Viento Wines 2011 Dry Riesling Columbia Gorge
A “Hood River boy” keeps it local
Viento is the Spanish word for “wind”, and that’s exactly the right word for a winery located in Hood River, amidst the best windsurfing in the world.
Winemaker Rich Cushman is a Hood River native, and after studying viticulture at UC Davis and apprenticing in Germany, he decided that he was “a Hood River boy” and turned down job offers that would take him out of Oregon.
In Germany, Cushman fell in love with Riesling and in 1981, he planted his first vines – still growing strong right next door to the Viento tasting room. As he says, “The vines are now getting old and gnarly but are producing wonderful quality fruit.”
In an oral history interview with Linfield College, Rich noted that Riesling and other cool-climate grapes are especially suited to cooler and wetter western end of the Columbia Gorge. He’s committed to sourcing all of his wine grapes from the immediate area around Hood River, driving no further than 35 miles for any grapes.
And that makes Viento Wines an excellent sample of what you’ll find in and around Hood River.
Cellar 503 Tasting Notes
Viento Wines, Hood River, Oregon
2011 Dry Riesling Columbia Gorge
Riesling from Viento’s old vines is vinified in stainless steel to a totally dry style. With a balance of modest alcohol, intense fruit flavor and great acidity, it is a great example of how delicious a dry Riesling can be. The aromas are of apples, lime, flint – particularly characteristic of Viento’s location – and bright spiciness.
There is an intensity to the flavor due to the age of the vines and the dry style. This wine will show beautifully when paired with crab, sushi, charcuterie or a roast chicken.
Viento’s Riesling is a great example of what you’ll find in the Columbia Gorge AVA, a small wine-growing region that straddles the Oregon/Washington border. (And is not to be confused with the much-larger Columbia Valley AVA to the east that’s mostly — but not entirely — on the Washington side.)