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 one thing I can promise you with Full Pull: we have fall release season covered.

As has become something of a tradition, autumn season kicks off with new releases from Avennia. Now in year three (doesn’t it feel like they’ve been around longer?), Avennia ascended rapidly from under-the-radar newbie to rising superstar to potential cult wine status (as I wrote for the January issue of Seattle Magazine).

A few sample quotes from critics in the three years of Avennia’s existence: Stephen Tanzer (Tanzer’s IWC) “This was the best set of new wines I tasted in Washington in July, but given their pedigree this should not come as a surprise.” David Schildknecht (Wine Advocate): “…one ought to sign up for some [Avennia wine] immediately if they have not all already been spoken for, because this is one auspicious debut!” Jeb Dunnuck (Wine Advocate): “…this Woodinville-based operation needs to be on everyone’s radar. The wines are superb across the board and while they have solid fruit, they stress purity and elegance, with vibrant cores of acidity.”

For those of you who have come to love Chris Peterson’s wines, let me suggest that joining the mailing list would be a good idea. This is the first Avennia release where our allocation is going to end up a little below our initial ask. And that’s okay; it’s the intersection of our growing mailing list and increasing national interest in Avennia’s wines (spurred by the glowing praise above), and we’re still receiving a very generous allocation. But we all know where this is headed, and hedging your bets with a spot on the winery mailing list is not a bad idea.

A big part of the reason why Avennia has captured so many imaginations is Chris Peterson’s house style, one that insists on exploring the ribald earthy side of Washington wine. It’s a style that our list members have found deeply appealing, and I’m thrilled to kick off our autumn release season with three wines from this dynamo:

2012 Avennia Justine (Rhone Blend)

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

The vineyards involved here are Kiona Heart of the Hill for the Mourvedre, Alder Ridge for the Grenache, and Angela’s Vineyard for the Syrah. Listed alc is 15.1%, and this was raised entirely in neutral oak for 16 months. It offers the wildness of a good Mourvedre nose, plum and dark chocolate and star anise all lifted by a brambly sense of the sauvage. Ripe, rich, and openly delicious, it mixes mineral and meat tones with supple fruit, rolling into a finish that surprises with its toothsome chew. This gained complexity with each passing sip, each passing minute of oxygen exposure. Just 325 cases made. The inaugural 2011 vintage went fast, and I expect this to do the same.

2012 Avennia Syrah Arnaut Boushey Vineyard

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

Jeb ranged Arnaut out at a future 94-96pt review, which is going to put serious sales pressure on this vintage of Avennia’s Boushey Vineyard Syrah. With only 250 cases produced, there’s not much to go around, either. Done with 15% whole clusters and in 15% new French oak, this clocks in at 14.8% listed alc and is 100% Boushey Syrah. Oh, the nose: smoldering meat, charcoal, violets, marionberry fruit – everything we’ve come to expect from high-class Boushey fruit. Purity is the watchword here, and this presents a complex pastiche of flavors: the briny, the meaty, the richly fruited. It possesses fine concentration without a shred of excess weight. The sense of balance is pinpoint, and the overall package is an honest, glorious expression of a special site.

2013 Avennia Sauvignon Blanc Oliane

Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck): “[REVIEW TEXT WITHHELD].”

My note differs a bit from Jeb’s on vineyard sources. Mine says 70% Boushey and 30% Red Willlow, two outstanding sites in the Yakima Valley. Chris puts 50% of this through malolactic conversion, and it sees just a kiss of new oak. At 12.9% listed alc in a warm year like 2013, you know these are cool vineyards being picked nice and early. The flavors, which meld creamy peach and pineapple to insistent mineral tones, are delightful, but this charms most for its texture and mouthfeel, which combines fleshiness with vibrancy. A seamless Sauvignon Blanc, this glides across the palate and lingers with citrusy goodness.

Please limit order requests to 24 bottles total (mix and match as you like), 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.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: