The Bonneville Hot Springs Resort

As I mentioned in my August Review of Washington Wines, we spent two nights at the Bonneville Hot Springs Resort and Spa. What a treat it was. The rooms are luxurious and spacious, the food outstanding (one dinner consisted of fresh Salmon caught from the Columbia River, perfectly grilled). The first morning, we met with Gary Sorrels, the General Manager, in the Resort’s Grand Room. There, Gary explained that the Resort has the only authentic hot mineral springs spa along the Columbia River, one where the mineral waters are drawn directly from the nearby hot springs. At the Spa, one can swim in a mineral water pool, take a mineral bath, and get a mineral water massage. Lynn and I didn’t try these, but will next time. And the service and amenities are first-rate. As Gary put it, “hospitality is everything here.”

Of special interest to the visitor to the Columbia Gorge wine country is the Pacific Crest Dining Room’s extensive wine list. There is a first section devoted to wineries in the Gorge (Syncline, Maryhill and others on the Washington side of the River, and others around Hood River on the Oregon side). An additional section encompasses fine wines from other areas of Washington and Oregon. Finally, there is a third section comprising an eclectic selection of California and international wines. It is an impressive list of wines, all reasonably priced.

There are plenty of other things to do in the area besides the spa and wineries: golfing, hiking, fishing, wind surfing, and more. Watching the wind surfers around Hood River is a must. All in all, the Bonneville Hot Springs Resort is highly recommended. To learn more, go to:


The Latest Wine Deals

My weekly Blog will also include tips on wine specials as they come up at various retailers. Here are the latest buys.

Esquin has two great buys from the Sandhill Winery on Red Mountain, both at $9.99 per bottle (regular $25) / $113.89 per case. The 2003 Merlot, Red Mountain has a rich nose of raspberry, plum, sage and tobacco with deep, chewy flavors that are underlain with minerals and loam, and finishes with slightly dusty tannins. The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain has an equivalent flavor profile for that variety: a deep, smoky blackberry, huckleberry and cigar box nose with authentic varietal flavors, marked by Red Mountain terroir and tones of licorice, mocha and espresso. Stylistically, both are well put together and correct. It is the added flavor interest from the Red Mountain terroir that makes these wines great buys. I rate both 18+/20 points. Note: both of these wines have purple tartrate deposits, so pull the cork gently and then pull the deposits out of the inside of the neck with your finger.

Wine News

  • Washington Winery Licenses Keep Growing
    In March, Spokane’s Bridge Press winery’s application was approved, bringing the number of registered wineries in the state to 600. At the Andrew Will 20th Anniversary celebration (see below), I talked with Robin Pollard, the Director of the Washington Wine Commission, who told me the count then stood at 650!
  • Lake Chelan AVA Approved
    On April 28, the ATF approved the application for the Lake Chelan American Viticulture Area.  This comes on the heels of the Snipes Mountain AVA in the Yakima Valley on February 20.
  • Andrew Will Winery Celebrates its 20th Anniversary
    On August 1, Chris Camarda celebrated his winery’s 20th Anniversary with a pig roast at his Vashon Island facility. Lynn and I were there along with his family and a host of other friends. Many delicious wines were poured, including new and upcoming releases, as well as some older Barolos and a gorgeous 1997 Musigny, Domaine Comte de Vogue. The new releases will be reviewed in an upcoming Review issue. See my report in the January issue for the 2006 and to be released 2007’s. Congratulations to Chris for 20 great years, with more to come.