Right Bank Impulse
Avennia 2012 Sestina, Valery, and Gravura
Fellow wine lovers, we’ve been featuring the wines of Avennia since Impulse Wine first began, and they just continue to impress. Today we have 3 of their latest release of Bordeaux style wines, from the outstanding 2012 vintage, which includes a brand new Right Bank Bordeaux style red called “Valery”.
For those who have yet to hear of Avennia, this is a remarkable new winery, now in their third vintage, with long-time veteran winemaker Chris Peterson turning out some of the best wines in the state. Chris made wines at DeLille for several years before connecting with his now business partner, Marty Taucher, a Microsoft alumn. Together, they’ve caught the attention of every major magazine and wine reviewer, quickly becoming the most talked about new winery of the past five years.
The Sestina red is their flagship Bordeaux wine, featuring the most body, complexity, and age worthiness. Jeb Dunnuck of the Wine Advocate sampled it while still in barrel and gave it a rating of 94-96 points, calling it a “knockout”. It has significantly more Cabernet Sauvignon than the other two Bordeaux, with 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc. The grapes are sourced from some of the oldest Cabernet vines in the state, from top vineyard sites, including a 1973 planting from Dionysus Vineyard and a 1972 planting at Bacchus Vineyard. The Sestina also receives a more generous oak regiment than the other two, spending 21 months in 70% new French Oak barrels.
The result is a layered and beautifully structured wine, which is tasting great right now, and will easily continue to develop in the bottle for several years – it’s also well worth decanting if you open it up sooner rather than later. This blockbuster 2012 vintage brings forth a Sestina with a more generous and boastful nose that has lots of dark fruits, nuanced by baking spices and earth. The palate is full bodied, though not heavy, coming up very balanced and smooth, with a hint of grip on the finish which will soften over time. It shows classic notes of blackberries and blackcurrant, with a background of blueberry, hints of vanilla, new leather, and scorched earth and graphite. Its essence is deep and dark, with a long finish that keeps on giving. This wine is absolutely outstanding, and will only continue to get better.
Chris only made 250 cases of this lovely Sestina, and we are able to offer just 3 cases on Impulse, first come first serve.
Click here to order the Avennia 2012 Sestina
Avennia 2012 Sestina
Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: 33% Dionysus Vineyard Cab, planted 1973 33% Red Willow Cab, planted 1985 6%
Bacchus Vineyard Cab, planted 1972 19% Red Willow Merlot, planted 1985 9% Bacchus Cab Franc, planted 1997
Grape: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 70% new French Oak for 21 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2027
Drink This if you Like: DeLille Chaleur Estate Red, Betz Pere de Famille Cabernet
Press: 94-96 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Food Pairings: New York Steak with Demi-Glace
Availability: 3 cases
This is their newest wine in the line-up, and it’s very exciting that we are able to get some of it, because there’s so little made and its announcement is so well received. The “Valery” red is named for Saint Valery, the patron Saint of wine in the town of St. Emillon, in the right bank of Bordeaux. Like the wines of St. Emillon, Valery is a Merlot based blend of 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and no Cabernet Sauvignon. This turns out a lighter style, that leans more towards red fruits.
I asked Chris and Marty if there is a particular reason they’re introducing a new wine, and they told me it was inspired by Dick Boushey, of Boushey Vineyards. Seems Dick has an old, 1986 planting, of Merlot within his vineyard, which is unique. It’s planted in an especially rocky site, not unlike the new Rocks AVA, which was just designated in Walla Walla. Apparently, Dick had mentioned the site saying, “You wouldn’t be interested in this Merlot, it comes off really earthy,” and that was enough to peak everyone’s interests. They acquired some of the Merlot with the intention of adding it into one of the preexisting Avennia blends, but once they tasted the outcome, they immediately felt it was worthy of its own label, Valery.
These rocky Merlot vines have turned into another winner for Avennia, with a polish mouthfeel and dusty gravel subtleties. The wine has already received a preview score of 92-94 Points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, where Jeb Dunnuck referred to it as “voluptuous” and “sexy”. It shows hints of cocoa powder, fresh ground peppercorn, red cherries, red plums, and hints of Herbes de Provence coming from the 20% Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Franc.
Another great wine from Avennia, and they made just 125 cases, of which we are able to offer 3 cases on Impulse, first come first serve.
Click here to order the Avennia Valery Right Bank Red
Avennai 2012 Valery
Region: Columbia Valley, Washington State
Vineyard: 80% Boushey Vineyard Merlot 1986 planting, 20% Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Franc
Grape: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 60% new French oak for 20 months
Drinkability: Now through 2023
Drink This if you Like: Clos de Betz
Press: 92-94 Points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Food Pairings: Meatloaf, Beef Brisket, Grilled Pork
Availability: 3 cases
The Gravura continue to be a standout value among the Avennia showcase, and Washington State Wines as a whole. It’s like the little sibling of the Sestina, with less Cabernet Sauvignon, being almost equal parts Cab and Merlot, with 11% Cabernet Franc. It receives a more mild barrel treatment of 50% new French oak for 20 months, and is more suited for early drinking, though can surely lay down for a while. It has a more up-front showing of bright fruits, with notes of juicy black raspberries and cherries, red liquorice, hints of sage and cedar. The palate is firm and dense, yet velvety and generous, with the wine really opening up nicely over time. I’ve saved several bottles of their 2011 and 2010 vintages, and found that they really evolve beautifully. Easily one of my favorite wines, and an outstanding value. Something I am happy to have poured for me anytime – in fact, this is the wine I most often take to dinner and parties, and give as gifts to friends whom I know really appreciate great wine. The responses I get when showing the Gravura, to someone who has yet to have it, are extremely positive.
Stephen Tanzer of Vinous gives it 92 points, calling it, “A steal for the price”. Chris made only 625 cases of this beauty.
Click here to order the Avennia Gravura
Avennia 2012 Gravura
Region: Columbia Valley
Vineyard: 19% Angela’s Vineyard Cab, 15% Bacchus Vineyard Cab, 14% Red Willow Cab, 23% Red Willow Merlot, 14% Klipsun Merlot, 4% Boushey Merlot, 7% Champoux Cab Franc, 4% Bacchus Cab Franc
Grape: 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 50% new French oak for 20 months
Drinkability: Now Through 2025
Drink This if you Like: DeLille D2
Press: 92 points from Vinous/Tanzer
Food Pairings: Steak