IMG_5249COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE – I’ve long told people it’s just wrong to come to Portland or the wonderful Willamette Valley wine region and not visit one of this country’s most beautiful spots – the Columbia River Gorge.

My wine tour group loaded up and made our way out Thursday morning and had a wonderful day topped by an incredible meal and wine at Newberg’s Recipe restaurant.

No photos do the Gorge or Multnomah Falls justice but I attached a group shot here. We also stopped at the Bonneville dam so see salmon swimming though the locks to be counted. That was quick but interesting stop.

The views from Crown point were a big highlight of the day but so was dinner at Recipe. I have tons of photos I hope to get up Monday evening while flying to Italy for a work trip – assuming Swiss Air has Wi-Fi.

The duck breast seemed to be the big hit along with onion tart or escargot appetizer. I ordered up an Oregon Chardonnay, Washington Chenin Blanc, and two bottles of Oregon Pinot for dinner. The 2006 Bergstrom Pinot was big and bold and juicy. The big winner was an Eyrie 200 Pinot – one of David Lett’s last vintages as winemaker. It was light, subtle, full flavored but silky. It was – just maybe – the best glass of Pinot I’ve ever had.

Friday we’re off to start our day at the Republic of Jam in Carlton. We’ll have a little time there then wrap up the trip with a stop at Hawk’s View Winery. I’m really looking forward to checking out the white Pinot Noir.