Appellation: Columbia Valley
Founding winemaker Ron Coleman named his proprietary red wine as a homage to the World War II-era air base firehouse at the Walla Walla Regional Airport complex, a firehouse that he transformed into his now-famous winery. He and Danny Gordon work on the wines together, and their use of Syrah as a component in red wine blends helped establish a trend that many Northwest winemakers have followed. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon make up 55 percent of this wine that's sourced from seven growing regions, and that skillful use of Syrah (22 percent) smooths out the midpalate in remarkable fashion. It carries a panoply of aromas and flavors that stretch from red to blue to black fruit, all of which combine for a delicious drink that is elegant and supple. This remains a standard glass pour at savvy restaurants and a remarkable bargain for diners who order it by the bottle. This fall, it earned a double gold medal, a unanimous vote by its judging panel, at the fifth annual Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition.
Rating: Outstanding! by Great Northwest Wine (13.9% alc.)
Production: 20,000 cases
Food pairings: Enjoy with anything red and juicy - roasted beef, lamb or tomato-based dishes.
Tamarack Cellars, 700 C St., Walla Walla, 509-526-3533, www.tamarackcellars.com.