Hello friends. First off, I want to say a big thank you to Greg Harrington, who came and poured four beautiful Syrahs at our warehouse on Saturday. He was kind enough to pour a pair of 2005s from the library, proof positive that the Gramercy house style was already locked in as early as Greg’s very first vintage in Walla Walla. In addition, he poured his 2011 Les Collines Syrah (glorious, and only available to Gramercy’s MTA Club) and his beautiful new-release 2013 Deuce, which I’m sure we’ll be offering soon enough.
And speaking of Greg Harrington, today we have an outstanding vintage of what is already a list-member darling, and one of the gateways into the greater Gramercy Cellars lineup:
This wine remains a ghost. 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 (direct from Gramercy’s tech sheet: “The Lower East wines from Gramercy Cellars are created specifically for our friends in the restaurant industry.”) It allows somms all over Seattle to place a Gramercy wine on their list for $55-$65, as opposed to the $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.
2013 is shaping up to be a charming vintage for value Cabernet (yes, I recognize that we’re pushing it on the term “value” here, but by Gramercy standards, I’m going to say this qualifies), and this bottle makes a strong argument for that case. I haven’t tasted Gramercy’s high-end 2013 Cabernets yet, but they’re going to have to be damned good to top Lower East this year (and judging by Jeb Dunnuck’s barrel reviews, they are indeed damned good).
I first tasted this bottle with Brandon Moss (Gramercy’s Assistant Winemaker/Partner) back in April during a visit to Walla Walla, and I was smitten. I would have offered it right then and there, but it was to be a half-year before the ’13 Lower East would be released. The quality was stunning right up until I learned the vineyard sources, and then everything made sense. In 2013, Lower East comes from an all-star foursome, three from the Walla Walla Valley (Gramercy Estate, Old Stones, and Pepper Bridge), plus the outstanding Phinny Hill in Horse Heaven. The blend includes 6% each Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and the whole thing was raised entirely in French oak, 25% new, for 16 months. Listed alc is 14.2%.
What Lower East does beautifully, year in and year out, is to establish itself as a true four-corners Cab, with fruit (black cherry, cassis), earth, savory/herbal (beetroot, bouqet garni), and barrel (espresso) notes in fine balance. Can we add a fifth corner for this one? To cover the lovely violet floral notes? What we see with this vintage of Lower East is winemakers who strive for elegance in a year that wanted to be a little fleshier. The result: a balanced beauty, with a seamless, no-holes texture that offers an easy glide path from attack to finish. If you’re looking to build a cellar of sturdy, ageworthy wines under $30, Lower East is an awfully nice place to start. Like every vintage so far, it is polished, classy, and punches well above its price class.
First come first served up to 24 bottles, and the wine should arrive in a week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.