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Gramercy CellarsGramercy Cellars

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Tasting Room

Open Saturdays 11am to 5pm

We also take appointments Wednesday through Friday.
To schedule an appointment, please email
tastings@gramercycellars.com
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Cayuse Release Weekend Hours

Friday: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Saturday: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Closed Sunday
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For all other inquiries, please email info@gramercycellars.com

Wine Club Member Information: robbi@gramercycellars.com
Winemaking/Winery Operations: brandon@gramercycellars.com
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635 N. 13th Ave. Walla Walla, WA 99362
+1 509-876-2427

Recognition

“Best New Winery”

Food & Wine Magazine (2010)

Wines

John Lewis Syrah, Walla Walla Valley

The John Lewis Syrah is always a love/hate wine for us.  It’s always extremely exciting, as we have the opportunity to share a wine we truly love.  We hate it because the quantities are extremely small and this is a wine we want to share with everyone. The 2012 vintage, however, offers great news.  First, it is an absolutely classic vintage. If a winemaker didn’t excel in 2012, well, there always… (insert other profession here).  As we have said before, it is a vintage that will drink well in both the short and long term. Second, we were able to produce more John Lewis in 2012 than any other vintage, without making any compromises.  It’s still a mere 185 cases, but far more than the scant 90 from the 2011 vintage or the 50 from the 2008 vintage.

Its interesting to me that as I read last year’s John Lewis release letter, I began with “the 2011 vintage was the year for the Rocks area of Walla Walla.”  The 2012 John Lewis could not be more different.  2012 is about hillsides. So, we return to the classic vineyard for John Lewis – Les Collines and the steep Block 46.  While this block always finds its way into the blend each year, it was also the major block for the 2006, 2007, and 2009 John Lewis blends.  So it means intense perfume over meaty funk.  More elegant than muscular. Cote Rotie vs Hermitage. (Yeah, I name dropped.)

Our winemaking formula remains consistent: harvest early, ferment slowly in open top fermenters, stems, and leave it in a puncheon for 18 months.

The 2012 John Lewis is pure Syrah elegance. Right now, its all about the nose – raspberry, blueberry, sweet cherry, violet, white flowers, Asian spice, smoked meat, pepper, tobacco, slight vanilla. Its a bit more sour on palate, dominated by red fruits and a bit of stem. Both the acid and tannin are firm.  Super long finish.  Maybe the most Old World on the palate to date.

BLEND:100% Syrah
VINEYARDS:Les Collines (Walla Walla Valley)SJR (Walla Walla Valley)Red Willow (Columbia Valley)
AGING:100% French Oak Barrels, 18% New Oak
RELEASE:December 2014
WINERY RETAIL:  $85
PRODUCTION:185 cases

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Lagniappe Syrah
Columbia Valley

It all came together in 2012 for our Lagniappe Cuvee. A perfect vintage and world class fruit. (Read below to see who joined the party in 2012.) We continued to be amazed at Red Willow. It is simply world class. In terms of style, its more Hermitage, with Les Collines being more Cornas like. The fruit is brighter, crisper, more red focused. This is what Jeb Dunnuck had to say about the wine:

“A wine that blew me away, the 2012 Syrah Lagniappe is blockbuster stuff that needs to be tasted to be believed. Medium to full-bodied, tight, concentrated and focused, it offers thrilling Syrah character with notions of pepper, mineral, earth and pure blackberry styled fruit. Given the purity of fruit and high-quality tannin, it should be relatively accessible on release, yet benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring and have two decades or so of longevity.“ Jeb Dunnuck The Wine Advocate (95-97)

If you remember, in 2011, we blended Red Willow with SJR in the rocks area of Walla Walla and Olsen near Benton City. In 2012, we stayed very near Yakima and the Red Willow Vineyard, blending in with equal parts of Oldfield and Minick. Minick is a workhorse vineyard for us, bringing freshness and acidity. Oldfield is a new name, but the pedigree fantastic. Oldfield is a five-acre vineyard owned by Efeste Winery. However, the magic of the vineyard is that it is contiguous with the famed Boushey Vineyard and managed by the man himself. While only a few years old, this will soon be a very famous Washington Syrah Vineyard.

Flash-forward to the 2014 vintage – wait until you taste Red Willow out of a concrete fermenter. And when we say concrete, we don’t mean eggs. Those are for Easter or omelets. We mean 10,000 lb, 1500 gallon rectangular solid masses of mineral intensity.

This wine was fermented 80% on stems and aged in a mix of older 225L and 500L puncheons for 18 months. 576 cases.

