Tamarack Cellars tamarackcellars.com was founded in 1998 by Ron and Jamie Coleman when there were only a handful of wineries in Walla Walla, compared to over 100 today. The goal was to make elegant, balanced, delicious wines and offer them at a fair price. Years later, and now up to 20,000 cases each year, the focus remains the same.Tamarack Cellars hand-crafts consistently outstanding wines for a great price. Ron who is also the winemaker considers his wines to be “high-end value wines”, sources his wines from some of the famed vineyards including Dubrul, Bacchus and Ciel du Cheval from throughout the Columbia Valley and makes at least 1 visit a month to check on the vines and trucks his own grapes back to the winery during harvest.
The winery is housed in an old firehouse on what was an old Army base on the outskirts of Walla Walla, which is also home to other wineries and as an incubator to young and up and coming wineries. Currently making 14 wines, Ron also enjoys experimenting with unique grapes including Counoise. 2 of Tamarack’s wines have placed in the Wine Spectator’s Top 100, the ’08 Firehouse Red was #49 in 2008 and the ’07 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley was #39 in 2011. Along with winemaker Danny Gordon, Ron wines are old world in style made in the new world and very expressive on Washington’s terroir.
Much of the production comes from his Firehouse Red blend and the ’10 vintage is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah w/ smaller amounts of Merlot, Malbec, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese. If that was not enough the ’11 also includes a bit of Grenache and the previously mentioned Counoise. Some with as little as 1% blended in Ron says “you may not taste it but you will see the difference when it’s not blended in.
Tasting the ’10 it had dried rose petals and a hint of spicy mocha in the bouquet.The mouth feel is smooth with berries then rich black coffee lingering through to a cocoa powder and blackcherry finish. It was given 89 points and a “Smart Buy” by the Wine Spectator in Nov. 2012.