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Gramercy CellarsGramercy Cellars

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Tasting Room

By Appointment - Wednesday through Friday

Open Saturdays 11am to 5pm
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Spring Release Hours ~ May 2nd - 4th
Friday 11am - 5pm
** 6pm - 9pm MTA Wine Club-only Event**
Saturday 11am - 5pm
Sunday 11am - 2pm
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635 N. 13th Ave. Walla Walla, WA 99362
+1 509-876-2427
hello@gramercycellars.com

Recognition

“Best Wines of 2009”

Wall Street Journal (2009)

Wines

2011 Syrah ‘Lagniappe’, Columbia Valley

The 2011 Lagniappe is our second release with Red Willow Vineyard. Each year, we have become more amazing with the fruit from this vineyard.  It is simply world class.  In terms of style, it’s more Hermitage, while Les Collines is more Cornas-like.  The fruit is brighter, crisper, and more red focused. The wine needs time to resolve and integrate. This is what Jeb Dunnuck had to say about the wine:

“A step up in terms of complexity, depth and richness, the 2011 Syrah Lagniappe is Greg’s cooler climate focused Syrah. Coming from the Red Willow, Olsen and SJR Vineyards and fermented with 50% whole cluster, it offers a brilliantly complex bouquet of violets, peppered steak, blackberry, stem and exotic spices along with a medium to full-bodied, focused and balanced mouthfeel. Really stretching out on the finish, it’s an overall classy, elegant Syrah that will age gracefully for 12-15 years. Drink 2016-2026.” Jeb Dunnuck The Wine Advocate (94-96)

In 2011, we blended Red Willow with SJR in the rocks area of Walla Walla and Olsen near Benton City.  All should be familiar with both vineyards, as we have bottled MTA wines from each vineyard. However, this is a first appearance for Olsen Syrah in one of our high-end bottlings. In fact, the Olsen Syrah was so good we desperately wanted to do a separate MTA bottling of it.  But, unfortunately there wasn’t enough of it and it greatly enhanced the Lagniappe wine. For the past 2 years, we have been begging Leif Olsen for more of this block.  If you know Leif, please tell him we need more! (Actually Leif is fantastic. As I write, he is probably planting our head trained Grenache block for us at his property. But tell him more Syrah anyway.) This wine was fermented 50% on stems and aged in a mix of older 225L and 500L puncheons for 18 months.501 cases.

Tasting notes: Nose of pepper, smoked meat, salami, black olive. Bloody. Raspberry and blackberry.  Red currant. Firm acid, tightly wound, more open than the 2010 at this time.

BLEND:100% Syrah
VINEYARDS:Red Willow (Columbia Valley)SJR (Walla Walla Valley)Olsen Vineyard
AGING:100% French Oak Barrels, 14% New Oak
ALCOHOL:13.2%
RELEASE:April 2014
WINERY RETAIL:  $55
PRODUCTION:466 cases

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2011 Syrah, Walla Walla Valley

While we approached 95% Les Collines fruit in the 2010 Walla Walla Syrah, the 2011 we finally hit 100%. What more can we say about Les Collines? It’s truly a world-class vineyard for Syrah, unique in Washington. It doesn’t have the smoked meat of the Rocks or the firmness of Yakima sites (e.g. Red Willow), but Les Collines is powerful without being cloying. It emphasizes aromatics and behaves like a Burgundian Grand Cru vineyard, with the mid-slope being the best part. Most excitingly, Les Collines agreed to graft 5 acres of Cabernet to Syrah specifically for us. We will start harvesting it next year.  The best part?  It’s adjacent to blocks 46 and 50, our best blocks.

In terms of winemaking, 2011 wasn’t much of a departure from previous vintages: stems, puncheons, neutral oak. The wines pretty much makes itself. This cuvée is a selection from different parts of the hill, each piece giving different characteristics. What was different was the harvest date – October 18-20.  Usually we pick this vineyard around the third week of September.  And sometimes, with the unpredictable Walla Walla weather, harvest ends by October 10th with a freeze.

BLEND:100% Syrah
VINEYARDS:Les Collines (Walla Walla)
AGING:100% French Oak Barrels, 18% New Oak (18 months)
ALCOHOL:13%
RELEASE:September 2013
WINERY RETAIL:  $50
PRODUCTION:470 cases

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2011 Mourvédre ‘L’Idiot Du Village’, Columbia Valley

If there is any wine in this release that we are excited about, this is it. The L’diot du Village has been a bit of a redheaded stepchild for us and has morphed a few times.  It was originally planned to be a Lower East type wine for Syrah and Grenache Blends.  Then we turned it into a rocks vineyard Syrah/Grenache blend. While we were very pleased with it, Brandon and I came to realize, while blending L’Idiot as well as The Third Man, that we were consistently amazed by the quality of the Mourvédre in our vineyards.  In 2010, we bottled Olsen Mourvédre for the MTA, which is most likely my favorite wine we have made at Gramercy. We knew we needed a Mourvédre-based wine.  Not wanting another wine, we decided this is the future of L’Idiot.

