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The Pines 1852

The Pines 1852 2019 Big Red

The father of Columbia Gorge wines

It was 1982, and Lonnie Wright had just returned from a year spent setting up irrigation systems in Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya.

He heard a rumor that a local orchardist had discovered a century-old vineyard that had been forgotten for two decades. He showed up uninvited at 7 a.m. and got to work – putting his expertise as a vineyard manager to work.

Fast forward three decades, and Lonnie is considered the father of Columbia Gorge wines, demanding respect from the Willamette-centric industry. Just one of a handful of Oregonians awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oregon Wine Board, Lonnie has been a mentor and a champion for winemakers and vineyard managers throughout the Columbia Gorge AVA.

First planted sometime in the 1890s by an Italian stonemason named Louis Comini, those Old Vine Zinfandel vines are now the oldest surviving vines in Oregon and are the heart of Wright’s winery, The Pines 1852. Even his 25-year-old “Young Vine” Zinfandel vines – grown from transplanted cuttings off the old vines – are now more mature than many vines in Oregon.

The Pines 1852

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

The Pines 1852, Hood River, Oregon
2019 Big Red

I love the Columbia Gorge region because you’ll find a huge range of grape varietals across this forty-mile stretch —from cool climate Pinot Noir in the rainy west to big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon in the drier east.

At The Pines 1852, they’re all about the big reds. So much so that their signature blend is called Big Red — 57% Merlot, 21% Zinfandel, 12% Syrah, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot brings makes it fruit-forward. The Zinfandel applies darker fruit and pepper notes. The Cabernet Sauvignon builds body and adds tannins. And the Syrah adds intensity and spice.

This wine is bursting with flavor of dark fruits – black cherry and blackberry – as well as nutmeg and white pepper. Pair this with barbecued ribs, juicy steaks, or just drink it next to a roaring bonfire (maybe with s’mores?)

A Cellar 503 selection in April 2023, Wines We Love Columbia Gorge | Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Zinfandel