Three 2008s from Tamarack Cellars

Hello friends. Let’s dive back into a series of wines that has been immensely popular: the 2008 single-vineyard reserves from Tamarack Cellars. We first offered two of these last September, and before you ask, no, I don’t have access to any more DuBrul. I do still have access to the Seven Hills bottling, and I will include a reorder opportunity at the bottom of today’s offering.

Tamarack has always impressed me with its ability to be two wineries in one: the mass-market winery that releases the 15000-case Firehouse Red (an exceptional sub-$20 value), and the boutique winery that produces single-vineyard reserves with production of a few hundred cases. In that September offering, I said that “those reserves are beloved by Washington wine insiders and are some of our state’s hidden gems.”

Things have changed a bit since then, mostly because David Schildknecht of Wine Advocate has rubbed a good portion of the hiddenness off the gems with his breathless praise released in December:
Wine Advocate (David Schildknecht): [TEXT WITHHELD].
Schildknecht went on to give strong reviews to a series of Tamarack wines from all manner of vintages, including a 96pt review to the 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon, his strongest review for any wine not named Cayuse and a good indicator to Ron Coleman’s ability to craft beautifully long-lived wines.

The interest level has never been higher in Tamarack wines, and this Walla Walla Valley stalwart suddenly finds itself amidst the hum of buzz. Because of that, I’m thrilled that Ron is still willing to let us work with these single-vineyard beauties:

2008 Tamarack Cellars Sagemoor Vnyds Reserve (Cab Blend)

Thanks to Matt Tessler’s diligent work on our ever-expanding vineyard map, we can now show you where the grapes from the Sagemoor family of vineyards come from. This is half Cabernet Sauvignon from Bacchus (location here) and a quarter each Merlot and Cab Franc from Weinbau (location here). It’s a fine display of the continuing rehabilitation project by Kent Waliser and Derek Way on the Sagemoor properties (some of the oldest, most prestigious sites in Washington). Production is quite small, at just 182 cases, and this is a potent bottle, full of crème de cassis and violet and a real dusty character. There’s something deeply savory/saline on the palate: beetroot and sweet pepper to complement a core of the blackest fruit. It’s intense, long, and seamlessly-textured.

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 94pts.”

Wine Advocate (David Schildknecht): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 93pts.”

2008 Tamarack Cellars Ciel du Cheval Vnyd Reserve (Cab Blend)

Even smaller production of the 2008 Ciel: a mere 134 cases from this legendary Red Mountain site (location here). The blend is 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 14% Cabernet Franc. There’s killer Red Mountain character here on the aromatics: cocoa powder, orange peel, and silty earthy minerals hovering over a core of bright red berry fruit. Spicy, leathery, and juicily intense on the palate, this brings flavors of plum and sweet spice, rolling into a finish that is all Cabernet tannin, deeply redolent of chai tea.

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ***** (Exceptional).”

2008 Tamarack Cellars Seven Hills Vnyd Reserve (Cabernet Blend)

My original notes: “A blend of 90% Cab and 5% each Merlot and Carmenere, this spent just shy of two years in barrel (40% new), and total production level was a measly 108 cases. This is serious boutique juice, now four years past vintage (it’s getting rare to see 2008s on the market), and it is a glorious expression of this Walla Walla Valley stalwart vineyard. Of the four reserves, the Seven Hills was the winner for outright prettiness. It begins with a soaring high-toned nose of lilac, rose, and violet (“floral ambrosia,” my note reads). On the palate, the floral notes move to background roles, subtleties to add lift to a core of rich crème de cassis fruit. A big part of the appeal of Tamarack’s reserves is the texture, and this reserve in particular is texturally flawless: a seamless, silky palate-stainer. Long and perfumed, this finishes with a kiss of cherry-tea tannins, fine-grained and integrating rapidly. Wines from Seven Hills are notoriously long-lived. The future is bright for this one.”

Wine Enthusiast (Paul Gregutt): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. 95pts.”

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles of each wine, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. All the wines should arrive in a few weeks, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

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