Private Tasting: Washington Red Blends

By Kori ~ February 23rd, 2009.

While watching an episode of Wine Library TV shortly after Taste Washington last year, I was introduced to Pomum Cellars in Woodinville, Washington. Prior to hearing Gary V. sing their praises, I had not heard of them. A few weeks later, Colby and I were out to dinner at Stumbling Goat Bistro and found the Pomum Shya Red on the wine list. We thought it was a good wine and paired quite well with our meal so the next time I was at Esquin, I picked up a bottle to put into our private tasting lineup against another Washington Red Blend, the Saviah Cellars Une Vallee, that has been one of our favorites to see how it would stack up.

20090223_saviahunevallee2When we took the sacks off the wines after one of our recent double-blind private tastings, we discovered that we had just enjoyed the Pomum/Saviah matchup. For a more complete description of how we set up these private tastings, please refer to How We Taste.

Both wines were a perfect match to our dinner of spicy pot roast with onion, sweet potatoes, carrots, and a mixed green salad. We gave a slight edge to the 2006 Saviah Cellars Une Vallee over the 2004 Pomum Cellars Shya Red. They are both well-made wines but exhibit slightly different styles. The Saviah Une Vallee is more fruit-forward while the Pomum Shya Red has more chocolate and coffee notes. (Photo from Saviah Cellars)

We thought this was a great tasting. Both are good red wines that are worth a try if you see them on the shelf at your local wine shop or on a restaurant wine list. The Saviah Une Vallee is another top-notch effort from winemaker Rich Funk. If you happen to be in Walla Walla, be sure to stop by for a visit at Saviah Cellars. I have not had a chance to visit Pomum Cellars. They are not open regular hours, only for a few weekend events each year. However, I noticed that they are on the list for this year’s Taste Washington so I definitely plan to stop by their booth to try their new releases.

2006 Saviah Cellars Une Vallee Red Wine (Walla Walla Valley, Washington): 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc. Deep, dark red. Very aromatic with aromas and flavors of black fruits, especially black plums. Fruit-forward and medium-bodied with medium tannins. Well-balanced with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $32; Available elsewhere, $33 to $36

2004 Pomum Cellars Shya Red (Columbia Valley, Washington): 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 2% Petit Verdot. Deep, dark red with a slight haze. Chocolate-covered espresso beans and pencil eraser shreds come through on the nose. Coffee is the predominant flavor on the palate. Long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 2 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle), $32.99; Wine Exchange (California), $38.99 [2005 is currently available vintage]

Filed under: American Wine, Red Wine, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Paul Zitarelli | February 23rd, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Kori –

    I really loved the 2005 Pomum Shya and am excited about the release of the 2006 vintage, which actually happens March 7, from 11 AM to 4 PM at the winery.

    Along with the Shya and the Syrah, they’re also releasing a $23 Tempranillo blend. Since their winemaker is Spanish, I’m pretty intrigued to check it out.

    – Paul

  2. Kori | February 24th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the Pomum release on 3/7, but I’m looking forward to tasting their 2006’s at Taste Washington. Thanks for the heads up on the Tempranillo blend; I’ll have to keep an eye out for that one too.

  3. rjh | February 27th, 2009 at 8:18 am

    very cool that you all tasted saviah. i haven’t seen many write-ups on this winery. my wife and i were at the winery back in september and thought the una vallee was by far their best. well balanced, good fruit, just a really nice wine. the only unfortunate thing is that we’re down to one bottle now.


  4. Kori | February 27th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed your visit to Saviah and especially their Une Vallee. Rich Funk is a very talented winemaker that we have had the pleasure to get to know over the past year. We’ve done a number of posts that included Saviah wines ( If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to try the Saviah Malbec as well. Also, Rich is the winemaker at Watermill Winery in Milton-Freewater, OR. Their wines are excellent, too, particularly their Reserve Syrah.