When I was in Bandol this summer, the one thing I noticed was that our Mourvédre in barrel tasted very similar to the wines we were sampling in the cellars. While I feel our Syrah and Grenache are very Rhône-like, I don’t get the same familiarity when tasting in barrel in the Rhône. Mourvédre is at home in Washington.  It needs a warm site and low yields. To sum it all up – I think that perhaps Mourvédre has more potential than any other variety in Washington.  But Mourvédre is a wine-geek grape.  You have to love smoky, earthy flavors.  You have to be willing to age the wine. What I love about Mourvédre is that it keeps a red fruit profile while still being extremely dark and earthy.

The 2011 L’Idiot is 90% Mourvédre, 5% Syrah and 5% Cinsault from Alder Ridge and Olsen Vineyards. We destemmed all the fruit and aged the wine for 20 months in old oak. 421 cases.

Tasting notes: Well-cooked pot roast, leather, smoked meat, red flowers, plum, raspberries, currant, sweet cherries. Extreme length.

BLEND:90% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah, 5% Cinsault
ALCOHOL:13.5%
RELEASE:April 2014
WINERY RETAIL:  $42
PRODUCTION:392 cases

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2011 Tempranillo ‘Inigo Montoya’, Walla Walla Valley

What can we say about Tempranillo?  It continues to impress us, especially our estate vineyard on JB George Rd.  One major change we first made in 2010 and continue in 2011, is that we now hold the Tempranillo an additional six months in bottle before release, allowing the wine to resemble more of a Reserva than a Crianzastyle. We feel the wine greatly benefits from the extra time. The 2011 is a well-structured wine with firm tannins and continues our tradition of Rioja style. The flavor is a combination of red and dark berries, with mushrooms and earth. As always, the wine is aged in 2- to 7-year-old American oak.  The blend of the 2011 Tempranillo is 90% Tempranillo, 6% Syrah and 4% Grenache.

Tasting notes: Cocoa powder, red-black fruit on nose, restrained and backwards, cedar box, medium plus acid, strong tannins. Will take time to resolve.  Oak well integrated.

BLEND:90% Tempranillo, 6% Syrah, 4% Grenache
AGING:80% American Oak Barrels, 20% French Oak Barrels, 5% New Oak
ALCOHOL:13.5%
RELEASE:April 2014
WINERY RETAIL:  $41
PRODUCTION:550 cases

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2013 Rosé 'Olsen Vineyard', Columbia Valley

What can we say about Rosé?  We love making it.  Olsen Vineyard is perfect for it. As always, we macerated the Cinsault, Syrah and Grenache for 6 hours, achieving the perfect salmon color.  We definitely prefer to be on the orange side of the spectrum instead of pink for our Rosé.  This Rosé is more substantial than previous vintages.  It’s a bit riper, as is the trend for all varieties in 2013. More on that in a couple of years.  Its a wine that will take some time to open.  Its more of an intellectual wine instead of a back yard quaffer. Brandon and I have been thinking a lot of the texture of our wines – the mouthfeel. It’s one of those things that is very hard to explain, but “you know it when you see it.”  We want mid palate intensity, but we also want the wines to have fantastic texture.  We started really thinking about this in the 2012 vintage, which, as a preview, is absolutely incredible.  I think I will let Pam write the 2012 newsletters. I’m always saying to her “Don’t use so many exclamation points!”  But the 2012′s deserve them.  Maybe we will do a release party with !!! (geeky indie band reference, for those that will email and ask)  Back to Rosé…the 2013 may last well into the football season.  We may have to amend the rules just this year.  It may be a wine to drink while watching the Seahawks in the Super Bowl in 2015. Give this bottle a bit of time.  Should be coming well into its own by the time the Germans are dominating World Cup.

Tasting Notes: Rich, ripe, great mouthfeel.  Ripe cherry, strawberry, mineral, smoke, earth, those honeydew-ish melons in Japan that are ripe and cost $75(the melons, not the rose).  Insane length.

