Hello friends. I’m a true believer when it comes to Ron Coleman and Danny Gordon’s reserve bottlings for Tamarack, and I think I’ve converted many of you over the years too. I’ve said previously that these should be Washington cult wines, and on that front, I probably should have kept my mouth shut, because they’re becoming more and more difficult to source. To wit: we can only access two of the four 2010 Reserves (the other two – Sagemoor and Seven Hills – have already disappeared via wine club and direct winery sales).
Year in and year out, Tamarack’s single-vineyard reserves are among the most consistently outstanding wines produced in Washington. And they haven’t raised their prices in years, so the value factor just keeps getting better and better. That’s why we’ve offered them pretty much every chance we’ve had over the years. Here’s a quick history:
2006 vintage: DuBrul, Sagemoor
2007 vintage: DuBrul, Sagemoor, Ciel
2008 vintage: DuBrul, Sagemoor, Ciel, Seven Hills
2009 vintage: DuBrul, Ciel, Seven Hills
As I mentioned in last year’s offer, 2009 was the final vintage of DuBrul. Sad for certain, as Ron’s version was a classic. But it did open up a slot in the reserve program, filled by a wine we’ll be featuring in three… two… one…
Among Red Mountain Vineyards, Tapteil is probably a bit lesser known than Ciel and Klipsun and Kiona, but man oh man is it a beauty: a 1985-planted vineyard with a dark, sultry heart. Even by Red Mountain standards (where the wind never seems to stop blowing), Tapteil is a windy site, and its grapes develop extra-thick skins to compensate. In the hands of incompetent winemakers, Tapteil can lead to unyielding wines, where by the time the tannins integrate (in about forty years), the fruit is long since gone. Fortunately, Ron and Danny practically exude competence at this point, and they’ve done right by this vineyard, offering an honest bottling of Tapteil fruit.
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 25% Cabernet Franc (14.4% listed alc), this begins with a dark brooding nose: blackberry, violet, charcoal, asphalt. In the mouth, you notice the Tapteil power right away. The wine is a serious powerhouse, and an undeniable brooder. It drinks very Cabernet right now, with currant and earl gray tea and violets galore. The tannic structure is imposing but well managed, and there is enough fruit stuffing here to easily last while those tannins polymerize and drop out of solution. You won’t need to wait forty years, but waiting another three to five wouldn’t hurt (or giving this several hours in a decanter if you’re aiming to pour it any time soon).
I’m deeply smitten with this wine. Among late-release 2010s (actually, among all 2010s), it’s hard to think of many more attractive wines than this. Bit of a problem though: only 84 cases produced, so allocations might be challenging here, and reorder prospects seem unlikely.
Much bigger production here: 136 cases. Heh. Yeah, so pretty much the same deal here: challenging allocations, murky reorder prospects.
This now marks the fourth year in a row we’ve offered Tamarack’s Ciel bottling, and that’s no mistake: I consider it one of a quintet of reference point Ciel bottlings (the other four: Andrew Will, Cadence, Seven Hills, Soos Creek). If we had that sort of classification system in Washington, Ciel du Cheval would almost certainly be a Grand Cru vineyard. When you have reference point winemakers working with a Grand Cru vineyard, you can bet I’m going to pay attention.
The 2010 is a blend of 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Cabernet Franc, and 28% Merlot, and it too clocks in at 14.4% listed alc. There’s killer Red Mountain character here on the aromatics: sanguine/iron-tinged minerality, dust, almond paste, all over a core of bright red cherry fruit. What’s exceptional about this wine is how it combines the energy and tension of the vintage with the stuffing and elegance of the vineyard. It’s an old-world new-world bridge-wine for sure, with a very strong mineral core, sumptuous fruit, and serious finishing chew, redolent of chamomile. If this ages like the ‘99s from Ciel du Cheval, expect a successful twenty-year evolution in bottle.
Please limit order requests to 12 bottles of each wine, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in the next week or two, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.