2013 Gramercy, Lagniappe Syrah, $60
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: 100% Syrah. The wine gets its name from a French/Cajun term meaning “a little something extra.”
Vineyard sources: 80% Red Willow, in the Yakima Valley and 20% Forgotten Hills, at the base of the Blue Mountains in the Walla Walla Valley
Flavor profile: Medium to full-bodied, it has intense and complex dark fruit flavors, with undertones of black pepper, herbs, and a hint of earth and meatiness typical of Forgotten Hills fruit.
Production/Availability: 658 cases, pretty much completely sold out.
Drinkability: Could be cellared for a couple of years, but very nice now.
Food Pairing: Beef or venison.
2015 Mark Ryan Winery, Board Track Racer, The Chief, $28
Winery info: Mark Ryan McNeilly began making wine in 1999, working in various garages and warehouses before finally settling into Woodinville in 2003. As production increased he later relocated to his current location in Woodinville’s Hollywood area. His goal from day one has been to make delicious wines that represent the vineyard from which they come, and to make every vintage better than the last.
Winemakers: Mark Ryan McNeilly and Mike MacMorran
Grapes: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot
Vineyard source: Columbia Valley—predominantly Phinny Hill in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA
Flavor profile: 2015 was Washington’s warmest vintage to date, with everything from bud break to harvest occurring two to three weeks earlier than average. This wine is very rich, with the dark fruit and aromatics of the Cab balanced by the spicy flavors of the Malbec. With firm, yet smooth tannins, and subtle hints of mocha.
Production/Availability: 2500 cases. It was just released so it should be in good supply for a while.
Drinkability: Ready to drink any time.
Food Pairing: Red meat, or on its own.