I’ve laid claim to the unofficial position of Washington State Wine Ambassador for the state of Kentucky, which I’ve been driven to ever since attending last year’s Road Trip Washington Wine excursion. Four days and nights of non-stop Washington Wine in all its glory, amongst their vineyards, amongst their winemakers, along with 40 other buyers from around the country, all bearing witness to a fast-maturing industry in a state that for all intensive purposes, hits one home run after another.
One of the big unicorns I’ve been after is the wine of Gramercy Cellars, founded by Greg and Pam Harrington. Greg is actually the youngest person ever to pass the Master Sommelier Exam (he was 26 – yeah, I know, what’s my excuse?) and in a bold move, packed him and his wife up from their cushy digs in Manhattan to move to Walla Walla and open up a winery – a move that has witnessed his wines being amongst the most sought-after and highly-praised in all of Washington State and in the U.S.
I was able to hear Greg speak at a Syrah seminar held during RTWW at the venerable Red Willow Vineyard, located in a remote part of Northwestern Yakima Valley, almost in the shadow of volcanoes Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier. It was a bit emotional that day, with Washington Wine patriarch David Lake having passed away after a long bout with cancer, and you could hear it in his voice, and the voice of Red Willow Vineyard manager Mike Sauer (a legend in his own right). Greg was there to help illustrate the brilliance of Washington State Syrah, and his Gramercy Cellars wines are amongst the best anywhere. Indeed, Red Willow was the site where Syrah was first planted, cuttings from vineyards in the Northern Rhone (Mike actually built a small chapel on the hilltop as an homage to the Northern Rhone’s renowned La Chapelle vineyards.
Anyway, I get a ton of press releases from so many different PR companies, and I got one from C. Milan Communications, heralding Gramercy Cellars as Food & Wine Magazine’s 2010 Winery of the Year. Congrats to Greg and Pam for the honor, but I have serious sour grapes in the fact that I can’t get any for the store. Indeed, they sell out pretty quick, so it’s understandable that Podunk Kentucky would be far down on the allocations list, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about that.
Again, big congrats to Gramercy Cellars. And here’s hoping that these wines miraculously show up in our market in the near future.