Fellow wine lovers, I have another new release from one of last year’s favorite wineries, Avennia. Last June I featured their first set of releases, saying that they would quickly become among the most highly coveted Washington wines. You can read my original profile on them here. Since then, winemaker Chris Peterson and his Avennia wines have gone on to garner big scores from critics locally and nationally, with 92 and 94 points. Seattle Magazine named Chris Peterson 2013’s “Winemaker To Watch”, with his “Arnaut” Syrah winning red wine of the year in their blind tasting. Those of you who were quick enough to get in on last year’s offer later came back to me with rave reviews and inquiries about re-ordering. Given the trajectory they’re on, you can rest assured that Avennia is headed for absolute stardom. The word is quickly spreading, which means the wines are selling out even faster.
Avennia 2012 “Oliane” Sauvignon Blanc $24.99
Last year I had planned on offering you all the “Oliane” Sauvignon Blanc, but that vintage sold out just before I made my initial feature. That’s exactly why I’m jumping on this year’s model in January, I’ve learned my lesson. I got to taste this one a few months ago and liked it so much, that when Seattle Metropolitan Magazine interviewed me about what my favorite wine of the moment was, it was a no brainer. You can read that small blurb here.
A shining example of how far Washington Sauvignon Blanc has come. Less than a decade ago, it wasn’t uncommon to have Sauvignon Blancs which were heavy, high in alcohol, over-ripe, and tasting of sweet candy, and today’s top producers like Avennia have changed all of that. This is light, dry, crisp and clean. Vibrant acidity illuminates the palate of grapefruit, guava, white flowers, and a hint of spiced apple cider. The fruit comes from two of my favorite vineyards in Yakima, Boushey and Red Willow, and it’s aged in 20% new French oak, giving it just a perfect hint of warm toasted spices.
4 out of 5 star (Excellent) from Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report “An alluring wine with a beautiful mixture of barrel spices, fruit aromas that range from peach to kiwi, and fresh herbs. The palate is rich, concentrated, and flavorful with a long, drawn out finish. A thoroughly delicious, lip smacking wine that is true to the warmer vintage while still retaining its typicity and acidity. 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Boushey (approximately two thirds) and Red Willow vineyards. Barrel fermented in French oak (20% new) and aged sur lies for 7 months. 13.8% alcohol. 190 cases produced.”
Region: Yakima Valley
Vineyards: Boushey and Red Willow
Grape: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Aging: Fermented and aged sur lie for 7 months in 100% French oak, 20% new
Drinkability: Now – 2016
Press: 4 out of 5 (Excellent) – Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report
91 Points – Washington Wine Special Report by Tim Atkin MW and Christy Canterbury MW
Food Pairings: Truffles, ripe cheeses, shellfish
Production: 200 cases
Order the “Oliane” Sauvignon Blanc by clicking here
Avennia 2011 “Justine” Red Blend $37.99
This is my personal favorite of the three, the one that keeps me up at night. When I tasted this with Chris Peterson, I had no question that it was worthy of showing to the Impulse group. Complex yet easy, dark yet eye opening, it’s perfect for all occassion, pairs with almost any food, and pleases all palates. A Châteauneuf-du-Pape inspired blend of 46% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 24% Syrah, it show exactly why Grenache might just be the most talked about grape among Washington wine collectors.
94 Point – Washington Wine Special Report by Tim Atkin MW and Christy Canterbury MW “An exploration of eastern Washington’s spice rack of vineyards, this wine is seasoned with 46% Grenache (Alder Ridge), 30% Mourvedre (Kiona Heart of the Hill) and 24% Syrah (Angela’s Vineyard). The nose is aromatically dense (thanks in part to 15% whole cluster use)with barbecue spice, red plum, red currant, blueberry and rose. Tongue-tying glycerol coats the full-bodied palate, which is encased by middling acidity. The moderate finish shows some warmth, but it’s not unpleasant.”
4.5 out of 5 (Excellent/Exceptional) from Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report “Dark in color. An aromatically complex wine with dark cherries, huckleberries, herbs, grilled meat, and peppery spices. It’s high on the delicious scale with structured pomegranate flavors and mineral accents. An impressive first release of this wine. 46% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre, 24% Syrah. Aged in French oak (0% new). Alder Ridge (Grenache), Kiona Heart of the Hill (Mourvèdre), and Angela’s vineyards (Syrah). Aged 16 months in neutral French oak. 14.9% alcohol. 320 cases produced.”
Region: Yakima Valley
Vineyards: 46% Alder Ridge Grenache, 30% Kiona Heart of the Hill Mourvedre, 24% Angela’s Vineyard Syrah—Clone 383
Grape: 46% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 24% Syrah
Aging: 100% Neutral French oak for 16 months
Drinkability: Now – 2021
Press: 94 Points in “Washington State Special Report” by Tim Akin MW & Christy Canterbury MW
4.5 out of 5 (Excellent/Exceptional) – Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report
Food Pairings: Rack of lamb, duck, smoked cheeses
Production: 320 cases
Order the “Justine” Red Blend by clicking here
Avennia 2011 “Arnaut” Boushey Vineyard Syrah $47.99
The “Arnaut” is the big bold Syrah of the bunch; deep, dark, and savory. It’s thick, coating the inside of your wine glass, but carries itself with grace on the palate. It’s fermented using wild yeast, then bottled unfined and unfiltered to coax out, then preserve, Syrah’s untamed nature. It’s fierce with black cherries and raspberries, dark chocolate, freshly ground coffee beans, and smoky hints of bacon. Oh so smooth and silky on the the tongue.
5 out of 5 (Exceptional) – Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report “A dark, glass staining wine that brings a lot of aromatic complexity with high toned aromas of peppery spice, mulberry, mineral, and roasted meat. The palate is rich, textured and intensely flavored with lively acidity and great purity of fruit. Among the finest examples of Syrah I have had from this esteemed vineyard. 100% Syrah. Aged 16 months in French oak (15% new). 14.9% alcohol. 310 cases produced”
Region: Yakima Valley
Vineyard: 100% Boushey Vineyard
Grape: 100% Syrah
Aging: 16 months in 15% new French oak
Press: 5 out of 5 – Sean Sullivan’s Washington Wine Report
Food Pairings: Prime rib, skewered meats, aged cheeses
Production: 310 cases
Order the “Arnaut” Syrah by clicking here