Taste Washington, Review #5 – Avennia and Baer Winery

One of the fun things about Taste Washington is making new discoveries.  This was the first time that I had heard of or tasted anything from the Avennia Winery, but I can tell you it won’t be the last.  Judging from the size of the crowd tasting at Avennia, we weren’t the only ones who were impressed by their wines.  Avennia maybe a relatively new winery on the block in Washington, but they are making some really nice wines.  These are exciting, well-made wines to try – definitely worth looking for.

Newcomer Avennia wowed the crowd.
Newcomer Avennia wowed the crowd.

2011 Avennia – Gravura  (Left bank Bordeaux blend: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc) – Very dark and spicy fruit on the nose.  In the mouth, blackberries, black currant, dark plum and some baking spices.  This wine is smooth in the mouth and has some very nice juicy acidity, keeping everything alive on the nice long sweet dark fruit finish, where the very fine tannins kick in.  This wine is has the balance and tannin to age well, but it is drinking really well right now and it would be hard to keep from opening it.  Beautiful wine!  (92 pts.)

2011 Avennia – Justine  (Southern Rhone blend: 46% Granache, 30% Mourvedra, 24% Syrah) – Rich dark fruit and dark chocolate nose, with a little bit of spice.  In the mouth, beautiful dark blackberries, dark plums, baking spices and a savory cured meat flavor.  The wine has a good balance of sweetness, acidity and tannin.  This wine has a very nice long savory/sweet dark fruit finish and is very much in a Chateauneuf du Pape style.  I will definitely have to try some more of this in the future.  A wine to look for, Bravo!  (93 pts.)

2011 Avennia – Arnaut  (100% Boushey vineyard Syrah) – Sweet dark blackberry fruit and some spice on the nose.  In the mouth, rich dark blackberries, black cherries and some spices.  This wine has good acidity and a lot of very fine tannins kicking in on the long sweet dark fruit filled finish.   This wine will age very well, but I would give it another year or two for the tannins to soften a little bit.  This is a beautiful wine and will be drinking really well in 2-5 years.  (91+ pts.)

I have been a fan of Baer wines since the 2003 vintage, and I have had their Ursa wine, which is a right bank Bordeaux blend, more than any of their others.  In fact, I just finished off my last bottle of the 2003 Ursa, which was drinking beautifully, with still life ahead of it.  Baer is another solid Washington player – it’s a great go-to wine for nice dinners when you want to drink well without breaking the bank.

Baer is a long-time favorite.
Baer is a long-time favorite.

2010 Baer Winery – Arctos  (Left Bank Bordeaux blend – 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Petit Verdot) – Very dark black fruit with a little spice on the nose.  In the mouth, cool blackberries and black currants combine with some spices and a little dark chocolate.  This wine has some good acidity and very fine grained tannins.  The tannins really kick in on the long dark fruit filled finish.  This wine will age very well, but it is drinking really well right now.  (92 pts.)

Again, we weren’t the only fans of Baer in the crowd – they were jumping to keep up with demand.  It’s great to see a winery like Baer continue to thrive – it’s well-deserved!

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