Drinking window: Wait a year to open, best in 5, up to 15

BLEND:100% Syrah
VINEYARDS:Red WillowSJR
ALCOHOL:14.2%
RELEASE:April 2015
WINERY RETAIL:  $55
PRODUCTION:500 cases

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The Deuce Syrah
Walla Walla Valley

The 2012 Deuce shows the best of Les Collines Vineyard combined with a bit of Rocks fruit.  Fruit & funk.  We truly believe it is one of the top 5 Syrah vineyards in Washington state.  We are privileged to have Blocks 50, 46, and 36 on the slope.  Fermented with 80% whole cluster, the wine was aged for 18 months in neutral puncheon and 225L barrels.  The 2012 is the most intense and structured Walla Walla Syrah to date.

BLEND:100% Syrah
AGING:18 months in neutral puncheon and 225L barrels. 80% whole cluster.
ALCOHOL:14.1%
RELEASE:November 2014
WINERY RETAIL:  $52
PRODUCTION:600 cases

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Syrah
Columbia Valley

The 2012 vintage welcomes a new wine for us, a Columbia Valley AVA designated wine.  It blends 4 vineyards – the northerly Minick and Olsen with two Walla Walla Rocks sources – SJR and Stony Vine.  Minick and Olsen provide red fruit and freshness, the Rocks gives pepper, funk, smoke, depth, and structure.  Red cherry, blueberry, raspberry, leather, saline, meat, smoke, funk, violets, crisp acidity and energy.

BLEND:100% Syrah
AGING:Aged 18 months in neutral French barrels. 40% whole cluster.
ALCOHOL:13.7%
WINERY RETAIL:  $40
PRODUCTION:1100 cases

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Cabernet Sauvignon
Columbia Valley

The 2011 Columbia Valley Cabernet is a single vineyard wine, hailing from Phinny Hill vineyard.  Every year Phinny Hill seems to get better and better  It’s firm Cabernet (translated: it has some tannin), with herbal notes (translated: it shows some pyrazine or as PR trained, marketing focused winemakers say – green herb).  It’s 100% firm Cabernet with herbal notes, an old school, throwback Cabernet and we love it unconditionally.  Dark plums, black cherry, cassis, coffee, cedar, saline, dark chocolate, green herb, gravel, medium body, firm tannin.  Old World-esque.

BLEND:100% Cabernet Sauvignon
AGING:23 months in 40% new French oak
ALCOHOL:13.9%
RELEASE:November 2014
WINERY RETAIL:  $45
PRODUCTION:600 cases

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Grenache/Syrah/Mourvédre
The Third Man
Columbia Valley

The 2012 Third Man is most likely our best to date.  It is certainly the richest, most ripe and full-bodied.  (Remember that we are using the Gramercy scale when we say ripe).  In 2012 we finally found that elusive red-black fruit combination of the best wines of the Southern Rhone.  The black fruit of Les Collines is a fantastic blend with the Grenache and Mourvédre from Olsen and Alder Ridge Vineyards.  The wines were blended and aged in 2-7 year old puncheons and 225L barrels.

BLEND:57% Grenache, 38% Syrah, 5% Mourvédre
AGING:2-7 year old puncheons and 225L barrels. French.
ALCOHOL:14.7%
RELEASE:November 2015
WINERY RETAIL:  $42
PRODUCTION:650 cases

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L’Idiot Du Village, Mourvédre, Columbia Valley

I’ve been thinking about Mourvedre more and more this year and its place in Washington. Mourvedre is an amazing grape. What just blows us away is its ability to retain red fruit characteristics. Most red varieties in very warm areas will quickly turn to black fruit characteristics. While that can be ok, combined with the intense earthiness and funk, it would quickly become tiring to drink. But plant Mourvedre in a blistering climate, it still stays red fruit. And thus, retains its freshness. Jeb Dunnuck and I share a love of Bandol and Mourvedre. Here are his comments on his visit to the winery last year:

“The 2012 l’Idiot du Village checks in as a blend of 82% Mourvedre, 18% Syrah that spent 23 months in neutral oak. Earth, pepper, meat, underbrush, spice and assorted dark fruits all emerge from the glass and this medium to full-bodied, structured and rich effort has serious mid-palate depth and big structure that comes through on the finish. It will need short-term cellaring, but have 15 years or more of longevity. Jeb Dunnuck The Wine Advocate (91-93)

I have to say, while I appreciate our scores, I don’t always get excited about them. This review got me excited. When Jeb visited Bandol in 2014, his highest scores was a 94 for Tempier’s La Tourtine, a 40-year-old iconic hillside vineyard. This wine, along with the wines of Pibarnon, are my benchmarks for Mourvedre.

