2012 Guardian Cellars, Gun Metal, $39
Winery info: Jerry Riener volunteered for several years at Matthews Estate, then worked alongside Mark McNeilly at Mark Ryan Winery where he began crafting his own wines as well. He officially launched Guardian Cellars in 2007, all while keeping his day job as a cop. This is the sixth year in a row that we’ve featured this wine in the Washington Club.
Winemaker: Jerry Riener
Grapes: 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc
Vineyard sources: Connor Lee, in the Columbia Valley, and Stone Tree, in the Wahluke Slope
Flavor profile: Gun Metal is Guardian’s flagship wine and this one, from the fabulous 2012 vintage, has flavors and aromas of dark fruit and savory herbs, with just enough tannins to add a nice touch of grip to the rich, full mouth feel.
Production/Availability: 700 cases made and there is still good availability.
Drinkability: This wine is drinking well now, but it would definitely reward cellaring for three to five years.
Food Pairing: Always a fabulous steak wine, it could also pair well with most robust fare.
2012 Gramercy Cellars, The Third Man, $45
Winery info: Founded in 2005 by master sommelier-turned-winemaker, Greg Harrington, who oversaw wine programs at some of the top restaurants in the country before moving to Walla Walla to make Bordeaux- and Rhône-inspired wines in Washington.
Winemaker: Greg Harrington, with assistant winemaker Brandon Moss
Grapes: 57% Grenache, 38% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre
Vineyard source: Alder Ridge, Olsen, and Les Collines
Flavor profile: Smooth and rich, with ripe red and black fruit flavors and a dash of smoke and black pepper. Balanced by supple tannins and food-friendly acidity.
Production/Availability: This vintage (the outstanding 2012) is sold out and they are onto the 2013, although we still have a few bottles left of the 2012.
Drinkability: This wine is very accessible now.
Food Pairing: A classic wine for lamb or duck or a hearty cassoulet.