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Wine from Washington (Walla Walla)

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Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2015

Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley is made from 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot.


Aged for 20 months in 100% French, medium toast; 60% new, 40% one & two year old
The nose leads off with plum, bright blackberry, and dark bing cherries. A touch of dried blueberry rounds out the fruit profile. Floral notes and cocoa, with nuances of cedar and spice, are sprinkled throughout. All of these characters follow through on the palate and, with a pleasant minerality and continuity, weave a tapestry of complexity and youthful exuberance. 

 


Review:


(50% new oak; bottled in August of 2017): Dark, bright medium ruby. Classic varietal aromas of cassis, black cherry, violet and licorice are accented by notes of crushed rock and orange zest. Juicy but still tightly wound; perhaps a bit oakier than it should be and thus the flavors of dark berries, spices and orange zest are showing a touch of leanness today. Finishes with a serious dusting of tannins and very good length. Today this wine is not showing the fleshy character of the 2014 but it appears to possess the balance to reward patience.

-- Stephen Tanzer 91+ Points

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 91
Abeja Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2016

Complex and compelling, this estate-grown Syrah sends up smoky notes of cured meat, nougat and caramel. Black cherry fruit anchors the barrel notes, and it just gets more and more delicious as it winds its way across the palate. This demonstrates classy winemaking and perfect balance.

The fruit for this wine is grown at an elevation of 1310 feet on the grounds of the Winery. The higher elevation and the proximity to the Blue Mountains, gives this vineyard a longer, cooler ripening season than most other areas of the Walla Walla Appellation. The cooler site results in a style much like that of a classic Northern Rhone with complexity and balance without the concentration and higher alcohol levels of Syrah produced in warmer areas.

 


Review:

"(from the estate's Mill Creek Upland vineyard): Bright full ruby. Lively butt but subdued scents of cassis, blackberry, minerals, brown spices, violet and licorice; showing a distinctly dark side of Syrah. Intensely flavored, firm and juicy; not a particularly fleshy or pliant style but offers lovely inner-mouth violet lift and a dense weave to the flavors of dark berries and minerals. This serious Syrah boasts a firm spine of acids and tannins and finishes with sneaky persistence. Dry, laid-back and rather classic wine, in need of time in bottle to expand and gain in complexity. (14.7% alcohol) - Stephen Tanzer"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (November 2018), 92 pts

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 92
Avennia Sestina Red Blend 2013

Avennia Sestina Red Blend is made from 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc

The Sestina is a poetic form from Medieval France. Just as a contemporary poet can use an old form like the Sestina to express modern ideas, we use the traditional Bordeaux blend to make modern wines that express Washington fruit. Sestina is our vision for an old vine blend where the focus is on structure, balance, and complexity. This wine is designed for the cellar, but is enjoyable now.

Sestina: This wine is a blockbuster, with black currant, black raspberry, saddle leather, freshly tilled earth, vanilla, and violet on the nose. Exceedingly rich and balanced on the palate, with great poise and structure for long aging. The finish echoes with fresh black fruits, minerally touches, and floral notes.


"Bright medium ruby. Aromas of black cherry, mocha and licorice pastille. Attractive, tactile and sweet, with notes of chocolate and mocha but less fruit concentration than the 2012. Finishes with serious ripe tannins and lovely length. - Stephen Tanzer"
- Vinous (November 2015), 92 pts

"The most structured and backward of Chris's 2013s, the Cabernet Sauvignon dominated 2013 Sestina offers lots of minerality and crushed rock nuances to go with notes of wood smoke, lead pencil shavings, spice and crisp black fruits. It has a great mid-palate and good texture, but patience will be required. Give it 5-6 years and it should impress over the following decade or more.."
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #219, June 2015), 92-94+ pts

"More brains than brawn, the focus on this understated Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant blend is on old vines, with fruit coming mostly from early '70s and '80s Dionysus, Bacchus and Red Willow vineyard plantings. The earth, black cherry, peppercorn, currant and dried herb aromas start out tightly coiled. The flavors have laser-focused purity and a compelling sense of balance, with plenty of subtleties. It's all about nuance."

- Wine Enthusiast (July 2016), 93 pts

 

"Head winemaker, Chris Peterson, has crafted another stunner with this new 'Sestina' bottling. This wine is a blend of 73% Cabernet, 18% Merlot and 9% Cab Franc. The wine opens with gorgeous aromas of black cherry, black olive, blackberry preserves and dark chocolate. There is a real Bordelaise feel to this wine. The wine has flavors of crushed wild flowers, Turkish coffee, black olive, blackberry preserves, graphite, and an exceedingly long finish. There is a wonderful range of flavors and aromatics at play to this exceptional bottling. Try to wait at least another year before consuming. (Best 2017-2030).- OB"

- International Wine Report (October 2016), 94 pts

 Vinous Antonio Galloni: 92 Wine Advocate: 94 Wine Enthusiast: 93 94 Points
Avennia Sestina Red Blend 2015

Avennia Sestina Red Blend is made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc

The Sestina is a poetic form from Medieval France. Just as a contemporary poet can use an old form like the Sestina to express modern ideas, we use the traditional Bordeaux blend to make modern wines that express Washington fruit. Sestina is our vision for an old vine blend where the focus is on structure, balance, and complexity. This wine is designed for the cellar, but is enjoyable now.

