It seems as if it was only a few years ago that Northwest wineries wouldn’t be caught dead producing something with the generic, non-descript, “red wine” label. The reason? Too many consumers equated it with red table wine, which is sometimes perceived as a blend of leftover reds that might be slightly lower in quality.
But times have changed. Quality continues to improve, blended wines are much more popular, and consumers are becoming savvier and not jumping to conclusions about labeling. With this in place, it now seems as if almost everyone has something labeled as simple as red wine or a variation on the theme.
A couple of examples I’ve enjoyed as of late include the O.S. Winery 2005 Red Wine and the 2005 Firehouse Red from Tamarack Cellars.
The 2005 Red Wine (about $20) from Seattle-based O.S. Winery is another winner from Bill Owen and Rob Sullivan. Made from a blend of Columbia Valley grapes that include cabernet, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot and syrah, it’s quite jammy, with lots of nice, berry flavors and a touch of black currant and chocolate on the finish.
The Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red (about $20) is a tasty blend of cabernet, syrah, merlot and four other red varietals. It’s complex and heady, with dark fruit flavors, pepper and spice nuances and plenty of structure, allowing it to pair well with a pork, duck or beef entrée. The name of the wine, by the way, comes from a World War II fire station and barracks in Walla Walla that have been restored and now house the winery’s tasting room and production facility.
Look for Owen Sullivan and Tamarack Cellars wines at Compass Wines in Anacortes, Purple Smile Wines in Fairhaven or the wine section of your grocer.