Hello friends. Today heralds the return of a list darling from 2011, the gateway drug to the broader Gramercy Cellars portfolio:
This is a nearly-invisible wine.
You won’t find it on Gramercy’s website. You won’t find it in Gramercy’s tasting room. You won’t find it sold outside the Pac-NW.
This is a holiday gift, from Greg Harrington to his local supporters.
Most of Lower East goes to restaurants, a reflection of Greg’s sommelier history. It allows somms all over Seattle to place a Gramercy wine on their list for $50-$60, as opposed to the $90-$100 that the rest of the lineup commands.
But some gets allocated to retail channels, and especially to those of us who so diligently support the efforts of Gramercy all year long.
Lower East is typically the home for Gramercy’s younger-vine Cabernet plants: estate sites like JB George Road and Octave, and grower sites like Phinny, where Dick Beightol has planted an additional 5 acres of Cabernet specifically for Gramercy. As these sites get older, I keep waiting for Greg to discontinue Lower East and move everything up into the high-end Cab. Fortunately for us, that hasn’t happened yet. It also likely includes some of the older vines, like Pepper Bridge and Portteus.
This continues to be a wine that punches well above its price class. It’s balanced, four-corner Cab (fruit, earth, herb, barrel) with enough old-world aromatic charms (pencil lead, cedar, beetroot, thyme) to lead your mind wandering to Bordeaux, and then enough complementary blackcurrant/cassis fruit to bring your mind back to Washington. The structure here comes more from the fresh acid of the cooler 2010 vintage than the fine-grained espressoey tannins, and a persistent mineral streak runs throughout. This 13.9%-alc beauty reminds me of the kind of Cabs coming out of Washington from 1995 to 1999; wines that are drinking at peak right now.
Is this a 15-year wine? A 20-year wine? It all seems possible, and at this tariff, it’s worth finding out. For those of us who typically limit ourselves to $20-and-under bottles, this is a fine candidate for a splurge. First come first served up to 24 bottles, and the wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.