Current Releases from Saviah and Watermill



By Kori ~ June 15th, 2009.

Winemaker Rich FunkQuestion: What do Saviah Cellars and Watermill Winery have in common?
Answer: Winemaker Rich Funk.

Actually, they have a few more things in common as well. Both are located in the Walla Walla Valley, both are getting their grapes from some of the best vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley and elsewhere in Washington State, and both are producing excellent wines.

Saviah Cellars, founded in 2000 by owner/winemaker Rich Funk, is located in Walla Walla, Washington. Watermill Winery, located just across the state line in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, was founded in 2006 by the Brown family. The Browns are third-generation apple growers and also own Blue Mountain Cider. Since their expertise is in the fruit growing side of the business, they have enlisted the winemaking services of Rich Funk from the beginning. It seems to be a very positive relationship for both parties. Over the past year, we have had the pleasure of tasting a number of wines from both wineries and have gotten to know winemaker Rich Funk.

Saviah and Watermill winesRich is a very talented winemaker and an extremely nice guy. He is a native of Montana and moved to Walla Walla in 1991 to take a job as an Environmental Health Specialist for the Walla Walla County Health Department. While working on water quality and wastewater issues for the Health Department, he developed relationships with a number of area winemakers who ultimately helped him get his start in the industry.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste five of Watermill’s current releases and one of Saviah’s. While all six wines are ones that we would recommend, we were especially impressed by the 2006 Watermill Estate Malbec and the 2006 Saviah Walla Walla Valley Syrah.

In my personal order of preference:

2006 Watermill Estate Malbec (Walla Walla Valley, WA): Brilliant, dark, dense purple. Mocha and vanilla come through on the nose; spices, black pepper, black fruits, plums, and black cherry on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with medium tannins. Extremely well-balanced and smooth with a long finish. This is an exceptional wine.
Quality: 4.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $28; Winery, $28

2006 Saviah Cellars Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, WA): Dark, dense blood red. Aromas of coffee, cream, burnt wood, and vanilla. Flavors of blackberry, black cherry, pepper, and coffee. Full-bodied and spicy with silky tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a very long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $32; Winery, $32

2006 Watermill Estate Midnight Red Wine (Walla Walla Valley, WA): 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, 8% Malbec, and 5% Petit Verdot. Deep, dense purple. Nose is a bit tight at first. Gradually aromas of a forest floor come through. Red and black fruits, plums, and coffee come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with medium tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $30; Winery, $30

2006 Watermill Syrah (Walla Walla Valley, WA): Dark red and dense with aromas of vanilla extract. Black fruits, tobacco, pepper, and spice come through on the palate. Medium to full-bodied with medium to high tannins. Really good with a very long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $24; Winery, $24

2006 Watermill Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla Walla Valley, WA): Deep ruby red. Dusty road aromas and black fruit flavors. Medium-bodied and smooth with medium, dry tannins. Stops a bit short with a medium finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $24; Winery, $24

2006 Watermill Chances R Red Wine (Columbia Valley, WA): Deep purplish red. Creosote aromas and cherry flavors. Medium-bodied with medium tannins and a long finish.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $15; Winery, $15


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Malbec, Oregon Wine, Red Wine, Shiraz/Syrah, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

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