Seven Bridges Review
Address: 2303 N Harding Ave Portland,Oregon 97227.
Phone Number: 503-203-2583
Tasting Hours: Sat-Sun 1:00-5:00
Region: Willamette Valley AVA, Oregon
Reviewer: Rob Boss
Review Date: 7/10/2016
Reviewer: Rob Boss
The great thing about Oregon in general and Portland in particular is the number of wineries producing really great Pinot Noir. Its what we do here, at least at the top of the state. The downside is, tasters are easily inundated. But that becomes an upside for a winery like Seven Bridges who produce Bordeaux varietal wines from Southern Washington fruit.
Turns out, we had a history. Years ago, they stopped by Boedecker Cellars and dropped off their first vintage for tasting. The wines were pretty good, and at the time I thought they had potential. Im pleased to report theyre making the journey with gusto and aplomb. That aplomb includes their cool little tasting room in North Portland. Theres a delicious propriety without pretension in this industrial space. Although the wines are poured into a proper Bordeaux glass for best presentation and reception, theyre decanted through a plastic funnel into a lab beaker.
Our tasting room maven, Rob, was definitely a fan, but thoughtfully asked how much in the way of statistics I wanted to know. (The answer: I dont need the percentage of each varietal, but I do want to know everything thats in the cuvée.) The first pour turned out to be my favorite. The 2012 Paradox is a blend of mostly Merlot, with small parts of Malbec and Petite Verdot. I couldnt get enough of the nose: spicy, with vanilla, white pepper, and sage. Cocoa, espresso, black cherry followed on the palate but mostly, I just kept breathing it in. Theres enough structure to age, but I thought it was just fine right now. The next one turned out to be Jais favorite. The 2012 Resolution 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, offering a more restrained nose of crushed fruit but rich chocolate, French roast coffee and young black cherry flavors. Both were good cocktail wines, although they would do well with richer food, too.
Prima Nata means “first born,” for Seven Bridges first wineand the first Seven Bridges wine I tried, years back. The 2012 is a classic Bordeaux blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot. It was a little shy this time but still showed a nice crushed fruit nose, then dried cherry and dried raspberry fruit flavors. Very much an age-worthy wine, Id tuck it away for another three years. The younger 2013 Les Collines Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was a little more accessible. The dark chocolate nose was mouthwatering. The rich, intense, dark chocolate and ripe raspberry flavors were delectable.
Seven Bridges best-seller and star of the show is the Elerding Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2011 poured that day offered mounds of fruit: very bright, very ripe blackberries and black cherries on the nose. Nice, refined cherry, raspberry, and blackberry flavors followed. Elegant, sumptuous, opulent theres so much going on in this wine that will only have more clarity as time goes by.
Following the impact of the Elerding, the 2013 Seven Hills Vineyard Syrah seemed almost playful. Fresh plums were in abundance in the nose, and the ripevery ripered and black plum and black cherry flavors seemed almost like dessert. Or maybe a parting gift, with a luscious and soft ending to the flight.
Big reds in a small room might well describe Seven Bridges, although theres certainly more going on behind the wall of barrels than meets the eye. Theyve kept it simple in all the best, most important ways, and the wine definitely shines because of that. From easy drinking cocktail wines to bold, age-worthy wines to be enjoyed “of a certain age,” they deserve a look. They may even demand your attention.
(Photos by Jai Soots)