Walla Walla, WA

Weekend wine tasting: Smoky Rose Cellars, Walla Walla

Mary Jo Manzanares


Smoky Rose Cellars is a family-owned and operated business. Josh, a retired Air Force meteorologist is the winemaker and vineyard manager. Jodi, a food microbiologist, runs the tasting room and events side of the business. Sister Amy, currently a Cobra Helicopter pilot with the US Marine Corps, is poised to jump in once she retires. Mom and Dad, Jill and Bill, help out with harvest, errands, retail, and anything else that’s needed.

Daughter Rose (who gets billing in the winery name) may only be 11, but rumor has it she plans on taking on her dad when it comes to winemaking skills. Watch out for her a few years down the road. Dog Smoky, now deceased, is the other family member for whom the winery is named.

Smoky Rose Cellars focuses on Old World winemaking techniques and all grapes are sourced from the Walla Walla AVA.

So let’s get down to some tasting!

First up, the 2019 Grenache.

Pronounced notes of pepper and spice followed by bright red fruits. Pairs well with braised wild game or a mildly spicy Asian dish!

Personal tasting notes: It's not often you can find 100% grenache, so this is a real treat. The 2018 Grenache was designated a Reserve label, making it a tough act to follow. Still, a bit of spicy fruit with a smooth finish all works together well. Nothing is overpowering, it's all well balanced. Buy an extra bottle to put aside for a special occasion. $35.

Next, the 2019 Stinger71.

Surprisingly similar in flavor and body to the 2018 Stinger71, but this time with 75% syrah. Amy [Josh’s sister] is a huge fan of the Rhone region and the wine was named after her number in the squadron when she flew Cobras. Red-purple plum in color with aromas of butter, currant, bramble, leather, and dry cedar. Full-bodied, with flavors of black currant, espresso, Hawthorne, and quince with a mouthwatering, bright finish that leaves you longing for another sip.

Big and bold with plenty of chewiness, yet still not losing its smoothness. Buttery leather aromas, sort of like a well-loved tack room. Delicious paired with a grilled steak. Add a few bottles to your cellar. $35.

Smoky Rose Cellars is located at 2428 Heritage Road, Walla Walla, Washington. This is known as the West Side wine district of Walla Walla.

Like many businesses right now, Smoky Rose is open, but operating under limitations regarding capacity and social distancing. Check their website (here) or call for current information about pick up, delivery, events, and in-person wine tasting.

While you're in Walla Walla for some wine tasting, you may also want to check out our tasting information about Eternal Wines here.

Remember to have a designated driver or take a cab or ride service when doing wine tasting.

Photo credit: Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

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