Sestina: This wine is a blockbuster, with black currant, black raspberry, saddle leather, freshly tilled earth, vanilla, and violet on the nose. Exceedingly rich and balanced on the palate, with great poise and structure for long aging. The finish echoes with fresh black fruits, minerally touches, and floral notes.

Review:

"The 2015 Sestina is showing very well, offering up a rich, more exuberant bouquet than the 2014 rendition. This emphasizes notes of cassis, black plums, dark chocolate, espresso roast and a subtle framing of new oak. On the palate, it's full-bodied and lavish but controlled, with an ample, more sun-kissed core of fruit and fine-grained structuring tannins. Like the 2014, it's a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. While the 2014 and 2015 are quite different in style, it's hard to choose between them qualitatively. While it needs a few years in the cellar, I suspect the 2015 will hit its peak sooner. - William Kelley"
- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (Issue 237, June 29th 2018), 96 pts

Number #93 On Top 100 Cellar Selections From Wine Enthusiast 

"The flagship 2015 Sestina checks in as 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new French oak. Gorgeous notes of blackcurrants, black cherries, graphite, wet river rock, and leafy herbs all emerge from this beautifully balanced, fresh, classic wine that's still tight and backward. It's not a blockbuster but has building richness and tannin, as well as a great finish. Give bottles 2-3 years and enjoy over the following 10-15."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2018), 95+ pts

 Wine Advocate: 96 95 Points
Betz Family Domaine de Pierres Syrah 2016

With our long history of making single site syrah's in Washington, it made sense for us to venture into the Rocks District of Milton Freewater in the Walla Walla Valley to bring you our newest syrah, "Domaine de Pierres."

The Rocks AVA produces syrah that shows a distinct character, separating it from any other site in Washington State. One thing in particular that has drawn people here is the gallet stones present throughout the valley. They are very similar to the pudding stones that are found in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and can be anywhere from golf ball size, to softball size or larger. Since we purchased the vineyard in 2014 we have been tilling the earth multiple times every season to expose these rocks. The gallet stones act like a heat sink, giving a little extra push to help ripen syrah in an area with marginal heat accumulation. 

In the glass, Domaine de Pierres stands out from our other syrah's because of its incredibly savory profile. Notes of roasted meat, fresh herbs, olive tapenade, tobacco and graphite are supported by dark fruit, espresso, and lavendar. The wine has a lower acidity and higher PH than our other wines, which contributes to a velvety, full bodied mouthfeel. Even in the cellar, we immediately noticed a difference in the color, aromatics and flavor that these syrah grapes were able to express. 

The other big reason that we are so excited about the wine from this particular AVA, is that the history of the Rocks is happening right now! Our vineyard, “Ancient Stones,” has only been planted there since 2007, and the beginning of the Rocks as a wine growing region only really started in the 1990's. There is a lot of energy and exploration going on, and it has been a fun experience for our team to be a part of it.  We still have so much to learn about this region and it is very exciting to feel like we are on the upward swing!

Review:

"This has strident peppery notes with a layer of sappy whole-cluster fragrances and complexity as well as fresh charcuterie meats, smoky notes and graphite. Red plums and blackberries lurk beneath. The palate has deep chocolate and cherry fruits. Very suave, supple tannins carry dark plums, dark chocolate and energetic freshness to the finish. Give this 2-3 years to integrate."
- James Suckling (2018), 95 pts

 95 Points
Va Piano Portteus Syrah 2012

Sometimes, the best things come from tough experiences. Our Black Label Reserve Portteus Syrah embodies this ideal. In one of the tougher growing seasons in recent memory, I was not sure what would come of the vintage. Within 6 months after harvest, I knew I had something special with this wine. Month after month, it evolved highlighting what these almost 20 year old Syrah vines could produce. The color is an incredibly deep and glass coating purple, the nose erupts with aromas of bacon fat and a subtle bouquet of wisteria \. lilac. Viscous and dense, you will get mouth-filling notes of swiss chocolate and white pepper. Sit back and savor each velvety sip with a coffee-cocoa spiced rack of lamb and chocolate cheesecake. Decant for at least an hour to release its aromatics and enjoy this Syrah easily through the next decade.


Review:

Another stunning effort is the 2012 Portteus Vineyard, which is located in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA. Exhibiting layers of smoked plums, liquid smoke and serious minerality, this full-bodied, layered and rich Syrah has notable underlying structure and tannin, with a firm, compact and focused feel. Fermented with 33% whole cluster and aged 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels, it comes from the second oldest Syrah vines planted in the state. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2025. This Walla Walla estate is owned and run by Justin Wylie. He excelled with his 2011 and 2012s. -Wine Advocate Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points

 Wine Advocate: 93

 
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Alain Jaume Ventoux Les Gelinottes 2018

Alain Jaume Ventoux Les Gelinottes is made from 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah

The colour is intense, purple-tinged garnet. The aromatic range of the nose goes from fresh berries to black fruit (blackcurrant, blackberry). The palate is full-flavoured, with very soft tannins and aromas of the fruit already mentioned. This is a gorgeous style of wine, fruity driven, for every day drinking...anytime !

Soil types
The wine is produced from hilly vineyards that are mainly planted on sandy and clay soils. They are located on the East side of the Rhone valley, in the Vaucluse area. Welcome to the foothills of the well known “Mont Ventoux” Mountain.

Winemaking and aging
Stainless steel fermentaion at cool temperature to preserve the fruits and typicity. Bottling 8 months after the harvest.

Goes well with quite a lot of food such as Pizza, Pasta, hamburger, mild cheese or even on its own.