The 2012 L’Idiot is 82% Mourvedre and 18% Syrah Alder Ridge and Olsen Vineyards. We destemmed all the fruit and aged the wine for 20 months in old oak. 264 cases.

Drinking window: Wait 3 – 6 months to open, best in 5, up to 15

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

BLEND:82% Mourvedre and 18% Syrah
VINEYARDS:OlsenAlder Ridge
ALCOHOL:13.5%
RELEASE:April 2015
WINERY RETAIL:  $42
PRODUCTION:392 cases

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Inigo Montoya, Tempranillo, Walla Walla Valley

I’m going to be straightforward about the 2012 Tempranillo. It’s better than the 2008 Tempranillo. Remember, the one we re-released last year? I think the 2012 is a bit more intense. We have been working very hard with Tempranillo, particularity with our estate blocks. Each year, our estate block gets better and better. In fact, in full disclosure, after the 2014 vintage, we will be fully estate grown with this wine. Our estate block has some of the only Spanish clone Tempranillo in the valley, and we want to go that direction. And instead of making 600-700 cases, we will make about 200. But we feel the wine at that point will be even better. We will start to move towards that goal in 2013, when we will have a 2013 Estate Tempranillo MTA wine.

From Jeb Dunnuck:

“Incorporating 15% Syrah, and aged 23 months in 11% new French oak, the 2012 Tempranillo Inigo Montoya shows classic Tempranillo character with its spice, vanilla, cedar and white pepper aromas and flavors that are all supported by a core of black and red fruits. Gaining additional meatiness with air, this medium to full-bodied, pure and layered effort has juicy acidity, fine tannin and superb length. Give it a few years once released, and drink over the following decade or more.” Jeb Dunnuck The Wine Advocate (92-94)

The 2012 Tempranillo is a reversal from the 2010 and 2011. Those vintages took a while to open and be generous. In 2012, we picked later. The wine is much more drinkable now. It’s a more full-bodied wine – ripe, but still has balanced acidity. It’s more Ribera that Rioja, more Jorge Ordonez than Steve Metzler. It’s hedonistic and a guilty indulgence without being gross. And best of all, besides maybe a bit of oak showing through, it’s ready to drink. The blend of the 2012 Tempranillo is reminiscent of the 2006, heavy on Syrah. It is 85% Tempranillo and 15% Syrah, aged in 2 – 7-year American oak barrels.

Drinking window: Drinkable at release. Will be best in 5 years and continue to improve for 10-15 years.

BLEND:85% Tempranillo, 15% Syrah
AGING:89% American Oak Barrels, 11% French Oak Barrels
ALCOHOL:13.5%
RELEASE:April 2015
WINERY RETAIL:  $42
PRODUCTION:550 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 Washington vineyards, minimalist intervention, and balanced, earthy wines. At Gramercy, he focuses primarily on Rhone and Bordeaux varietals.

    In 2008, Seattle Magazine named Greg “Best New Winemaker in Washington” and Gramercy “Best New Winery.” Food & Wine Magazine awarded Gramercy the “Best New Winery in America” in 2010. Wine & Spirits Magazine has named Gramercy to its “Top 100 Wineries in the World” list in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

    In 1996 at the age of 26, Greg Harrington passed the Master Sommelier Exam, a title held by fewer than 130 people in the U.S. He currently serves as Chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas.

    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. From San Francisco, Greg travelled to New Orleans to serve as 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. He then moved to Las Vegas to join the Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group, which includes the Spago, Postrio, and Chinois restaurants, as an associate partner and wine director. Greg’s last foray in the restaurant business was in New York City with Steve Hanson and BR Guest Restaurants and James Hotels. There he oversaw the wine and alcohol programs for 15 restaurants and hotels in New York City, Las Vegas, Scottsdale, and Chicago.

    Greg is a Christian and attends Mission Church in Walla Walla. He is regularly involved with charitable causes locally in Walla Walla and Seattle, as well as across the United States.

  • Pam Harrington

    The Brains

    Although no stranger to a wine glass, Pam Harrington would not generally be categorized as a wine “expert.” Following her graduation from Georgetown in 1997, she started her career in Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan in NYC and, for the past decade, has recruited Private Equity investment professionals across the country. She currently recruits for a large asset manager in Seattle. 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 supports Greg in financing the growth of the business and acquiring vineyards.

    A native of the Philadelphia suburbs, Pam’s family now lives 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 an 8,000-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.