We are huge Saviah Cellars fans. To us, Saviah has it all – magnificent wine, a great location and friendly, knowledgeable people who know how to take care of you. And let’s not forget layers and layers of funk – the wine is funky, and then there’s Funk Vineyard. And last but not least, the talented winemaker, Richard Funk, who crafts outstanding wines, year after year. We visited Saviah’s tasting room in April. And of course, we brought home a few bottles. Our cellar contains more Saviah wines than any other brand. Read on for details.
We have been Saviah Cellars fans for almost two decades, not long after the winery launched in 2000 with a goal to showcase varietal characteristics that reflect the unique soils and climate of the area. The winery’s first commercial vintage released just 300 cases. Today, Saviah Cellars produces 28,000 cases annually.
Saviah Cellars Tasting Room
During our visit, we counted almost three dozen Saviah Cellars wines in the tasting room. And, as promised, we “tasted the terroir.” According to Richard Funk, “Winemaking is an exercise in delayed gratification, bound by intuition and patience.” Richard and his wife Anita had to cancel plans to visit with us at the winery, unfortunately. But we really enjoyed spending time with their son Jared, whom I first met on Instagram. Jared is a viticulturist who is not only insightful but also a lot of fun and a wonderful guide to our adventure in Saviah’s tasting room.
Saviah Cellars Wines
Saviah divides their wines into four collections: Classic, Estate, Reserve and The Jack. Back in the early 2000s, our first experience began with The Jack. But we are also long-time Saviah Cellars fans of the Estate Collection, which includes the very special The Funk Estate Syrah and The Stones Speak Syrah, which is sensational. In addition, we appreciate many wines in the Classic and Reserve labels. Did I mention we are big fans?
During our April visit, we tasted these three beautiful wines, and the ones highlighted below.
- 2020 Star Meadows White, a pretty blend of 85% Sauv Blanc and 15% Viognier ($25)
- 2020 Rosé, a gorgeous blend of 60% Sangiovese and 40% Barbera ($22)
- 2017 Tempranillo, a funky red from The Rocks District ($38)
Saviah Cellars 2018 The Funk Estate Syrah ($65)
Thank you, Richard Funk, for this impressive wine. We first tasted the 2013 vintage (pictured), another indication of how we are Saviah Cellars fans. We simply love this full-bodied, intense Syrah. This wine rocks! Pardon the pun, since it’s sourced from The Funk Estate Vineyard in The Rocks District – mostly basalt pebbles, cobbles and boulders washed in from the Blue Mountains. The 2018 is funky, briny and savory with notes of black olives, orange zest, wet stone, smoked meat and dark fruit. We placed this beauty in the cellar next to two bottles of the 2017 vintage. Of note, sign up for Saviah Cellars’ email list to purchase this wine. The list is currently full, but the winery will contact you when space is available.
2018 The Stones Speak Syrah ($55)
This Syrah doesn’t just speak, it sings. From Saviah Cellars’ estate vineyard, The Stones Speak features all the smoky, briny and savory notes associated with a pure expression of Syrah from The Rocks District. And you won’t find many Rocks Syrahs for less than $60. Aromatics of dark plums, funk, blackberries, black olives, charcuterie and rain-soaked cobblestones lead into flavors of smoked meats, red and black fruit, and grilled mushrooms. This amazing wine is textured, complex and silky.
2017 Hunt & Gather Red Wine ($55)
Our first taste of Hunt & Gather wowed us. What an incredible red blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon from McClellan Vineyard and 40% Syrah from Funk Estate Vineyard. Combine the funky, earthy notes from the Syrah with the blackberry, licorice and cocoa flavors of the Cab Sauvignon. The result – pure deliciousness. We are so glad we bought some to take home, because this vintage is now sold out. But keep your eye out for the Fall 2021 new release. You don’t want to miss it.
2017 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon ($45)
We are not surprised that this Reserve Cab also sold out. The new release is next spring, so mark your calendars now. Again, we are happy we brought this stellar wine home. Farmed using LIVE and Salmon Safe certified sustainable viticultural practices, the 2017 is a wonderful example of a rich Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon. The flavors mirror the nose: anise, black fruits, smoked meat, caramel and coffee. Richard Funk considers his Reserve label to represent “the cream of the crop.”
2018 Barbera ($30)
You won’t see this Italian grape often in the Walla Walla Valley, or anywhere in Washington state. Saviah planted Barbera in 2010 at Dugger Creek Vineyard. And we’re glad they did. Aromas of cherry and strawberry lead into flavors of more cherries, raspberries, umami and other savory notes. Saviah recommends opening this wine as an apéritif or pairing it with rich dishes such as ribeye steaks, braised shank, cassoulet, bolognese, or mushroom risotto.
Several bottles of 2017 Barbera ($30) and 2016 Cabernet Franc ($30) also grace our cellar. We took a bottle of the 2017 Barbera to an Italian restaurant, and shared it with another couple. It paired well with the flavorful dishes ordered by all four of us. Meanwhile, we drank the Cab Franc solo on the deck, and we also paired it with roast on another evening. We liked it so much, we opened yet another bottle the next night.
In conclusion, we raise a glass to Saviah Cellars and Richard Funk, one of our favorite Washington state winemakers. We always recommend Saviah Cellars. And we know we will continue to do so, vintage after vintage.
Previous stories about Saviah Cellars:
- Saviah Cellars Stellar Wines
- Favorite 50 Wines in 2020
- Holiday Wine 2020
- Thanksgiving Wines 2020
- Saviah Cellars Syrah
Margot and Dave