Three from Avennia

Hello friends. Welcome to autumn release season. This period, which runs from September through November, is as exciting as it gets for Washington wine lovers. Many of our state’s big guns save their heavy-hitter releases for the run-up to the holidays, and we’ll be offering as many of them as we can get our grubby little mitts on.

Beginning with a sophomore sensation: Avennia.

Our inaugural Avennia offering took place last September, and in the past year, the winery has gone from well-under-the-radar to rising superstar, carried by a wave of inveterately positive reviews from all sorts of different publications:

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

“[REVIEW 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 lavished more praise on the Syrahs (94pts Parapine and 93pts Arnaut).

We’ve seen this story before: this is winery headed towards a closed mailing list, and we don’t have any guarantees on future allocations. But for now, it’s still early days, and we have a great relationship with the winery, in no small part due to the fact that winery partner Marty Taucher is a long-time Full Pull list member, since well before Avennia launched.

The pedigrees of the winemaking team (Chris Peterson, who built his reputation at DeLille) and the fruit material are outstanding, and the beginnings of a house style (purity, elegance, expressiveness) are already on display. This is a winery sourcing some of the finest grapes available in the state and offering wine at competitive tariffs; they’re a fine choice to kick off autumn release season.

[As we move into the season of competitive allocations, a quick reminder of our technique at Full Pull: Our allocations favor 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.]

Now, onto the wines:

2011 Avennia “Justine” (Rhone Blend)

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

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck) [NOTE: based on a barrel sample, so no set score yet]: “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

A new wine for Avennia, this replaces Parapine in the lineup. Unsurprisingly, as soon as Avennia could get their hands on Grenache, a GSM blend couldn’t be far behind. The tasting notes above are solid. I too found this to be a lovely mix of berry fruit (boysenberry, marionberry) and piercing garrgiue/underbrush notes. Lushly textured, with the perfect amount of savory/gamey nuance from the Syrah and Mourvedre to balance the plush Grenache fruit. And balance really is the watchword here, across the entire Avennia lineup. These wines are tightrope walkers.

2011 Avennia Syrah “Arnaut” Boushey Vineyard

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

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck) [NOTE: based on a barrel sample, so no set score yet]: “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

What really needs to be said about Boushey Vineyard Syrah at this point? If you like smoke and bacon fat and a whole mess of other charcuterie-related reference points in your wines, this is a wine to get you salivating. The balance between fruit character and savory character is pinpoint. If you haven’t experienced “the Boushey funk,” this would be an awfully nice place to start.

2012 Avennia Sauvignon Blanc “Oliane”

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

About two thirds Boushey fruit and the remainder Red Willow, Oliane is a barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc, raised in 20% new oak. Aromatics combine several floral components (petals and stems) with stone fruit. The overall effect is akin to sticking your nose into a peach blossom. From a warm vintage, this is a ripe, creamy mouthful of peach fruit, with just a hint of Sauvignon Blanc’s pyrazine grassy character. As supple a Sauv Blanc as I can remember tasting from Washington.

Please limit order requests to 6 bottles of each wine, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wines should arrive in about a week, at which point they will be ready for pickup or shipping during the next temperature-appropriate shipping window.

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