2014 Gramercy Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, $55
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. He seeks “to produce wines that complement food, provide great pleasure, and stand out as uniquely made in Washington.
Winemaker: Greg Harrington, with assistant winemaker Brandon Moss.
Grapes: 95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot
Vineyard source: Phinny Hill. Sagemoor, Octave Estate, Bacchus, and Dionysus vineyards. As they describe it, “Phinny is backbone and elegance, Sagemoor is all about power and complexity, and Octave is the closer.”
Flavor profile: In past vintages, this wine has had a bit of Merlot in the blend, but in 2014 they felt Cab Franc fit better, adding freshness and life. The result is an elegant, smooth, silky Cab, with hints of chocolate, dark fruit, and a touch of graphite and forest floor.
Production/Availability: 1421 cases produced. It should still be in decent supply for a while.
Drinkability: Delicious now, you could enjoy it anytime through 2028.
Food Pairing: Ribeye steak, charred gruyere burger, or perhaps a peppercorn-crusted roast lamb.
2014 Cloudlift Cellars, Stratus Petit Verdot, $32
Winery info: Cloudlift Cellars is based in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Owner and winemaker Tom Stangeland has worked as a chef, and is also a master woodworker. But after an eye-opening and palate-expanding experience in France, he decided to pursue winemaking as well, with the help of the Northwest Wine Academy. His first release was in 2009.
Winemaker: Tom Stangeland
Grapes: 90% Petit Verdot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard source: Elephant Mountain Vineyard, on the southern slopes of Rattlesnake Ridge in the Yakima Valley. It is a warm, dry site with sandy silt loam soil and a relatively long growing season.
Flavor profile: Petit Verdot is often blended in small amounts into Bordeaux reds. It is known for its deep color, flavors of plum, cassis, and violet, and excellent minerality. This wine is true to the varietal: rich and deep with dark fruit flavors and notes of licorice, toasted nuts, and cocoa.
Production/Availability: 100 cases produced. Tom has only about ten cases left.
Drinkability: Drinking well now, with its good acidity and firm tannins it could cellar up to 2025.
Food Pairing: Tom suggests any preparation of lamb, Osso Bucco, or holiday roasts.