BLEND:52% Cinsault, 22% Syrah, 26% Grenache
VINEYARDS:Olsen Vineyard
ALCOHOL:13.9%
RELEASE:April 2014
WINERY RETAIL:  $25
PRODUCTION:265 cases

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2013 Viognier 'Antoine Creek Vineyard', Lake Chelan

We continue to be extremely impressed with Viognier in Lake Chelan. Even in the warmest vintages, as 2013 was, the Viognier at Antoine Creek held its acidity.  More importantly, Viognier, especially in the more southern areas of Washington, tends to have a very ripe side and an under ripe side to the cluster.  This forces the winemaker to make a compromise of having both ripe and under ripe flavors int he wine.  As in 2012, we found consistent ripeness throughout the entire cluster.  And, we were also encouraged that in a warm year, we were still able to leave the grapes on the vine until early October.

The Viognier in 2013 is a bit riper than the 2012, but we also feel it has a better mouthfeel.  We fermented a portion in neutral oak, not for oak flavor, but for texture and richness.

Tasting Notes: honeydew melon, lanolin, lemon rind, pineapple, mango. Crisp, acid driven, but substantial.

BLEND:100% Viognier
VINEYARDS:Antoine Creek Vineyard
ALCOHOL:12.5%
RELEASE:April 2014
WINERY RETAIL:  $22
PRODUCTION:95 cases

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2013 Picpoul, Columbia Valley

Ok, so what is Picpoul and why are we making it? Well, first of all, Pam loves it.  But there’s an even better reason.  As many know, we have been partnering with our best growers to plant specifically for us.  One of our main goals was to get some Grenache in the ground, specifically head trained Grenache. Head training is the standard for the best Grenache vineyards in the Southern Rhône.  To my knowledge, no one has used that system for Grenache in Washington. Leif Olsen, our top Grenache grower, enthusiastically agreed to plant for us. Leif had a block of Picpoul that he would take out and plant Grenache, but he really wanted to see us do something with the Picpoul for a year. We saw it as a great trade and an opportunity to try something different.  So this is the one and only chance to try this wine.  The Picpoul vines have been removed and Grenache is in the ground.

Picpoul is a blending variety found in Southern Rhône white wines.  These vines were brought to the US by Tablas Creek in California from Château Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  Picpoul is an acid monster.  As Brandon said last week when we tasted it “Yup, no acid missing there.” This is a fantastic summer wine.  Perfect for oysters, shellfish, or anything caught by guys wearing rubber overalls. (Did anyone ever hear the story of how Pam broke her wrist fishing?)

Tasting Notes: lemon, lime, grapefruit, mineral, brine, white flowers, green herb.  Insanely crisp and refreshing.  Anyone want to meet at Walrus and the Carpenter?

BLEND:100% Picpoul
VINEYARDS:Olsen Vineyard
ALCOHOL:12.7%
RELEASE:April 2014
WINERY RETAIL:  $18
PRODUCTION:195 cases

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Vineyards

Our Story

  • Greg Harrington, MS

    Founder / Winemaker

    Greg Harrington is the founder of and winemaker for Gramercy Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington. His winemaking focuses on great vineyards, minimalist intervention in the process, and balanced, earthy wines, including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo.

    Prior to founding Gramercy Cellars, Greg was a partner and director of Beverage for BR Guest Restaurants and James Hotels, overseeing the wine and alcohol programs for 15 restaurants and hotels in New York City, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, and Chicago. Prior to joining BR Guest, Greg served as wine director and associate partner for the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, which includes the Spago, Postrio, and Chinois restaurants. While in Las Vegas, Greg also worked with Southern Wine & Spirits to develop a new business segment, Battle Born Distribution, which assisted the Bellagio in its casino opening as well as its beverage group in fine wine procurement.

    Before his work with Wolfgang Puck, Greg was wine director for Emeril Lagasse’s restaurants in New Orleans and Las Vegas. While with Emeril, Greg developed a wine program that earned Wine Spectator’s Grand Award, which has been awarded to fewer than 100 restaurants in the U.S.

    In 1996 at the age of 26, Greg Harrington passed the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam, a title held by fewer than 120 people in the U.S. A 1992 graduate of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, Greg began his career in wine as a sommelier at Joyce Goldstein’s Square One restaurant in San Francisco.

    In 2008, Seattle Magazine named Greg “Best New Winemaker in Washington” and Gramercy “Best New Winery.” Wine & Spirits Magazine has named Gramercy on its “Top 100 Wineries in the World” in 2010, 2011, and 2012. He is a regular guest lecturer for undergraduate and graduate beverage-management courses at the Cornell hotel school. Greg also serves as chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers, and is co-founder and board member for W2U, an annual wine-trade weekend in Walla Walla.

