I’m lucky enough to have tasted a bunch of wines from Gramercy Cellars over the years. Several wine friends of mine had jumped on this Washington State winery bandwagon early, and I benefitted from their generosity and desire to share this exciting producer’s wines with me. I’ve never had a Gramercy wine that did not thrill me, but I’ve also found a common thread when tasting these wines. I always say something like: “This is delicious but it needs more time.”
Recently, I had the pleasure of tasting some Gramercy Cellars wine with some age on them, and the wines all showed wonderfully. For those of you who don’t know the story, Gramercy Cellars was founded in 2005 by Master Somm Greg Harrington and his wife, Pam. Greg, who also makes the wines, knows his stuff. He passed his Master Sommelier exam at the age of 26, and worked in wine programs for chefs like Joyce Goldstein, Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck.
They focus on Bordeaux and Rhone varieties, sourced from some amazing sites in Washington State’s Columbia Valley. With an annual production of about 8,000 cases, the winery sports an Old World-inspired style, with lower alcohol, less overt oak influences, and more focus on earthy/savory aspects.
I tasted through four Gramercy wines with some good friends and barbecue, and came away with a renewed respect for just how delicious these wines are, and how gracefully they age. Notes below…
2007 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon - Washington, Columbia Valley
What a beauty. The fruit is still so boisterous (black cherry, raspberry, juicy plums) but the nose shows all these leather, pepper, herb and spice elements as well. Tannins still going strong but they’re also smooth and velvety and the acidity maintains a tart edge. Pretty currant and plum fruits laced with black pepper, leather, cedar, coffee and stony minerals. Lovely stuff – of course, the last sip at the end of the night was the best. Long time ahead still. (93 points)
2008 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Lagniappe - Washington, Columbia Valley
Aromas of rich black cherries along with a lot of pepper, leathery, animal hide and beef drippings. Spicy and rich fruit on the palate, tannins provide plenty of structure, medium acidity, the fruit is still going strong but I love the peppery, smoky, olive notes in this wine. (92 points)
2009 Gramercy Cellars Syrah Lagniappe - Washington, Columbia Valley
Really interesting to taste after the 08. This one shows so much more freshness and vibrancy on the nose with juicy cherries and lots of floral and spice notes. Fresh and bright on the palate but serious grip to the tannins, this is balanced and structured so well. Black cherries and plums laced with pepper, campfire smoke and black olive. Long time ahead still. Lovely. (92 points)
2009 Gramercy Cellars L'idiot du Village - Washington, Columbia Valley
Loved this wine. Tons of aromatic complexity in terms of black cherries, plums, tons of peppered steak and meat drippings. Rich, bold, dry but fresh. Black fruit is rich but tangy and laced with complex leather, pepper, soy and loamy earth. Lovely stuff with plenty of years of cellar potential left. (92 points)