Oakwood Cellars was a small Red Mountain winery for 29 years; they still have a web presence despite being closed for the last year. In their place is a new winery, Tucannon Cellars; the dream lives on! We had the pleasure of discovering Tucannon Cellars on our last visit to Red Mountain.
From vines that were overgrown to a deck that needed reinforcement and a brick pizza oven the new owners have made steady progress outside since they closed on the property February 14, 2014; they remodeled inside the tasting room and opened the 15th of July. Wanting to salvage the vines for 2014 harvest was a priority; sadly, many of them were just too neglected to save and these will have to be replaced. On a chilly, wet winter day owner and wine maker Phil
Warren was outback burning vegetation and dragging ancient appliances up to his truck for eventual removal. His wife was experimenting with a chocolate pizza in the pizza oven for this coming weekend’s Valentines Day wine and chocolate pairing event. Ethan, one of his sons, was behind the bar pouring for us. We gathered that Kyle, the other son, and their Aunt were the creative drive behind the label art and the logo. This is a family winery; everyone helps make wine, everyone helps sell wine. As with Oakwood, hand crafted is the wine making method. Although, there are photos of Eppie, Oakwood’s winemaker, using the crusher-destemmer that Ethan showed us on the crush pad on her old website.
We tasted through several of their wines, two of the three whites offered and four of the seven reds. The 2011 Chardonnay, stainless steel fermented, is melon and citrus with a nice acidic finish. The 2012 Viognier is light stone fruit with a varietally silkier mouthfeel. The two red blends, both from 2011 fruit in neutral oak. The Red Fusion was an interesting combination of 50% Merlot, 25% Mourvedre, 20% Lemberger (estate fruit from Oakwood Cellars) and 5% Petit Verdot imparting warm, dark fruit and baking spices.
We had the pleasure of a quick tour with Ethan, the cellar (the old garage) contains tanks as well as barrels, the crush pad with Oakwood’s old equipment, and the deck and new pizza oven. Friendly folks, exciting changes coming together and lots of potential here at Tucannon Cellars. They are a small facility, 1200 cases, so not likely to be well-distributed any time soon.