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Wine from Washington (Walla Walla)

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Wine from Washington (Walla Walla)

The Walla Walla Valley region is considerably a remote region of Washington State. Nevertheless, it is popular for its large wineries and exceptional grape and wine production.

Situated within the Columbia Valley region, Walla Walla Valley has at least 1,600 acres of vineyards and 120 wineries. The region has rich history with volcanic and earthquake events that play a huge part on the exceptional growth of grapes. The combination of lava flows and floods that plagued Walla Walla Valley over the years lead to creation of soils rich in mineral deposits, water pot holes and sediments that enable various grapes to thrive.

Grapes did not begin in Walla Walla Valley until the 1850s when immigrants first settled in the region. Thereafter, grape growing has become a prominent aspect of the region. Cabernet Sauvignon is widely planted in Walla Walla Valley. Merlot, Syrah and Chardonnay come in secondary to Cabernet Sauvignon. They are followed by more grape varietals, such as Sangiovese, Grenache, Tempranillo, Pinot Gris and Viognier among many more.

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Abeja Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2016

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. 

 


"Offers finesse and structure with elegantly expressive blackberry, basil and black olive flavors that build richness towards polished tannins. Drink now through 2028. - TF"
- Wine Spectator (October 2019), 94 pts

 Wine Spectator: 94
Abeja Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2018

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

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
Avennia Sestina Red Blend 2016

Avennia Sestina Red Blend is made from 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 5% 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 2016 Sestina checks in as 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc that saw 21 months in 48% new French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It shows the purity and elegance of the vintage beautifully and offers classic Cabernet notes of crème de cassis, lead pencil, crushed rocks, and tobacco leaf. With beautiful balance and that more elegant, finesse-driven style of the estate, it packs plenty of fruit and is a seamless wine that will benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and keep for 15-20 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (The 2016s From Washington State, April 11th 2019), 95+ pts
#52 in the TOP100 Red Wines of 2019

 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
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