Two from Avennia

Hello friends. Since our offering of their inaugural set of wines back in September, things have been going pretty, pretty well for our friends at Avennia:

“[TEXT WITHHELD].” – Stephen Tanzer (Tanzer’s IWC)

“[TEXT WITHHELD]” – David Schildknecht (Wine Advocate), who proceeded to give the two Avennia Syrahs 92pts (Parapine) and 94pts (Arnaut)

Strong praise from two critics not prone to such things, and then Harvey Steiman from Wine Spectator came along and also lavished praise on the Syrahs (94pts Parapine and 93pts Arnaut).

For a first-year winery, this is as good as it gets. And now, with all that buzz squarely building, we come to the spring release of Avennia’s Bordeaux blends (they’re taking the Betz approach: Rhones in the fall, BDXs in the spring). Much like when we offered the Syrahs in the fall, there are few reviews for today’s wines. Examine the pedigree of the winemaking team (Chris Peterson, who built his reputation at DeLille) and the fruit material, and I think you’ll agree with me that more effusive praise will not be long in coming.

[Quick reminder, since this is the first of what should be many spring releases: our allocation scheme favors breadth over depth, so that everyone gets one bottle before anyone gets two. And our formula for prioritizing allocations includes overall orders, frequency of orders, recency of orders, and list tenure, among other factors; it’s like the BCS formula, only less scrutable.]

2010 Avennia “Gravura” (BDX Blend)

A right bank blend, and specifically an homage to Graves, this blends 54% Cabernet Sauvignon with 40% Merlot and 6% Cab Franc. The vineyard sources are incredible: the Cab a combination of 1985-planted Red Willow and 1972-planted Bacchus; the Merlot 1985-planted Red Willow and 2000-planted Klipsun; the Franc 1998-planted Bacchus. That Cabernet especially is some of the best old-vine material in Washington state, being offered here at what I consider to be reasonable tariff indeed.

It sees 50% new oak for just under two years, and the result is a wine that shows off its old-vine character with aplomb. A core of lovely blackcurrant and redcurrant fruit is lifted by topnotes of violet and underbrush. The palate is already quite complex for such a young wine, displaying notes of fruit (raspberry, redcurrant), mineral (graphite), earth, and barrel (espresso). There’s something wonderfully leafy here, a fresh earthiness that I found easily convincing. The texture is managed nicely, with seamless flavors building into a fine-grained, black-tea tannin finish.

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ***** (Exceptional).”

2010 Avennia “Sestina” (BDX Blend)

Sestina sees the proportion of Cabernet (73%) and old-vine material increasing. It’s 55% 1972 Bacchus vines, along with 18% each Cab and Merlot from 1985 Red Willow. A smattering of Bacchus Cab Franc rounds it out. This sees more new oak (70%) and is clearly built for the long haul.

I say that because the fruit is less immediately-revealing, with a more brooding character. The emphasis is squarely on structure (there is serious tannic Cabernet heft here) and minerality (a head-turning core of solid rock), with the black cherry and blackcurrant fruit playing supporting roles for now. There’s such depth and intensity here (without any extra weight) and such a profound sense of balance that this should easily age for a decade, and likely much longer. Another deeply impressive wine to complete Avennia’s inaugural vintage.

Washington Wine Report (Sean Sullivan): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD]. Rating: ***** (Exceptional).”

Please limit order requests to 12 bottles total (mix and match as you like), and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. Both wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be available for pickup or shipping during the spring shipping window.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: