2015 Gramercy Cellars, Deuce 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. 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: 100% Syrah from two Walla Walla Valley vineyards. Aged in mostly neutral oak.
Vineyard source: The Deuce is always based on fruit from steeper, upper section parcels of Les Collines Vineyard, with shallow topsoils and excellent drainage. Fruit from this site adds aromatic elegance and complexity. In 2015 they added fruit from Forgotten Hills Vineyard (51%), located at the base of the Blue Mountains with volcanic rock soil that adds deep minerality and structure to the wine.
Flavor profile: This Syrah has inviting, earthy aromas with notes of iron and cured meat, that lead to flavors of ripe red fruit and spice, with hints of olive and herbs. It’s a great example of Washington Syrah—elegant, textured, and complex, with perfectly balanced acidity and tannins.
Production/Availability: 664 cases made. There is still some available.
Drinkability: Now or over the next five to seven years, through 2025.
Food Pairing: It would be great with pork, lamb shoulder, or Provençal dishes.
2015 Betz Family Winery, “Possibility,” $36
Winery info: Bob Betz has long been one of Washington’s most respected winemakers. He is also one of just over four hundred people in the world to have been awarded the Master of Wine degree since its inception in 1953. He has retired from the day-to-day work of the winery, passing that responsibility to Louis Skinner, although he continues as consulting winemaker. This wine was formerly known as Cuvée Frangin, a blend produced each year using a wider range of barrel and varietal combinations than other Betz wines. The new artwork and new name celebrates Bob’s 20th anniversary with the winery. Usually only available in restaurants, we were very lucky to get enough for this month’s club.
Winemaker: Louis Skinner, who began as an intern at Betz in 2010, followed by work at DeLille Cellars for a number of vintages. He returned to Betz and was promoted to winemaker in 2016.
Grapes: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Syrah
Vineyard source: A number of vineyards in Red Mountain, the Yakima Valley, and Walla Walla.
Flavor profile: Their goal with this wine is to “embody Washington at its most delicious: vibrant fruit, mouthwatering freshness, beautiful texture, and savory complexity.” They have succeeded in this expressive, layered wine with its bright fruit flavors and notes of dark chocolate, and spice.
Production/Availability: Only 1000 cases made. The 2015 vintage is almost gone.
Drinkability: Drinking beautifully now, through 2023.
Food Pairing: Grilled roasted meats, baked pasta dishes (such as lasagna), dishes with mole or similar sauces, or with hard cheeses, especially Parmesan.