Here’s the deal – Lyle, Washington, lovely place. They got the local wineries together for a group event. One $15 fee, you get a glass and a welcoming smile everywhere you go: http://www.wineriesoflyle.com/
Is the Columbia Gorge lovely? Yes, yes indeed it is:
What mysteries await us? Let’s just see…
Syncline. An old favorite of ours.
See back there? They’ve expanded their garden / picnic space. Lovely, lovely place to visit.
Cor Cellars. They have built a beautiful tasting room. Spacious, airy, comfortable. We like to focus on what people are doing *right* vs. what people are doing wrong. Some years ago we had a poor experience at Cor, this is the first time we’ve been back. The location is absolutely lovely, but the people there aren’t doing more than pouring juice in a glass. Sorry gang, you’ve got some work to do on the experience.
Voted as Most Improved: Domaine Pouillon
Our first visit some years ago was quite lovely. Down by the barn, with all the wine making machinery, a giant wheel of cheese, goats, chickens…. very informal. Like hanging out with the family. Lovely. We really enjoyed it.
On our second visit, they’d built an official tasting room up the hill. The experience was cold, like visiting a museum gift shop. We didn’t want to go back.
This visit, however, was a pleasant switcheroo. What was different? We think two things. The physically layout of the room was more welcoming. By having the tasting bar to the right on the way in seems to open up the room in a way that wasn’t true before. Also, Joyce believes the people behind the wine were behind the bar, and showed a lot more heart. It’s more than just a job, eh?
Memaloose. Man, they have a lovely view of the Gorge. Their wine was fine. Go check it out.
And the big winner for the weekend is: Tetrahedron
Here’s Darren Michaels holding court in his tasting room in Lyle. Why was Tetrahedron the best experience of the weekend? Why is it the only place we bought a bottle to take with? I’ll tell you: Enthusiasm. These people are excited by what they’re doing.
Oh, and we got to talk about Dungeons and Dragons. That’s always fun for Steve.
Lovely hand painted bottles. You know you need a couple of these for your gift-giving needs:
Instead of nothing, or a bowl of Costco crackers, Tetrahedron stepped up and showed the other wineries how it’s done. That’s right. Six wines to sample, and six snack-o-miendos to pair with each one. But not just any snack – well picked to compliment the flavors of the wine. Note: only two of the other wineries on this weekend’s even bothered to have Costco crackers. Tetrahedron went above and beyond. If you’re only going to stop in one tasting room in Lyle, this is the one.
Now, if you’re a regular reader, you know that this blog is about the experience of visiting and not so much about the actual wines. Why? Well, we are blessed in that almost every place you visit has good wine, so for our blog we concentrate on the experience and how it affects our ultimate purchasing decisions.
In this case, on top of the tasting room experience, Tetrahedron threw us for a loop with their wine. Not only did Joyce enjoy their white wines, she even bought a bottle of white wine for later. That never happens. Joyce is not interested in white wines. It’s not that white wines are bad, it’s just that they are mostly boring on the tongue. Tetrahedron’s whites are built with a more herbaceous quality. We aren’t going to go into flavor detail here, like the old “notes of tobacco and broken dreams over BBQ and the souls of forgotten swamp children’s coffee” kinds of things you might hear elsewhere. Probably the closest thing I can compare their three whites is to a cocktail of a regular white wine plus a bit of a European liquor.
Result? Yummy! Go get some for yourself. You know you want to!
…and now some bonus shots of our heroes in action: