2011 Gramercy Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon “Lower East”

FP In The News UPDATE: Two recent items to share:

1) Full Pull will be included in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list for 2013, our second such honor this year, after the earlier inclusion in the Wine Enthusiast list. The PSBJ will profile each of the 40 in their September issue.

2) Through an odd, lucky set of circumstances, I had the pleasure of meeting journalist Christian Ford while harvesting oysters on a Bainbridge Island beach (yes, I spend my free time harvesting oysters; yes, I feel like a PacNW stereotype worthy of a Pemco ad). That chance meeting turned into one of the best, longest interviews of my career, and it led to this lovely article in Hogsalt, a journal about the preservation of food culture. If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of Full Pull’s name, or whether I’m more profane in person than in Full Pull offerings (hint: yes), please check it out.
Hello friends. Today we have the latest release of a list-member darling, the gateway drug to the Gramercy Cellars portfolio:

This wine is a ghost (note: more this guy than this guy).

You won’t find it on Gramercy’s website. You won’t find it in Gramercy’s tasting room. You will rarely find it sold outside the Pac-NW. Lower East is a gift, from Greg Harrington to his local supporters.

Most of it 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 long-term supporters of the Gramercy portfolio.

In 2011, Lower East combines younger-vine Cabernet plants from Gramercy’s estate Octave Vineyard (exciting!) with older vine fruit from Portteus and Two Blondes (Andrew Will’s estate site in the Yakima Valley). It spent 16 months in barrel, just 30% new (all French). Each year, I half expect Greg to discontinue Lower East and move everything up into the high-end Cabernets. Fortunately for us, that hasn’t happened yet.

The last two vintages of this (2010 and 2011) have been magic, the cooler vintages playing right into the stylistic hands of Greg Harrington. This clocks in at 13.2%-alc, and is reminiscent of the better Cabernets coming out of Washington in the late ‘90s, wines that are drinking beautifully 15 years later. Despite the relatively modest tariff, I wouldn’t be scared to hold this for 10-15 years too. Right now, it presents a beautifully-balanced cool-vintage wine, hitting on all four corners of Cabernet: fruit (blackcurrant and blackberry), earth (graphite and soil), herb (jalapeno, beetroot, bramble), and barrel (espresso). The texture is terrific: expressive of the cooler vintage with its juicy vibrancy, but still retaining an attractive suppleness. It’s a polished, charming wine, one that I found easily seductive. Like every vintage of Lower East so far, it punches well above its price class.

First come first served up to 12 bottles, and the wine should arrive at the warehouse in about a week, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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