Hello friends. I hope you all had a happy, restful end to 2015. I enjoyed the time off, and the chance to recharge the batteries, but as usual, by early January, I was itching to start tasting and writing about wine again.
The first offer of a new year is always a good chance to introduce something new. In this case, it’s a new wine from some old friends:
Lower East Cabernet Sauvignon has developed a strong following among our list members, and no wonder: it’s a terrific, well-priced introduction to the Gramercy portfolio. But as wonderful and expressive as Greg Harrington’s Cabernets are, I think it’s safe to say that the beating heart of Gramercy has always been Syrah.
What makes this particular wine so exciting, then, is that it’s the lowest-priced, most accessible Syrah I’ve ever seen from Gramercy. It’s a chance for those interested in Greg’s Syrahs to see what all the fuss is about, and it’s a chance for the Gramercy true believers to grab a wine that doesn’t need to be hoarded for special occasions.
I guess another way to say it would be: in six years of offering Gramercy wines, the lowest-priced Syrah we’ve ever offered before today was [TEXT WITHHELD].
Now, some quick reminders on the Lower East project. You won’t generally find them in Gramercy’s tasting room. You will rarely find them 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.
I tasted this late in 2015 (just a hair too late to include in our year-end frenzy) and was immediately seduced. Smoky bacon, briny Castelvetrano olive, brackish umami nori, brambly marionberries: this offered the kind of aromatic complexity and savory character I associate with the upper tier of the Gramercy lineup. So then I followed up with Brandon Moss (Gramercy’s wonderful Partner/Assistant Winemaker), to figure out where all this good fruit was coming from.
The answer: “the 2013 combines the freshness and acidity of Minick and Upland Vineyard, sitting at 1300 ft in the Yakima Valley, with the funk and meatiness of the rocks at Stoney Vine and SJR Vineyards in Walla Walla.” There’s also a smidge of Gramercy’s Estate Vineyard in the mix, finishing off a quintet of seriously excellent Syrah sources. Greg’s tasting note captures the palate beautifully: [TEXT WITHHELD]
Very fresh indeed, and a wonderful way to kick off a new year! First come first served up to 36 bottles, and the wine should arrive in the next week or two, at which point it will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.