Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Amavi Cellars

Earlier this spring, I had an opportunity to visit Amavi Cellars. The name, Amavi, is a combination of the Latin root words, "am" (love) and "vi" (life). The winery's objective is to capture the best of love and life in every bottle of their wine. Their pursuits being: Love, Life and Wine (Amor, Vita and Vinum). Their pursuit is my pursuit.

Amavi's tasting room is a reconstruction of a 1890's log cabin that was relocated from Montana. The tasting room is very warm and friendly. I felt that the warmth and friendliness came from not just the structure, but from the staff as well.

Amavi is the sister winery to the very prestigious Pepper Bridge Winery which is also located in the Walla Walla Valley. Both wineries share the same winemaker, Jean-Fran├žois Pellet, and estate vineyards, Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Les Collines. However, they utilize different vineyard blocks and winemaking styles. Having tasted the wines, there is quality in the bottle but at an affordable price.

Last night I was able to sit in on a wine tasting of the 2002 Amavi Cabernet Sauvignon. 2002 happened to be an exceptional year for the Walla Walla Valley. This 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 2% Syrah and 1% Malbec. An award winner with critical acclaim from a couple of food and wine magazines, this wine is very aromatic with flavors of dark fruit, a chocolate finish (a very creamy mouth feel) and spice. The spice we tasted is still under scrutiny, though. Was it spice or a teeny bit of brettanomyces? The taste of brett seemed to waft in and out through the wine, which made it very interesting. I think this is a wine that can lay down for a few years and yet very approachable now. A great buy at $25.00. Let's put it this way - no matter if it was spice or brett - I would never turn down a bottle.

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