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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!
I compared the (Gramercy Cellars) Cabernet Sauvignon to a top Margaux last year when I tasted it from barrel, and I stand by that comparison today. - Jeb Dunnuck The 2016 is our fifth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon release. Like the John Lewis Syrah, we base the Reserve Cabernet on the idea of “What is the best of the best in the cellar for that vintage?” Sometimes it’s a specific block of a vineyard. Other times, it is two vineyards nearby or in the same AVA. Then again, it can also be that we find two or three vineyards that pair amazingly well in that specific year and produce a stunning wine, regardless of what the map says about their locations. The goal: to make the most interesting Bordeaux based varietal wine in that vintage. The 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon returns to the classic blend of Bacchus and Phinny Hill. In 2015, we deviated, using Octave as a Cabernet source instead of Phinny Hill. However, in 2016, we could not ignore the greatness of Phinny Hill Cabernet. It was so special we produced a single vineyard MTA bottling from the vineyard. We find that Bacchus - Phinny Hill is about complexity and finesse. When we blend with Octave, the wine emphasizes complexity and power. The 2016 is a return to complexity and finesse, but also has the body of 2015. The 2016 Cabernets are simply stunning. According to Brandon, 2016 is our best Cabernet vintage at the winery. The 2016 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is composed of 55% Bacchus Vineyard near Red Mountain and 38% Phinny Hill in Horse Heaven Hills. The final 7% being Merlot from Leonetti’s Estate Vineyard, Loess. The wine was fermented for approximately 22 days with native yeasts. The Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in French oak for 22 months, 40% new. The wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Tasting Notes: An explosive medley of red, blue and black fruit. Hugely aromatic. Secondary flavors of milk chocolate, Kenyan coffee and mint. Stone and gravel. Baking spices of clove, vanilla and cinnamon from a small portion of new French oak. More earthy on the palate with mushroom, tar, pencil shavings and cedar. Slight chocolate powder on the finish. Firm tannin with medium-plus acidity. Fresh, energetic and powerful.
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