    Greg is a Christian and attends Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

  • Pam Harrington

    The Brains

    Although no stranger to a wine glass, Pam Harrington would not generally be categorized as a wine “expert.” Her career has straddled everything from private equity banking at J.P. Morgan to national education policy advocacy work with a Boston-based nonprofit. She currently works in executive recruiting for private equity funds across the U.S. Although her knowledge of wine does seem to grow with each sip, it is not likely that Pam will be directing winemaking efforts at Gramercy any time soon. Instead, she focuses on marketing work for Gramercy’s retail and Club customers.

    A native of the Philadelphia suburbs, Pam is joined in Washington by her sister and mother, who also live in Seattle. Pam is proud to have been able to give her father’s name to Gramercy’s “John Lewis” Reserve Syrah. It is because of his life’s hard work that Greg and Pam have been able to found Gramercy Cellars.

  • Brandon Moss

    Partner / Assistant Winemaker

    Since joining Gramercy during the 2008 harvest, Brandon has been the assistant winemaker, becoming partner in 2011. Brandon grew up in the Walla Walla Valley on a small family farm, in which his family cultivated plum trees and also raised a wide assortment of farm animals, from chickens to cows to pigs, and even a goat. Opting to part ways with farm life, Brandon made his way to Oregon State University to take dental classes. After four years of smelling people’s bad breath, however, he realized that his true passion did not lie in dentistry—he wanted to create those stained teeth, not clean them! So he switched his major to fermentation science with an eye to becoming a winemaker, a move that put him squarely in the crosshairs of the farm life he had been so eager to leave behind. He graduated Oregon State in 2006 with a degree in food science, an option in fermentation science, with minors in business and chemistry.

    In 2006, Brandon worked harvest for King Estate Winery in Eugene, Oregon, and soon found himself on a flight to New Zealand’s Marlborough region to work with an enormous contract winery, Indevin. At Indevin, Brandon and the team processed 15,000 tons of Sauvignon Blanc grapes—almost 225 times the amount of fruit processed at Gramercy Cellars in 2008. Brandon still waxes poetic about all of the great, high-tech gear he used at Indevin.

    After harvest in New Zealand, Brandon made his way back to Walla Walla to work in the appellation he knew so well, and where new and exciting wines were now being produced. In 2007, he joined Waters Winery, where he eventually became cellar master. In 2008, he first assisted Gramercy, particularly during harvest, and in early 2009 joined Gramercy full time as the assistant winemaker. Brandon was named partner in 2011.

Gramercy Cellars is a 6,000-case winery founded in 2005 by Master Sommelier Greg Harrington and his wife, Pam, to make Rhône- and Bordeaux-based wines in Washington State. We believe that great wines share common traits: great vineyards, small production, minimalist winemaking, time, and patience. Gramercy’s philosophy is simple: to develop or partner with the best vineyards, harvest ripe—not overripe—grapes, intervene minimally in the winemaking process, and use as little new oak as possible. The resultant wines display balance, intense fruit  notes, strong earthiness, restraint, and elegance. Our wines often require time to develop, but reward that with patience. We seek to produce wines that complement food, provide great pleasure, and stand out as uniquely made in Washington.

Prior to founding Gramercy, Greg spent his career overseeing some of the most prestigious wine programs in the country, working for top restaurants and chefs such as Joyce Goldstein, Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, and Stephen Hanson. Since passing the Master Sommelier Diploma Exam at the age of 26, Greg has been passionate about making wine. His Washington odyssey began in the spring of 2004, at a backyard picnic in Brooklyn, which was hosted by the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance. There, Greg and Pam tasted wines that surprised them and were 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 in southeastern Washington later that spring convinced them that Walla Walla was in their future. At first, this meant “when they retire,” but that quickly became “five years from now.” Meanwhile, Greg worked harvest in 2004 in Walla Walla and became more convinced than ever that Walla Walla was the place in the U.S. to make the wines he loved. Soon thereafter, they decided to seize the opportunity to finally follow their dreams full time. Gramercy had its first harvest in 2005.

Gramercy Cellars is dedicated to two amazing individuals whom we miss very much:

John Lewis Plummer, Pam’s father and himself an entrepreneur, who spent his life preparing for a time when he could help his children follow their dreams. It is thanks to his love and generosity that we were able to create Gramercy Cellars.

Master Sommelier Michael Bonaccorsi, whose untimely passing in 2004 motivated us to found Gramercy Cellars, following his example to start and operate a boutique winery focused on quality, integrity, and sustainability.