Avennia Red Mountain

Avennia Red Mountain tasting lineupSuperb winemaker Chris Peterson’s style remains consistent over the years, as we witnessed during our first time at Avennia Red Mountain estate winery last month. And we go back more than a decade. In 2012, we stopped by Avennia, then one of Woodinville’s newest wineries, and became immediate fans of Chris and managing partner Marty Taucher. At the time, we wrote that Avennia wines were “classiccomplex, balanced, structured, true to varietal, and a showcase of the beauty of Washington grapes.” They still are. Read on for details of our visit and the wines we tasted.

Avennia Red Mountain

Avennia Red Mountain Tasting Room Outside Avennia TRVines





Avennia Red Mountain opened one year ago at the former Tapteil vineyard, tasting room and guesthouse. The property, and the views, are gorgeous. Famed WA grower Dick Boushey manages the vineyard, which was planted in 1984. Of note, the vineyard hosts the oldest plantings of Cabernet Franc on Red Mountain. As well, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the dominant plantings. Subsequently, the Avennia team planted an additional three acres of Cab, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc on leased property across the street.

Eli Traverse, Estate ManagerEstate Manager Eli Traverse was our excellent and knowledgeable host during our time at Avennia Red Mountain. Eli shared captivating stories of his six years with the winery, and poured an impressive lineup of Chris Peterson’s wines – including Rose’, Sauv Blanc, Syrah, Bordeaux-style blends and Rhône-style blends. He also told us Avennia bottled an estate Cab Franc and an estate red, to be released in 2024. Their first estate wine, Cab Sauv, quickly sold out this year.

Avennia Wine

As mentioned, Chris’ wine style remains consistent over the years. The label on Avennia 100% Boushey Vineyard Syrah reveals the reason: “One single swath of earth, telling its unique story. We just listened, and passed it on.”

During our visit, we tasted nine wines: a rosé, two whites and six reds.

Avennia Rosé and Whites

Rose and White Wines2022 L’Egerie Rosé ($30) is a dry Provence-style blend of 78% Grenache and 22% Mourvèdre. Think strawberries, watermelon, citrus, herbs and mineral notes. Chris calls it his most compelling L’Egerie so far. L’Égérie is French for “Muse.”

2021 Oliane Sauvignon Blanc ($30) remains a favorite since we opened the 2011 vintage. We tasted lots of citrus and stone fruit, laced with minerality, in this rich, complex 100% Sauv Blanc. In Chris’ words, “this quite concentrated, yet light-on-its-feet wine, is singing right now, but should be very interesting to watch age for the next 7-10 years.”

2021 La Perle ($40) blends 70% Roussanne and 30% Marsanne, mainly from the popular WeatherEye vineyard. Eli said that Chris used neutral oak and concrete, with extended lees aging. This adds texture and creaminess. As a result, this pretty white is an excellent apéritif.

Avennia Reds

Avennia Reds2020 Justine GSM ($40) is a Rhône-style blend of 60% Grenache, 23% Mourvèdre and 17% Syrah. The nose is enticing, followed by notes of raspberries, cherries, spices and clay. Drinkable now, it can age for 10 years or more.

2020 Arnaut Syrah,($60) is one of the first Avennia wines. This is gorgeous 100% Syrah from two blocks of renowned Boushey Vineyard. One block produces bright red fruit, more acidity, and notes of cinnamon, oranges and spices. The other block brings savory dark fruits with meaty flavors from older vines.

2020 Gravura ($40) is a Bordeaux-style blend that Chris has been crafting since day one. We love this wine, which comprises 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc. We found dark fruits, black licorice, chocolate and savory herbs, wrapped in complexity and balance.

2020 Valery ($50) is one of our new favorites, with 88% Merlot and 12% Cab Franc. This is not a big-boy Merlot. Instead it is classic and elegant. Aromas of black raspberries, espresso, blackberries and dark chocolate echo on the palate. This is the beauty we brought home.

2020 Sestina ($75) is a traditional Bordeaux-style blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc. This silky wine is drinkable now. But its structure, balance and complexity mean it is built for aging. Aromas of plums, blueberries, cherries, mocha, anise and dark chocolate mirror the palate.

Avennia Special RedEli also poured us the powerhouse 2018 Red Willow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($95). This the last vintage from 1985 vines, so it’s special. Chris describes it as a “blockbuster.” We agree. It shows brooding aromas and rich flavors of black cherries, black raspberries, plums, cocoa and minerality. But the intense flavors will evolve even further over the next 5-20 years. Your patience will be worth it.

Summary: Avennia Red Mountain

In conclusion, Avennia Red Mountain is a must-stop when you visit the AVA. As well as the impressive wines, the friendly staff and beautiful views are captivating. A vast array of Avennia wines, in addition to their high-end Liminal and second-label Lydian, grace our cellar.

Credit for the wine photos goes to our friend Chuck Kinzer, a professional photographer.

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Margot and Dave