When we think of Saviah Cellars wine, we first think of Syrah. The next words that come to mind are Funk In The Rocks District. That’s because talented winemaker Richard Funk makes earthy, savory, funky Syrahs. Yes, his name is Richard Funk and he owns The Funk Vineyard. And he is one of our favorite Washington state winemakers.
From the special wine, The Funk, to The Stones Speak, to the every-day wine, The Jack, these wines rock. Yes, pun intended. But we recently discovered we adore Saviah Cellars Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon too.
Firstly, Saviah Cellars launched in 2000 with a goal to showcase varietal characteristics that reflect the unique soils and climate of the Walla Walla and Columbia Valleys. The winery’s first commercial vintage was just 300 cases. Today, Saviah Cellars produces approximately 28,000 cases annually.
Secondly, Wine & Spirits Magazine named Saviah Cellars “One of the Top 100 Wineries” in 2009. The following year, Wine Spectator called the winery “One of the Rising Stars in Washington.” The rest, as they say, is history.
Saviah Cellars wines are divided into four labels: the Classic Collection, Estate Collection, Reserve Collection and The Jack. Our first experience with Saviah Cellars began with The Jack. As mentioned, we recently opened Saviah Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, both of the Classic Collection. But we have been long-time fans of the Estate Collection, which includes The Funk Estate Syrah and The Stones Speak.
Saviah Cellars 2017 The Funk Estate Syrah ($65)
The Funk Estate Vineyard is located in The Rocks District — mostly basalt pebbles, cobbles and boulders washed from the Blue Mountains. We simply love this full-bodied, intense Syrah. This is a rock star wine! It is funky, briny and savory with notes of herbs, olives, coffee, earth, smoked meat and dark fruit. Perfect for a special occasion, the only bad news is that The Funk sells out quickly. Due to extremely limited quantities, you have to be on Saviah Cellars’ email list to purchase this wine, and the list is currently full. But if you sign up, the winery will contact you when space is available. We were lucky to find a small allocation through online retailer, Full Pull Wines. Right now, we have the gorgeous 2016 and 2017 vintages in our cellar.
Saviah Cellars 2017 The Stones Speak Syrah ($55)
We find this Syrah almost as wonderful as The Funk. 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. We have the 2014 vintage, with aromatics of earth, funk, black olives, bacon fat and rain-soaked cobblestones, leading into a delicious combination of flavors of smoked meats, grilled mushrooms, coffee, spices and red and black fruit. This beauty is textured, savory and yet somehow silky at the same time. Notably, you won’t find many excellent Rocks District Syrahs that cost less than $60.
Saviah Cellars 2018 Syrah, Walla Walla ($32)
The 2018 growing conditions in the Walla Walla Valley were superb for Syrah. The lovely wine opens with aromas of pepper and smoked meats, followed by flavors of dark fruits and spices. The previous vintage won gold and best of class in the Great Northwest Wine competition. Meanwhile, throughout this year, we have been opening bottles of the 2015 in our cellar. This vintage features blueberry and blackberry flavors, orange peel, spice, herbs and that distinctive Rocks Funk. Bring it!
Saviah Cellars 2016 Cabernet Franc ($30)
This is 100% Cabernet Franc. We placed an order for several bottles to support our local wine industry during these tough times. And we absolutely loved it. Therefore, we placed a second order! Three vineyards — Watermill in The Rocks District, Dugger Creek and Summit View — produced the grapes. As a result, aromatics include black and red fruit, spices and pencil shavings. Flavors of rich berries, herbs, cassis and milk chocolate follow. The result is a polished, balanced, gorgeous Cabernet Franc to savor. And we do.
Saviah Cellars 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon ($30)
This is a great example of a rich Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose opens with licorice, black cherry and graphite aromas, with hints of vanilla. Next comes flavors of blackberry, more black cherry, and plum. We bought half a case of the 2015 vintage three years ago. While we enjoyed it then, it is really drinking well right now. We opened a bottle about a month ago and paired it with roast. It was so good, we almost opened a second bottle. But we decided to wait to share it with friends on another day. They loved it too.
Saviah Cellars 2018 The Jack Syrah ($18)
We’ve enjoyed The Jack red blend as a value wine for years. But recent vintages of The Jack Syrah take this label to a whole new level. We absolutely loved the 2014. My notes at the time point out “earthy funk at a good price point. It would hold its own in a blind tasting with more expensive Syrahs crafted in the funk.” The 2015-2017 vintages took home at least a Gold medal in the Cascade Wine Competition, and the current 2018 Syrah comes from similar vineyards. The 2018 is actually a GSM blend of 85% Syrah, 10% Grenache and 5% Mouvedre. It brings aromas and juicy flavors of red and black fruits, black olives, anise, espresso and savory, meaty notes. You can’t beat this value — a wallet-friendly and food-friendly wine.
Of note, Saviah also produces many other wines, including Barbera, Malbec, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Rosé.
In conclusion, we always recommend Saviah Cellars. And we particularly encourage your support during these difficult times. In addition, August is Washington Wine Month. So what are you waiting for? We have purchased these Saviah Cellars wines at the winery, at retail outlets and online at Full Pull Wines. And we know we will continue to do so, vintage after vintage.
Previous stories about Saviah Cellars:
- Saviah Cellars Syrah
- Our Favorite WA Wineries of 2019
- 2020 BBQ Reds
- What’s in Our Glasses in April 2020
- Celebrate WA Wine Every Month
Margot and Dave