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Washington Wine, how is it different?


(posted 3/13/2012)

In the great continuum of wine styles where does one find the wines of Washington State? Despite the heat of eastern Washington the answer might surprise you... Who better to ask than Ron Coleman, owning winemaker of the illustrious Tamarack Cellars who pioneered vine growing in this corner of the Pacific Northwest.

Featured Wines


Tamarack Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 
Characteristics: Serene and regal, unadulterated Cabernet Sauvignon as only Columbia Valley can achieve which to my palate marries the merits of Bordeaux with the best of the deep and rich Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon while remaining nonchalant and keeping a twinkle in its smiling face. The nose offers up a variety of earthen aromas: root spices, pine forests, a hothouse of drying herbs from a loving garden. Cassis, plums and blackberries all mingle into the compote of a palate with high toned brown spices and seasoned hardwoods atop a grip of well ripened tannins. This is the sort of well rounded Cabernet Sauvignon that we look for but seldom find until we happen upon glass like this and wonder where it's been hiding.
Wine review by Nicholas Livingston, March 2012

Full bodied with ripe scents of black currant and violets, rich aromas of caramel intertwined with lively acidity and bright berries, dark chocolate and velvety tannins.
14.5% alc. 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot,
4% Cabernet Franc.
- notes from the winery
Origin: USA
Average Rating: 5 out of 5
Type: Red
Price: $288.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750ML
Bottles Per Case: 12
My Rating:
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Tamarack Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 
Characteristics: Powerful and full bodied with ripe and rich aromas and flavors of cola, dark cherry and cinnamon raisin bread intertwined with blackberry, chocolate mints and spicy notes of French oak. Of all the Tamarack reds, this shows the most length, complexity and balance.
- tasting notes from the winery
Origin: USA
Average Rating: 5 out of 5
Type: Red
Price: $288.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750ML
Bottles Per Case: 12
My Rating:
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Tamarack Cellars Chardonnay 2010 
Characteristics: Tamarack Cellars 2010 Chardonnay, Columbia Valley
Here's a taste of the Pacific Northwest that combines the brawn of a lumberman with the curvy babyfat of Brigit Bardot. Ripe grilled papaya with nuances of butterscotch greet the nose and invite you into a creamy tropical voluptuous sort of Chardonnay with one helluva figure. Tropical and lush, this retains plenty of structure to brace all these soft charms in an alluring whole -a delicious taste of Washington Chardonnay.
Wine review by Nicholas Livingston, March 2012

"Hints of mojito and exotic kiwi fruit on the nose, with lovely peach and apricot, Granny Smith apple, and a touch of grapefruit zest lingering on the smooth finish."
Tasting note from the winery
Origin: USA
Average Rating: 4 out of 5
Type: White
Price: $168.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750ML
Bottles Per Case: 12
My Rating:
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Tamarack Firehouse Red 2010 
Characteristics: Washington red wines, as a category, are a group I think Americans have a tough time understanding, which is a shame because they are so incredibly delicious and consistent. Why "a hard time understanding"? Because it's not Napa Valley Cabernet (juicy, forward, plump), nor is it Bordeaux (austere, defined, regal). It is it's own beast, which is a wonderful thing. Distinctive styles of wine that people don't have an easy reference point for understanding sometimes fly under the radar. If you like bargains, keep this info a secret ... when the world discovers Washington State red wine the prices are bound to go up.


The color on this beauty is deep and brooding, with a nice purple core and high tones in the colors. Aromas of spicy smoky plums, roasting over an open fire, with a succulence in the nose that is just beautiful. The taste is broad at first, with gushes of fruit, but it quickly zooms to a point after a few seconds (this mouthfeel action is, to me, a great characteristic of Washington wines). A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Petite Verdot, and Carmenere. Ideal with red meat cooked on an open fire. 2010 was a strong vintage in the Columbia Valley, so enjoy this wine through 2018.
Wine review by Jason Kallsen, February 2012
Origin: USA
Average Rating: 4 out of 5
Type: Red
Price: $200.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750ML
Bottles Per Case: 12
My Rating:
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Tamarack Firehouse Red 2009 
Characteristics: Washington red wines, as a category, are a group I think Americans have a tough time understanding, which is a shame because they are so incredibly delicious and consistent. Why "a hard time understanding"? Because it's not Napa Valley Cabernet (juicy, forward, plump), nor is it Bordeaux (austere, defined, regal). It is it's own beast, which is a wonderful thing. Distinctive styles of wine that people don't have an easy reference point for understanding sometimes fly under the radar. If you like bargains, keep this info a secret ... when the world discovers Washington State red wine the prices are bound to go up.

The color on this beauty is deep and brooding, with a nice purple core and high tones in the colors. Aromas of spicy smoky plums, roasting over an open fire, with a succulence in the nose that is just beautiful. The taste is broad at first, with gushes of fruit, but it quickly zooms to a point after a few seconds (this mouthfeel action is, to me, a great characteristic of Washington wines). A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Petite Verdot, and Carmenere. Ideal with red meat cooked on an open fire.
Wine review by Jason Kallsen, February 2012
Origin: USA
Average Rating: 4 out of 5
Type: Red
Price: $200.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750ML
Bottles Per Case: 12
My Rating:
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Tamarack Merlot 2008 
Characteristics: Deep, richly ripened red and black plums and blackberries show right off the bat this is a broad shouldered Merlot structured more like a Cabernet than what many might expect from a Merlot. This is fragrant, full, and rounded with ample tannins and a nice grip through the finish. Those who love Merlot will love this despite its additional brawn but those who strayed for fuller reds will soak in the warmth of this bold outspoken and unapologetic Merlot that could take on a case of Cabernets at this price point and whup there butts.
Wine review by Nicholas Livingston, March 2012

Roasted coffee beans and cherry cola aromas. On the palate, bright ripe fruits abound. Sweet plum, cherry and blackberry pie come to mind, layered with vanilla, milk chocolate, and rich, velvety tannins.
- notes from the winery
Origin: USA
Average Rating: 5 out of 5
Type: Red
Price: $256.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750ML
Bottles Per Case: 12
My Rating:
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Tamarack Syrah 2008 
Characteristics: Syrah as it should be: richly ripened dark plums gentle whiffs of white pepper and yet there's something of a Clumbia Valley mark that is unique yet hard to pin down but to my nose a reduced pomegranite juice that lends a lively concentration. On the palate this shows a ripe land of plentiful sunshine fragrant Syrah, plush and polished with no hard edges -just the glass to pour and enjoy as a glass or perhaps accompany a rack or ribs.
Wine review by Nicholas Livingston, March 2012

A deep ruby colored wine full of boysenberry and huckleberry fruit aromas and a hint of white pepper. Chocolate covered blackberries and a dark berry jammy core are followed by sweet velvety tannins and a lingering finish begging you to have one more drink. 14.5%.
- notes from the winery
Origin: USA
Average Rating: 5 out of 5
Type: Red
Price: $224.00/bottle
Bottle size: 750ML
Bottles Per Case: 12
My Rating:
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