By Kori ~ March 12th, 2014.
Managing partner Marty Taucher and winemaker/partner Chris Peterson founded Avennia Winery in 2010. Located in Woodinville, Washington, Avennia made an impressive debut with their first releases in the fall of 2012. The winery name was inspired by the Roman name for the city of Avignon and is a nod to Old World winemaking. Winemaker Chris Peterson, not to be confused with the new University of Washington football coach Chris Petersen, spent eight years crafting award-winning wines at DeLille Cellars. He is passionate about Old World winemaking techniques and strives to make wines with structure and elegance.
Avennia sources grapes from some of the top vineyards in Washington State, including Boushey Vineyards, Red Willow Vineyard, Bacchus Vineyard and Dionysus Vineyard (part of Sagemoor Vineyards), and Klipsun Vineyard. The majority of the fruit they source, with the exception of the Sauvignon Blanc, comes from 20+-year-old vines. With their current vintage, Avennia produces 1,700 cases per year. Their goal is to ultimately get to a production level of 4,500 cases per year.
In the fall, we had their 2011 Arnaut Syrah, 2011 Justine Red Wine, and 2012 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc in a blind samples tasting. In February, they rounded out their 2011 vintage with the release of their two Red Wine Bordeaux-style Blends, the 2011 Gravura and the 2011 Sestina.
Recently, we had the pleasure to visit with Chris and taste through all five of their current releases as well as a few barrel samples. We were able to revisit the three wines that were released in the fall. All three are very good, but we continue to be especially impressed with the Arnaut Syrah. This 100% Syrah from Boushey Vineyards in the Yakima Valley is an outstanding wine and delivers serious bang for your buck. Then we moved on to the newly released Bordeaux-style Blends. While the 2011 Gravura is an excellent wine in its own right, the 2011 Sestina absolutely “wow-ed” us. As Avennia’s flagship wine, Sestina absolutely deserves top billing. It is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc blend from old vines at Bacchus and Red Willow. This is a gorgeous, complex wine that should only improve with age.
Avennia wines are offered on an allocated basis to their mailing list members. While you may find some of their wines elsewhere, I highly encourage you to get on their mailing list now before it closes and you are out of luck. Other than release events for mailing list members, the winery is not open to the public.
2011 Avennia Gravura Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Franc. Dark, dense purple. Blackberry, black cherry, leather, and a touch of black pepper come through on both the nose and palate. Medium to full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high tannins. Well-balanced with a long, smooth finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $35
2011 Avennia Sestina Red Wine (Columbia Valley, Washington): 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, and 9% Cabernet Franc. Dark, dense purple. Gorgeous nose with earth, black fruit, and leather aromas. Complex flavors of herbs, earth, leather, black fruit, and smoked meat come through on the palate. Full-bodied with crisp acidity, and high, chewy tannins. Extremely well-balanced with good complexity and a very long, lingering finish. Should get even better with age. Wow!
Quality: 5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Winery, $55
Filed under: American Wine, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Five-Star Quality Wines, Red Wine, Vineyards, Washington State Wine, Wines Over $25