Tag Archives: Tamarack Cellars

Wine with the Perfect Progeny of Fruit and Oak

Tamarack Cellars

Tamarack Cellars

Tamarack Cellars Petite Verdot 2013

Tamarack Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington has crafted a 100% Petite Verdot varietal worthy of attention.  Traditionally this  grape has been used to deepen color and supply greater fruitiness in Bordeaux wines.  It often fails in the star role but shines as a supporting actor.  Experimentation as a varietal has increased as the popularity of fruit-driven wines have become more the rage.  All that fruitiness can be very appealing to the novice and indeed it has its place.

Red wines of great nobility, however, have long been married with oak and the flavors of both the fruit and the oak form a character that enhances the wine in all aspects, in my humble opinion.  Too much fruit or oak is the bane of many a would-be great wine.  And how do you create the perfect balance?  It is not easy ,as seen by the majority of reds that may have achieved balance between acid, tannin, alcohol, and fruit but created an imbalance with the oak.  Balance is achieved not only with the longevity of the wine in mind, but with the marriage of these oak and fruit flavors that give birth to their harmonious complexity.

Tamarack has done this well.  The Petite Verdot’s flavors have been filled out and deepened by the right amount of oak that does not go unnoticed to the discerning taster.  Likewise, the oak flavors have been enriched and transformed by the vibrant fruit.  This is one of the most attractive Petite Verdot wines that I have tasted and it will offer a great experience for the educated wine lover.

Rating: 91

Emotional rating:  Very high for the taster that wants the adventure of complex harmony that only a perfect balance of oak and deep fruit can offer.

Availability:  Try the internet wine sources for availability in your region.

An Excellent Syrah from Outstanding Red Mountain Vineyards

Tamarack Ciel du Cheval Syrah 2010

Tamarack Ciel du Cheval Syrah 2010

Tamarack Cellars “Ciel du Cheval” Syrah, 2010, Red Mountain

Dark wine with a light ruby edge, coffee on the nose with toasted notes, hints of rubber and cedar on a base of dark fruit aromas, highly attractive mouthfeel — succulent, juicy and soft — with a balance leaning toward an emphasis on acids, but not objectionable.  This is definitely a food wine and ready to take on the richest of cheeses and dishes.  The finish is a little bitter, meaning the tannins need time to soften and meld with the other flavors.  It has promise of a long age and shows a reasonably long finish.

Red Mountain fruit is herein displayed in all its power.  The wine is well made according to its purpose.  It is not meant to be a ultra smooth, undefined wine.  It is what it is: a powerful wine with plenty of punch and character.  Tamarack Cellars have given us a wine for the table of a rich and meaty meal.  “Delicate” is not the descriptor for this well structured wine.

Rating 90+

Emotional rating: As a food wine, strong and won’t be easily overshadowed.

Availability:  Try the usual internet sources.

Tamarack Cellars Has a “Harmonious” 2012 Cab Sauv

Tamarack Cellars 2012 Cab Sauf

Tamarack Cellars 2012 Cab Sauf

Tamarack Cellars Cab Sauv 2012

This wine exhibits, as do many varietal expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon, the harmony of flavors that this grape can achieve in the finished wine and in blending it with many other grapes.  Tamarack Cellars has chosen a traditional blend of grapes (86% is Cab Sauv, 8% is Cabernet Franc, and 6% is Merlot).  Bordeaux has it right when it blends Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and other grapes with Cabernet Sauvignon.  In fact, the addition of Syrah was a blend that was first used in the early days of Bordeaux.

Cabernet has backbone and muscle but lacks gentleness until age has mellowed its punch.  There is a richness in the mid palate of Merlot that seems to make Cab rounder and smoother, and it does the job in this Tamarack blend.  There is also a similarity with Cabernet Franc that can, in leaner years, add to Cab’s herbaceousness, but when harvested fully ripe, can blend and enrich Cabernet’s offering of blackcurrant as it seems to do in this example.

The winemakers have gone to great measures to preserve the individuality of each vineyard and variety to blend without first muddying the pool.  The result is a harmonious blend of flavors and texture that is to be celebrated in this wine.

The wine needs more age to show at its best.  Somewhat closed, a bit of breathing can help.  On the nose is the richness of vanilla, a hint of smoke at first, and fruit flavors that have married into a harmonious and glorious whole.  It is very complex and appealingly smooth, with fine but strong tannins that should marry more as it ages.  There is a little minerality and the acid is in beautiful balance to the point of it not being noticeable except for its mouth watering effect.  To me, this is acid balance in perfection.

Because of its harmony, this is a wine that does not stand up tall and say, “This is who I am,” but rather delivers a dose of complex pleasure and velvety softness that creeps up on you and creates emotions that are all to do with its soothing melody and its contrasting rich, complex power.

Rating:  91

Emotional rating:  Loads of soft-hued dark fruit and oak lusciousness.  The same emotions as when you fall into a feather pillow, but one well stuffed and firm as well as soft.

Available: from the winery.  Also try wine.com and/or wine searcher.com.