Gramercy Cellars was started by Master Sommelier Greg Harrington in 2005. He states, "My goal is to make wines the kind I like to drink, lower alcohol, higher acid, wines that taste like they came from some place." His last set of releases, reviewed in Issue 177, was first-class but the latest collection is eye-opening. My advice: get on Gramercy’s mailing list while you still can. "
Gramercy Cellars Walla Walla Syrah 2007
Syrah/Shiraz from Walla Walla Valley, Washington
This is by far the best Walla Walla Syrah we have made to date. With this wine, we continued to employ more traditional techniques used in the Rhone Valley - whole cluster fermentation, partial destemming, extended maceration, lees stirring, etc. Both Les Collines and Forgotten Hills vineyards exhibited world class qualities, especially in our hillside blocks. The grapes were destemmed, fermented in small, open top containers for 7-12 days, lightly pressed and allowed to settle before being placing in French Oak barrels, 10% of which were new. The wine was aged for 15 months leaving just a hint of oak.
This wine shows massive smoke, pepper, and the entire charcuterie catalog of Salumi in Seattle, black olive and licorice flavors and elegant black fruits. It shows balanced acidity with intense richness and a touch of vanilla spice. Exactly what we wanted to make in Washington!
The Wine Advocate - "The Syrahs begin with the 2007 Syrah Walla Walla Valley sourced from La Colline and Forgotten Hills Vineyards. Purple-colored, it displays a super-spicy nose of garrigue, olives, bacon, smoked meat, and blueberry. Dense, layered, and concentrated, it skillfully combines elegance with power. Silky on the palate, the succulent flavors last for nearly one minute. It has the structure to evolve for several years but will be hard to resist now.
Wine & Spirits - "Greg Harrington draws from several blocks in Les Collines Vineyard for this wine, and like the Amavi Les Collines (recommended), it has a dark, resinated, savory core. Scents of black pepper, woodsmoke and black tea lead into flavors that are focused and restrained: dark, sweet purple plum and carob woven with savory spice from the stems, along with bergamot, mint and creosote. The finish is precise and elegant. For roast lamb."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright ruby-red. Complex aromas of blackberry, violet, pepper, mint and fresh herbs. Tight and imploded in the mouth, with more density than the Lagniappe but harder to taste today. Intriguing notes of dark berries, smoke, tapenade and white fruits. Sweet but very firm syrah with a peppery aftertaste. A bottle I tasted in October was much smoother than one I tried in July, but this should really be held for another 6 to 12 months."
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Gramercy Cellars Winery
Founded in 2005, Gramercy Cellars is the realization of Greg and Pam Harrington's dream to make fine wine in a special place.
Prior to founding Gramercy Cellars, Greg spent what seemed like a lifetime as a sommelier and wine program director for top chefs such as Joyce Goldstein, Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck. Since becoming the youngest American to pass the Master Sommelier Exam at the age of 26, Greg has been passionate about someday making his own wine. His Washington odyssey began in the Spring of 2004, at a backyard picnic in Brooklyn, hosted by the Walla Walla Wine Alliance. There, Greg and Pam tasted wines that surprised them. They were very different from what they had come to expect from American wines. These were wines that displayed earthy characteristics and balance. A marathon tasting trip in Walla Walla later that spring (and Pam's discovery of the term "palate fatigue") convinced them that Walla Walla was in their future. First, this meant "when they retire." That quickly became "5 years from now." Meanwhile, Greg worked harvest in 2004 in Walla Walla and was more convinced than ever that Walla Walla was the place in the United States to make the wines he loves. Soon thereafter, Pam gave him the green light to leave his restaurant industry job to seize the opportunity to finally follow his dreams full time, resulting in Gramercy's first harvest in 2005. In 2006, Greg and Pam moved to Washington to establish and build the legacy of great Washington wine at Gramercy Cellars.
2010 was a watershed vintage for Gramercy. Vineyards, vintage and style have all come together as clearly evidenced by wines of amazing personality and quality. Tempranillo and the red Rhone blends - The Third Man and L’Idiot du Village showcase intense, pure fruit with rich textures and fine acid-tannin structure. The bright, intense, blue-black fruited Lagniappe Syrah is co-fermented with a dollop of Viognier and aged 18 months in 85% neutral French oak. In New Orleans, Lagniappe, means, a little something extra. The Walla Walla Valley Syrah is whole cluster fermented, aged in neutral oak and is fatter and meatier. The Cabs have both power and finesse and are built for an extra long haul. Finally, the Rosé is a full-bodied but not heavy Rhone blend that marks a new quality high for WA pink. Walla Walla native, Brandon Moss, worked harvests at King Estate and in New Zealand. Upon returning to Walla Walla be became cellar master at Waters Winery before joining Gramercy as assistant winemaker. In 2011 Brandon became a partner in Gramercy Cellars. This is a very important, world-class producer! View all Gramercy Cellars Wines
About Walla Walla ValleyView a map of Walla Walla Valley wineries
Sharing part of the valley with Oregon, Walla Walla is on the southeast side of the Columbia Valley. It is primarily red grape land, with Cabernet Sauvignon leading in the vineyards, followed by Merlot and the ever-growing and very popular, Syrah.In the 1990's, as Washington State was gaining more acclaim for its red wines, Walla Walla was hailed by wine critics for its quality and sense of place. That has not changed. Many red wines from Walla Walla show not only great complexity and elegance, but ageability. Though the region is known for the red wines, the most planted white grape here is Chardonnay.
About WashingtonRelated Links:Now the number two producer in the United States, Washington State has also grown in quality.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.