Wine & Dine at Skamania Lodge

Wine & Dine at Skamania Lodge

For the person that loves to wine and dine, the Columbia River Gorge is a perfect place to escape for a long weekend. I cashed in time-off to do just that with an extra day of full relaxation in one of the regions most renowned resorts—Skamania Lodge. In the heart of the Pacific Northwest’s wine country, Skamania Lodge provides the perfect backdrop for a gourmet getaway with sweeping views of the Columbia River, a golf course, spa, and farm-to-table dining by Executive Chef Matt Hale. 

A Room with a View

With so much to do in the Columbia River Gorge from hiking to touring local wineries, and exploring the riverside, you may not be planning for much time at the resort—but think again. One of my favorite parts of my stay was the rustic ambiance of Skamania. The resort sits on a sprawling field overlooking the river. It’s a majestic sight that pictures don’t quite do justice. The view from my room was so captivating, I couldn’t bring myself to close the windows or blinds before bed. When I woke up with the sunrise early the next morning, the purple sky through the mountains didn’t disappoint. Even if you go without a river view room, the lawn features Adirondack chairs facing the Gorge where guests can enjoy morning coffee or a happy hour wine, and a fire pit that’s perfect for roasting marshmallows. Don’t beat yourself up if you decide to skip in favor of a quiet afternoon on the sun-drenched lawn instead.

Inspired Food & Wine

The agriculturally rich landscape of the Columbia River Gorge lends itself perfectly to Skamania’s Executive Chef, Matt Hale. I had the pleasure of attending a five course wine dinner by Chef Matt paired with local Airfield Wine. 

The evening started with Airfield’s 2017 Sangiovese Rosé and a meet and greet with Airfield’s winemaker, Marcus Miller. Learning about the family vineyard and Airfield’s historical namesake was a great way to kick of the evening. And of course, the dinner itself was one of those meals that you simply don’t want to end. You can tantalize your own taste buds with this recap:

First Course
As we got seated in the beautiful Cascade Dining Room, we were served luscious local scallops, crispy shaved Brussels, and flavorful roasted kohlrabi paired with a lightly oaky 2016 Viognier. 

Second Course
The second course was one of my favorites—hand-rolled gnocchi with fresh picked tomato, foraged forest mushrooms, corn, hazelnuts, shaved grana padano, and beurre noisette—a rich brown butter sauce. Airfield’s citrus forward 2017 Sauvignon Blanc made the pairing unforgettable. 

Third Course
Next up was Penn Cove mussels, tabasco mignonette, chives, and smoked aioli. Typically, I would expect mussels to be paired with a Sauvignon Blanc, but Chef Matt and Marcus knocked it out of the park with Airfields 2014 Mustang complex Rhone-like blend.

Fourth Course 
Perfectly cooked, spice-rubbed hanger steak—need I say more? The melt-in-your-mouth steak was paired with Airfield’s full-bodied 2015 Hellcat, for a velvety layered flavor combination featuring pepper, smoke, and dark cherry. Asparagus, padrons, confit fingerlings, and caramelized onion, rounded out the plate and made this course a truly special main.

Fifth Course
When dessert finally rolled around I was delighted by the fluffy, light olive oil cake, bright blueberry coulis, with creamy labneh, and candied citrus. It was paired with Airfield’s extremely limited 2016 Late Harvest Riesling created in an “ice wine” style, meaning the grapes were harvested very late in the season for extra sweetness. 

Weekend Highlights

From the outstanding food and wine, to the spectacular grounds, and easy access to nearby day trips, it’s hard to pick just a few highlights, but here goes:

The Rosé
My first glass of Airfield’s 2017 Sangiovese Rosé—which you have to try if you are a rosé lover. Subtle hints of strawberry and rhubarb make this rare bottle ideal for summer drinking. You can get it from one of Airfield's two locations in Processor or Woodinville, or at Ballard Market in Seattle and Central Market in Seattle.

The Gnocchi 
It’s hard to choose my favorite dish of the night and even though the hanger steak was a show stopper, I can’t stop thinking about the gnocchi. The lightly crispy and doughy morsels were perfect with the acidity of the tomatoes and crunchy hazelnuts. Hoping Chef Matt puts this one on the menu full time so I can order it again next time I visit Skamania.

The Outdoor Hot Tub
Nestled among rock formations and fauna is Skamania’s 21+ hot tub. With a waterfall feeding into the tub and the same Gorge view that Skamania is known for, there is no better place to soak in full relaxation. Take a dip underneath the stars to cap off a great day, or rise and shine with a visit to the tub before you check out.

Plan Your Trip

There’s no bad time to visit Skamania and the Columbia River Gorge but summer is ideal for hiking and enjoying everything that the property has to offer. You’ll leave feeling rejuvenated in completely in awe of the beauty in your own backyard. When you get there, drink a glass of the Airfield’s 2017 Sangiovese Rosé for me! 

For more information on Skamania Lodge, visit skamania.com or call (800) 221-7117, and stay up to date on current events and specials by following Skamania Lodge on Facebook and Twitter.

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