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What: Gramercy Cellars Lower East Syrah Columbia Valley 2013 $32

Where: Esquin Wine and Spirits, Bin 41, Pike and Western Wine Merchant, Village Wines, Pete’s Wine Shop (Lake Union), Ballard Market

Why: Master Sommelier Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars in Walla Walla left behind a (very) successful life in the restaurant world to move out to Washington and, in his words, “make wines that taste like dirt.” Harrington’s wines not only try to express the ground they come from but, coming from a restaurant background, they have also typically been lower in oak and higher in acidity than the norm to help them pair more easily with food.

Syrah has long been the star at Gramercy but the 2013 Gramercy Cellars Lower East Syrah Columbia Valley ($32) is the winery’s first offering in its entry level Lower East series. It’s shocking good, especially considering the price, with aromas and flavors of smoked meat, pepper, and herbs that show purity and persistence. Gramercy Cellars is unequivocally one of the state’s best wineries, and this wine is a perfect chance to see what all the buzz is about. Drink up!

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