2012 Gramercy Cellars, Inigo Montoya Tempranillo, $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: 85% Tempranillo with 15% Syrah, aged in 2-7 year-old American oak barrels
Vineyard sources: Walla Walla and Columbia Valley vineyards, including Les Collines and Minnick, plus fruit from the winery’s estate block which grows some of the only Spanish-clone Tempranillo in Walla Walla. (Their plan is to produce a 100% Spanish-clone Tempranillo from their estate vineyard beginning with the 2013 vintage.)
Flavor profile: An intense, classic Tempranillo, with notes of spice, vanilla, and white pepper, and a bit of oak that softens with air. With lush texture and balanced minerality.
Production/Availability: 200 cases, but pretty limited due to the popularity of Gramercy wines.
Drinkability: Approachable now and should drink well for a decade or more.
Food Pairing: Great for Spanish style fare, like paella or tapas, spicy pulled pork, or grilled meats.
2012 Dumas Station, Cabernet Sauvignon, $39.75
Winery info: Owned and operated by Jay DeWitt and Doug Harvey, who also own and manage Minnick Hills Vineyard, located to the north of Walla Walla. Their winery is located in a former apple-packing shed known as Dumas Station (hence the name). Their first commercial release was their 2003 Cab and we have been featuring them in our clubs regularly, beginning with their 2004 release.
Winemaker: Jay DeWitt, who is also the vineyard manager
Grapes: 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot
Vineyard source: From their estate Minnick Hills Vineyard and Birch Creek Vineyard, which is in a warm site at the southern end of the Walla Walla Valley
Flavor profile: From the excellent 2012 vintage, this wine has inviting aromas that continue to evolve in the glass as it opens up, with mouth-filling texture, flavors of dark fruit, black licorice, and spice, and a long, lingering finish.
Production/Availability: 550 cases. This vintage is now sold out at the winery.
Drinkability: Jay makes wines that are ready to drink, and this is no exception.
Food Pairing: Great for any carnivore-lover’s fare, but it is also supple enough to pair with root vegetable dishes or a hearty mushroom risotto.