Posted on 30 May 2013.
By Duane Pemberton
Winery website: http://www.avennia.com
Avennia Winery is a relative new-comer to the Washington wine scene and specializes in what I feel is one of Washington’s strong-points and that is red blends. It does make a Sauvignon Blanc and straigh Syrah as well but those are for a different review.
- Appellation: Columbia Valley
- Blend: 54% Cabernet Sauvignon
- 40% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc
- Vineyards: 31% Red Willow Cab, planted 1985
- 24% Bacchus Cab, planted 1972
- 24% Red Willow Merlot, planted 1985
- 15% Klipsun Merlot, planted 2000
- 6% Bacchus Cab Franc, planted 1998
- Ageing: 50% new French oak for 20 months
- Cases: 350
- Retail: $35
- Release: February 2013
On the nose: Violet, bing cherries, raspberry, black licorice, black currant, allspice, old leather glove, dark cocoa and peppercorns.
On the palate: Good complexity of flavors mentioned on the nose but I’m also getting a bit of nice tartness, sort of reminds me of a little rhubarb action and I appreciate that quite a bit. Good acids and tannin structure should help this wine lay down for 8-12 years and go well with beef, blackened salmon, bison or an herb-crusted lamb-chop.
W.E.P. Rating: 95%
Posted in Reviews, Washington Wines
Posted on 10 February 2009.
Washington State has made its mark among wine drinkers all over the world with its Bordeaux varieties and out of those, Merlot is standing strong. In this 3-way round-up, I take bottles from three leading producers out of Walla Walla and see how they stack up. Each bottle retails for near the $50 dollar mark so this should prove to be rather interesting. We have producers up here in this state which are committed to making some of the best wines anywhere at any price – with all grape varieties – three of which are: PepperBridge, Northstar and Long Shadows Vintners.
2005 Northstar Walla Walla Merlot: W.E.P. Score: 80%
- Total Acidity 0.58/100 ml
- pH 3.73
- Alcohol 14.4%
- Blend 80% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot
- The barrel regime included 80% French and 20% American oak, with 80% new barrels. The final blend consists of fruit from 8 distinct vineyard blocks.
- Price: $50.00
Nose; Blackberries, currant, piecrust, tobacco, dark chocolate and pepper. Hints of charred bell pepper skin on the nose as well as leather glove. Sweaty arm-pit.
Taste: Big-time blackberry, black cherry and cola along with big doses of black pepper and some chunks of leather – pretty good mouth-feel on this wine, however the finish is too short for a wine of its price-tag.
2005 Pedestal Merlot: W.E.P. Score: 100%
- Alcohol: 14.7%
- pH: 3.83
- TA: 0.51 grams / 100ml
- Blend: 86% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec
- Release date: February 2009
- Production: 1,877 cases
- Price: $50
Nose: Blackberry-soaked road-kill with black and white pepper coated over it- I also get blueberries, plum, gym-sock, baseball mit, black cherries and allspice.
Taste: Excellent layering of flavors going on in this wine – the blueberry component is shining through as is the plum and spice. Big amounts of dark chocolate as well. I find the oak to be very well balanced with the almost obnoxious fruit coming through. Great tannin structure – this wine will easily lay down for the next 10-15 years and tastes great now as well. This is by far one of the most elegant Merlot’s I’ve ever had anywhere and at any price.
2005 PepperBridge Merlot: W.E.P. Score: 80%
- Varietal: 86% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec
- Vineyard: 56% Pepper Bridge Vineyard, 44% Seven Hills Vineyard
- Appellation: 100% Walla Walla Valley
- Oak Program: 100% French oak, 54% new oak, 46% used oak
- Time in Barrels: 18 months
- Harvest Date: September 19 through October 6, 2005
- Brix at Harvest: 25.3
- Total Acidity: 0.55 g/ml
- pH: 3.72
- Finished Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
- Total Production: 1,351 (9-liter cases) and 30 cases of magnums
- Bottling Date: April 13, 2007
- Release Date: December 1, 2007
- Price: $50.00
Nose: Heavy pepper and blackberries, blueberry, hints of tar and tobacco. I also get hints of some “Greenness” – a bit vegetal – sort of like charred bell pepper. A good, elegant nose which shows off lots of new world fruit with some of that old-school veggie action.
Taste: Layers of black fruit arise from hints of burnt ash, cedar box, tar and some tobacco. Toss in a hints of leather glove and stinky arm-pit. This wine had great potential to wow me, however, it just falls a bit too flat on the back-end of the palate.
*How we review wines
Posted in Merlot, Reviews, Washington Wines
Posted on 28 July 2008.
Charlie Hoppes’ m100 wine is one he dedicates to his grandmother – who turned the ripe age of 100 back in 2005 - it’s clear to me that he takes much of that passion he has for family and puts it in this bottle. The $15-$20 price range is really the sweet-spot for wineries as it’s far easier to get the mainstream of wine drinkers shelling out that kind of price for a quality wine than it is to roll everything out at $50+.
I’ve been following the m100 series since they rolled out a couple of years ago and have generally liked what I’ve had – especially when you consider its quality-to-price-ratio.
This wine is a blend of bordeaux grapes and even uses some Petite Verdot to help round things out a bit – I’m a fan of that grape and would love to it used more.
- Vineyards: Wahluke Vineyard, Milbrandt-Katherine Leone Vineyard, Dwelley Vineyard, Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Weinbau Vineyard, Conner-Lee Vineyard, Snipes Canyon Vineyard and Gamache Vineyard
- Fermentation and Aging: All the fruit for the m100 Red Wine was hand picked and sorted in the vineyard. Upon arrival at the winery, the fruit was destemmed and crushed directly to a small fermentation tank where the wines were punched down three times daily. Primary fermentation was seven days in length. Upon completion of fermentation, the wines were gently pressed off and were put into barrels immediately. Once fermentation was complete in barrel, the wine was put through malolactic fermentation immediately. While aging in oak barrels, the wines were racked every four months to naturally clarify the wine.
- Varietal Composition: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot
- Alcohol: 14.4%
- Production: 2000 cases
- Release Date: March 2008
- Price: $18
Nose: heavy plums, blackberry, cedar notes and hints of radish, oak, black pepper and bell pepper.
Taste: Like a river of black fruits – black plums, black cherry and black raspberry toss in hints of cedar box, tobacco and dark chocolate, polmagranate and that’s what you’ve got here. Nice finish but a bit on the hot side.
Overall Summary and W.E.P.:
For $18, this wine rings right up there with other wines we’ve had such as the Saviah Jack and Chateau Lagarosse – it’s a solid effort that has good fruit foward, some nice oak and an overall mouthfeel which I like. It’s not a perfect bottle by any stretch but one we feel does an adquate job of delivering value for the money. If you see this wine in a store, you should really check it out – it also makes a great wine for folks to get a sample-on-the-cheap of what a good blend of Washington grapes can do.
W.E.P. Scale Rating: 90% – it’d get a perfect 100 if the finish wasn’t a bit on the hot side.
Posted in Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Reviews, Washington Wines