One of the great overall lineups in Washington wine, Avennia is a partnership between former Microsoft executive Marty Taucher and superstar winemaker Chris Peterson. For those less familiar with Avennia, Chris Peterson served as DeLille Cellars winemaker for many years prior to starting Avennia. Chris has a signature winemaking style that deftly walks the tightrope between richness and structure. He also has a tendency to truly shape a wine based on what the vintage provides — which is clearly evident in the rich, tremendous new lineup of wines from 2016 which was a very warm vintage in Washington. The new releases from the outstanding 2016 show amazing texture and mouthfeel but also great tension. I was truly amazed with the overall quality of the new releases as Peterson has an incredible handle on everything from Rose to Cabernet Franc.
I loved the new 2019 Avennia ‘L’Egerie’ Rose (WWB, 92) which shows off a silky mouthfeel and is one of the best Rose wines from the Pacific Northwest that I have sampled this year. Grab a few bottles of this exciting new Rose while it lasts. An incredible new Rhone style red blend, their 2016 Avennia ‘Justine’ Red Wine (WWB, 94) is showing marvelously right now with its incredible layers, range and soft texture.. Even better was the 2016 Avennia ‘Arnaut’ Syrah (WWB, 95) which shows wonderful richness and is downright impossible to resist in its youth. Learn more about these stunning new wines at avennia.com. Here are my reviews of the beautiful new Avennia wines.
2018 Avennia ‘L’Egerie’ Rose- The term ‘L’Egerie’ is French for ‘muse’ as Chris Peterson has crafted another stunning new Rose wine, blending 65% Grenache and 35% Mourvedre. Showing off its beautiful pale color, the wine opens with really good aromatic range, from salted Marcona almond to ripe strawberry, as well as melon and shades of Mandarin orange zest that all combine on the nose. The silky texture truly entices and collects momentum with the wonderful bright minerality of the wine. Elegant, yet showing good depth, the wine unveils bright red raspberry, strawberry and honeydew melon flavors that connect with the great sense of minerality. This finishes extremely long. Try to get your hands on this while it lasts. Drink 2019-2026- 92
2017 Avennia ‘La Perle’ White Wine- The 2017 ‘La Perle’ is another sensational effort by superstar winemaker Chris Peterson. A silky blend of 55% Roussanne with the remainder Marsanne, this was sourced from both the Sagemoor (Roussanne) and Boushey (Marsanne) vineyards. Weighing in at 13.4% alcohol, this evokes lemon zest and bright honeydew melon with wet stone and earthy accents on this expressive nose. The texture of this wine truly shines, as does the vibrant sense of minerality. Freshly cut grass, lemon zest, cantaloupe and copious minerals flood the palate, finishing strong with vanilla cream and more minerals. A beautiful effort, I can see this cellaring well for another decade, picking up lovely tertiary notes. Drink 2019-2026- 93
2016 Avennia ‘Justine’ Red Wine- A blend of 56% Grenache with the remainder 32% Mourvedre and 12% Syrah, the ‘Justine’ was aged for 16 months in a combination of concrete (20%) and neutral oak (80%) prior to bottling. The wine shows very pretty rose water and red cherry candy aromas that combine with dried herbs and smoke to round out the aromatics. The palate is fresh, mineral-driven, complex and truly sumptuous, evoking a wonderfully rich mouthfeel. Red and dark fruits dance with minerals and citrus rind on the palate with shades of smoke rounding out this delicious wine. A delight to savor in its youth, this will provide drinking enjoyment for the next decade. Drink 2019-2029- 94
2016 Avennia ‘Arnaut’ Syrah- The 2016 ‘Arnaut’ is a sensational Syrah sourced from the Boushey Vineyard in the Yakima Valley. This was aged for 16 months in 15% new French oak prior to bottling. Smoky and savory tones excite on the nose with red and dark fruits and a semblance of creosote aromatics all evolve in the glass. The palate has a seamless quality that runs through the mid-palate. Ripe boysenberry jam, mocha, tar and Asian spices with herbal undertones all surround this beautiful wine. While gorgeous in its youth, this has the stuffing to cellar well for a decade or more. If enjoying in its youth, be sure to give this at least a one hour decant. Drink 2019-2029- 95
2016 Avennia ‘Gravura’ Red Wine- A blend of 48% Cabernet Sauviginon with 41% Merlot and a touch of Cabernet Franc (11%), the ‘Gravura’ was sourced from the Dionysus, Red Willow, Bacchus, Boushey, Blackwood Canyon and Klipsun Vineyards. Opening with a bouquet of ripe red and dark fruits with hints of chocolate, the nose is quite satisfying. The texture here is really gorgeous as dark cherry, mocha and tar flavors collect momentum with herbal tones and copious minerals. This is seriously good for the price as I can see this beautiful wine cellaring well for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 93
2016 Avennna ‘Valery’ Red Wine- The 2016 ‘Valery’ is a right bank Bordeaux style of wine (70% Merlot with 30% Cabernet Franc) sourced from old vine Boushey Vineyard Merlot and Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Franc. Needing a one hour decant to fully express itself, the ‘Valery’ opens with bright red fruits with sweet pipe tobacco and licorice aromas that build in the glass. The palate is highly elegant, evoking a wonderful, Bordelaise feel. Quite honestly, the wine precisely exactly what it sets out to do, as this might pass for a great St. Emillon with its silky tannin, bright red fruits and herbal and earthy tones. Gorgeous in its youth, this is really needing another year in the bottle to fully evolve. If enjoying young, be sure to give this at least a three hour decant prior to consumption. Drink 2020-2040- 95
2016 Avennia ‘Sestina’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 ‘Sestina’ is a stunning new wine made by the talented Chris Peterson. A blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder smaller portions of Merlot (18%) and Cabernet Franc (5%), the ‘Sestina’ needs at least a one hour decant prior to being aromatically expressive. Once aroused, this beautiful wine shows cassis, leather, anise and shades of black currant cordial on this beautiful nose. The palate has a soft mouthfeel and wonderfully plush texture, giving off an err of decadence. Mocha, tar, graphite and creme de cassis flavors, with sagebrush accents all collide on the palate. While truly delicious in its youth, give this one to two more years of bottle age before enjoying. Drink 2020-2040- 95
2016 Avennia ‘Champoux Vineyard’ Cabernet Franc- The 2016 ‘Champoux Vineyard’ Cabernet Franc is a limited production bottling by Avennia. Needing a one hour decant to fully evolve aromatically, the wine slowly settles into aromatics reminiscent of Asian spices with blackberry compote, and shades of tar with blueberry pie. The palate is silky smooth, delivering a wonderfully plush mouthfeel. Black tea, licorice and blue fruit flavors with hints of violets all evolve well in the glass. This is seriously good in its youth but will provide drinking enjoyment over the next fifteen to twenty years. Drink 2020-2040- 95