Winemaker Chris Peterson was the first graduate of Walla Walla Community College’s Enology & Viticulture program, and spent the better part of the last decade making wine at Delille Cellars. Chris and Managing Partner Marty Taucher’s appreciation for Old World winemaking is reflected in the name: Avennia is inspired by the Roman name for the city of Avignon.
Tasting and evaluating wine at a release party is always challenging – you typically only get a small pour and have just a few minutes to formulate an opinion. It’s also hard to take notes while catching up with friends and visiting with winery representatives. But we were up to the challenge!
We had the opportunity to try the current releases, a Sauvignon Blanc and two Syrahs, and two Bordeaux Blends slated for Spring.
2011 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc – 100% Boushey Vineyard fruit and 10% new French oak. Very light in color. Tart with hints of citrus, lemon and vanilla. 88 points.
Note to Chris, Marty and Bob: The Oliane was so refreshing on an unseasonably warm September afternoon that I can’t help but think the 2012 bottling might work better as a Spring release (in advance of Summer), as opposed to a Fall release when Summer is winding down.
2010 Parapine Syrah – 53% Force Majeure Vineyard and 47% Boushey Vineyard. 17% new French oak. Opaque purple in color. This wine is very tight but shows cherries, pepper and violets on the nose. Savory red fruits, game and bacon fat on the palate. Needs time. 91 points.
2010 Arnaut Syrah – 100% Boushey Vineyard fruit. 20% new French oak. 15% whole cluster fermentation. Dark purple in color. Pepper, cherries and flowers on the nose. This wine is very fruit driven. Intense and taut. Minerals, grilled meats and more cherry on the palate. I’d like to follow this wine over a day or two. 94 points.
These next two wines will not be released for another 6 months. While I have some initial impressions, I’ll hold off on a detailed note or score until after they are released.
2010 Gravura – 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc. 50% new French Oak. Sweet fruits. Bell pepper, mocha, leather, graphite and cassis. Super young.
2010 Sestina – 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc. 70% new French Oak. You could really taste the Cabernet Sauvignon here. Currant, cassis, pencil, leather, herbs and minerals. Exceptionally long finish.
I would encourage you to try a bottle and see what you think. I was impressed, and think Avennia is a winery to keep your eye on.
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