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A Manhattan-based Master Sommelier tastes some Washington State wines and is so inspired, he sells everything to move across the country to make his own. That’s the start of the story of Gramercy Cellars, where a close eye on the grapes (picked for almost-peak ripeness, mostly organic), matched with minimalist wine making techniques (no or little new oak, no additives) and a lot of time (extended aging) has created wine that’s considered some of the best that Washington offers.
Sommelier for leading restauranteurs and the near perfect growing conditions near Walla Walla to create some of the best-reviewed wines from the region. The results are intense, yet restrained; elegant, yet earthy.
This kind of balance starts with the vineyards. The Walla Walla and surrounding AVAs offer the perfect climate and soil conditions for the kind of wines Greg wanted to make. Gramercy farms its grapes from old vines, carefully tended. It owns three estate vineyards, and controls several others, to ensure the grapes are grown and picked for the specific profile Gramercy is trying to achieve. Many of its wines—particularly its Rhônes—are single-vineyard estate wines.
At the winery, Greg and partner/co-winemaker Brandon Moss carefully design fermentation per the effect they are trying to achieve; sometimes in concrete, sometimes in oak, always with patience and minimalism. The result is honest and complex wines that pair well with food and age well. And get reviewed well!
Smoked meat, intense core of strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, almost black fruit, mineral, black olive, pepper. Granite, stone, and cement. Some green herbs. Medium to medium plus bodied with noticeable tannins. Very floral on the nose. Length for days.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A big, powerful example of this cuvee, the 2014 Syrah Lagniappe comes from the Red Willow, Forgotten Hills and Minick vineyards and is 100% Syrah. It offers a deep, rich bouquet of smoked herbs, cured meats, blackcurrants and pepper. This is followed by a powerful, tannic red that has full-bodied richness, plenty of mid-palate depth and a big finish. I was surprised by the tannin in this cuvee and it showed quite a bit differently (more fresh and lively) from barrel. Nevertheless, it's a serious wine that need 2-3 years of bottle age.
The Cajun term ‘lagniappe’ means ‘a little something extra’. This inky wine is filled with black fruit, thyme, modest acidity and sturdy tannins.
Wine & Spirits
The 2014 Gramercy Syrahs, taken together, are quiet, burled up and needing the better part of three days to unfurl - the product, perhaps, of the new concrete fermenters Greg Harrington has used for this vintage. The Lagniappe smells of fare-off smoke, with dark blueberry fruit that feels like it's at a similar remove. The flavors, with time, move toward savory depths - now sage and lavender, then creosote and carob, then blueberries and violet candy. Utterly intriguing, and still a bit of a mystery. For the cellar.
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