Tamarack Cellars

The next time you go to Walla Walla, be sure to stop by Tamarack Cellars, located in a restored World War II fire station and barracks at the airport complex. And while you’re there, try their signature Firehouse Red – chances are, you’ll take a bottle or three home with you.

Each vintage of Firehouse Red garners great reviews – it’s been described as bursting with flavor, expressive, fine value and outstanding. But my favorite description is from Tamarack’s website: “Year in and year out, it’s like partying with an old friend.”

The 2007 vintage is called “the ultimate food wine, pairing well with everything from pasta and pizza to grilled meat and roasted chicken.” We drank the 2006 Firehouse Red with pasta over the holidays. This full-bodied wine is a fruit-filled blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (34%), Syrah (30%), Merlot (21%), Cab Franc (8%), Sangiovese (3%), Carmenere (2%) and Malbec (2%). I could be wrong, but I think the Carmenere might set this wine apart from so many others.

Carmenere originally came from the Medoc region of Bordeaux and later came to Chile. These days, small amounts of this ancient Bordeaux varietal are grown in the Walla Walla Valley. It’s a great blending grape that I hope to see more often in Washington wines in the future.