Saviah Cellars 2006 “Jack”

This is a wine that has gained quite a bit of popularity – especially in the restaurant scene – and for good reasons. It’s made by Richard Funk, owner/winemaker of Saviah Cellars – vintner renown for producing top-quality wines at competitive prices.

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Saviah has a strong reputation for its blended wines, the Big Sky Cuvee and its Une Velee – both ring in around $40-$50 – and have traditionally delivered a huge wine experience with tons of fruit and long finishes.

It’s under that umbrella of winemaking past, that Richard brings his “funk” to his “Jack” – a wine which is allowing Saviah to get a solid-performing wine in the sub-$15 dollar price bracket and that’s huge for such a small, quality winery.

This is a blended wine which is mainly Merlot-based and made up of the following composition:
88% Merlot – McClellan Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley, Milbrandt
Vineyard, Preston Vineyard, Columbia Valley
6% Cabernet Sauvignon – McClellan Estate, Walla Walla Valley
4% Cabernet Franc – McClellan Estate, Walla Walla Valley
2% Syrah – Lewis Vineyard, Yakima Valley
13.6% Alcohol – tastes more like 14%

Color: Deep purples here with decent “legs” and definitely point to the heavy Merlot-base of this wine.

Smell: First off – this wine will not appeal to old-world wine fans – it’s a huge fruit-bomb which presents a massive attack of intensely dark fruits like plums, blackberries and dark cherries. There is a deep chocolate component going on in the nose and I’m digging that being the chocolate lover I am. I also pick up an ever-so-slight hint of that hot tar smell – you know, the kind you smell as you pass by an asphalt machine laying it down, nice and hot. Other smells I pick up are clove and a hint of white pepper.

Taste: As expected from the smell – the taste is very fruit forward – it’s akin to a waterfall dumping tons of huge dark fruit on your tongue. I liken this wine to a blackberry pie growing up with homemade crust – toss in some white pepper. There’s quite a bit going on here as the wine is great on the front and mid palate with a slight linger on the backend. I do get a bit of heat on the very backend as it goes down the throat which is a bit surprising to me considering its relatively low alcohol point.

The older American Oak is on point here – with a slight touch of oakiness but it’s very much playing 3rd or 4th fiddle as it’s not obtrusive whatsoever to the fruit and I like that a lot.

Mouth-Feel: Leans towards the silky part mixed with a bit of jaminess and a slight kick from the white pepperness of the wine.

Final Analysis: I like this wine and think for $15 bux it’s one worth seeking out – it’s a fun wine that presents itself rather well for the price range and would be a great gateway wine for introducing folks to what’s going on here in Washington State. I wouldn’t buy a case; however, it’s one you should have at least 2-3 bottles of – just to have on hand.

Again, this is my opinion – you should really try this wine for yourself and as always – embrace your own palate.

Food: Would go well with the following foods:
– Peppercorn-crusted New York
– Rack of Lamb with a rosemary/mint glaze
– Heavily herbed red-sauces and pasta
– Veal

W.E.P. Scale Rating: 120%