry and cigar box on the nose. On the palate a smooth fruit entry develops into a complex blend of pomegranate, raspberry, stewed plums, coffee and tart cherry on the mid-palate. The finish has a bit of grip at first and a pleasant linger that allows you to contemplate the opus that is this wine.

2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep garnet color in the glass gives you a visual of things to come. Dark fruits, smoke, vanilla and coffee are prominent on the nose and palate. The experience doesn’t stop there though. The hints of lilacs, currant, plum and raspberry come and go and add a depth and complexity that will provide a wonderful sipping experience as well as pair with big flavorful meat dishes. This is a very smooth cab.

2010 Reserve Zinfandel

Our crowd pleasing Zinfandel has hit a new high. Aromas of cherry chutney, plums, cigar box, truffles and coffee make one’s eyes light up immediately. On the palate, black cherry, smoked meat, currant and hints of the darkest of fruits keep you engaged. On the lingering finish look for pain grille’ with truffle oil to surprise you and make you ready for more. Whether with prime rib, chocolate cake or simply sipping slowly, this deliciously Zinful wine is an absolute pleasure.

I ended up purchasing a bottle of Malbec this year.  Here’s the tasting notes:

Typically a blending grape due to rich color and bright acidity, Malbecs were late to the wine scene as an individual bottling. Our deep red-violet offering filled with aromas of rich red cherries, juicy raspberries, rose-petals and baked bread certainly is deserving of its own bottle. On the palate black pepper, tobacco, French roast coffee, and dark fruit precede a palate cleansing acidity and soft tannins. Malbec was late to the party? We say, better late than never. Yum!

It was a gorgeous day for a picnic lunch on the deck before running off to miss the traffic from the Willie Nelson concert in the evening.

Oregon zoo

Oregon zoo

Last year was the first time I’d been to the Oregon zoo and it was a nice adventure including the Pink Martini concert.  It was a nice refresher to see all parts of the zoo in 1 day, but quite a bit of walking.  I didn’t take many photos this time.

It was fun to watch the penguins during feeding time.


It was interesting to watch how the giraffes doing the splits to get down low while eating.


I was able to get close to the eagle after his show and he’s considered small. 🙂


This little beaver was cute up close under the water.


Each time I go, there are interesting things to see…



I had occasion to have lunch at Clarklewis recently.  I was looking forward to it having looked at the website and the focus on farm to table ingredients.  On street parking is tricky to find, but it’s definitely worth it!

The beet salad and roasted summer squash sandwich were amazing!

23Hoyt, Blue Hour, and Saucebox are all restaurants affiliated with Lewisclark.  I’m looking forward to checking out 23Hoyt and Blue Hour soon!

Lan Su Chinese garden and Portland city grill

Lan Su Chinese garden and Portland city grill

Last year I celebrated my anniversary at the Lan Su Chinese garden and Portland city grill and it was such a wonderful day/evening that I decided to do it again this year!

Lan Su Chinese garden

The Lan Su Chinese garden is an amazing juxtaposition of the downtown skyscrapers with the relaxing atmosphere of the garden.

chinese garden with downtown skyscaper background

We indulged in tea at the Tao of Tea teahouse.  It’s so relaxing to view the garden through the teahouse window.

Tao of Tea window onto garden

The Rose Petal Black tea was so deliciously sweet!  It had almost a honey-ish flavor to it.

Rose petal black tea

I always enjoy the artistic nature of the Lake Tai rock structures throughout the garden.

Lake Tai rocks

Take the virtual tour of the garden for yourself!

Portland city grill

The food is delicious and the service impeccable at the Portland city grill.  We were lucky this year and got a window seat.  What a beautiful view of the city.

Portland city view

The Apple candied hazelnuts and gorgonzola salad was a lovely way to start dinner and the salmon and pork chops were delicious as well.