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Fall 2008 News

Amavi Cellars Named Best New Winery, Receives Praise for Quality and Value

We have been blessed with yet another round of fantastic acclaim.  In an article titled “Best New Wineries,” Wine & Spirits  magazine described our Cabernet Sauvignon as “a perennial favorite,” and our Syrah as “suave and savory.”  These two wines, as well as our Sémillon, racked up quite a bit of press over the last year.

Highlights include:

  •     2005 Cabernet Sauvignon:  92 Points, Highest-rated “Smart Buy,” Wine Spectator

  •     2006 Sémillon:  91 Points, Wine Enthusiast

  •     2005 Syrah:  90 Points, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate

As you probably know, these wines sold out­ early—but our new vintages are now available
and generating acclaim, such as:

  •     2006 Syrah:  91 Points, The Wine Enthusiast

(Please see below for more details).

Our new releases

We promise that our newest releases represent the same level of quality you know and expect from Amavi Cellars.  We are dedicated to making superior, limited quantity wines that express the unique terroir of our esteemed estate vineyards.

Our last round of releases received an abundance of great acclaim and sold out early.

We hope you will order our current vintages before they are gone!  To make a purchase or learn more, please click here or call us at  509-525-3541 .

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon:  Aromas of raspberries, cherries, brambles, tobacco and subtle earthiness lead you to rich flavors of ripe, dark fruits and hot chocolate.  Hints of dried herbs and graphite round out the lush, smooth, lingering finish.  ($28)

2006 Syrah: Subtle earthiness is backed up by abundant aromas of violets, blueberries and dark fruits.  A touch of minerality mingles with flavors of mixed berries and cream of cassis. Balanced and full bodied.  ($28)

2007 Sémillon:  Gracefully balanced with a complex mix of melon, ripe pear, mineral and citrus. The intensely rich and creamy flavors are complemented by a zingy, lively acidity. ($20)

Ask the winemaker

I have noticed that you make a Syrah with grapes from Les Collines Vineyard only.  Is a single-vineyard wine better than a wine made from multiple vineyards?

This is a tricky question.  In this instance, “better” is typically a question of preference.  Single-vineyard wines are intriguing because they showcase the particular characteristics and the unique nuances of a specific vineyard.  It is the sort of thing that many serious wine drinkers enjoy because it allows them to compare and contrast the personalities of different vineyard sites.   

Our Les Collines Vineyard offers a great opportunity to do this because its Syrah grapes exhibit a very distinctive aroma/flavor profile.  Syrah wines made from Les Collines grapes provide aromas of earth, violets, wild game and berries.  Flavors of dark fruits and savory, smoked meats back up these wonderful smells.

I make the Les Collines Vineyard Syrah exclusively for our Coin Club members so they can understand the significance of this vineyard in my blending decisions.

For our “classic” Amavi Cellars Syrah, I typically choose to blend grapes from all three of our estate vineyards (Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Les Collines), creating a harmony between the three vineyards’ aromas and flavors.
 —Jean-François Pellet

Sustainable Vineyards Call For Smart Farming

Our commitment to sustainable viticulture requires us to find ecologically sound solutions to the challenges that Mother Nature provides us.

chicory in LCV
This picture shows chicory we planted in the aisles between grape rows at Les Collines Vineyard this spring. We planted the chicory for two purposes. First, the colored flowers attract beneficial insects.  Second, the six-foot-deep roots draw out surplus water and prevent excessive growth and vegetal flavors in our wines. This is not always necessary, but the winter was more wet than usual.

Harvest is now underway, and we are quite happy with the quality of our grapes that will  become the 2008 vintage.

All of our estate vineyards are certified by Salmon Safe, the IOBC (International Organization for Biological & Integrated Control), and LIVE. Our winemaker, Jean-François Pellet, is the president of VINEA:  The Walla Walla Valley Sustainable Trust.

Harvest Celebration & Holiday Barrel Tasting

This is your invitation!  We will be hosting two more events at the winery this year and would love for you to join us.

Coin Club Harvest Celebration
November 8
Chef Charles Maddrey of the Fat Duck Inn has planned a gourmet food-and-wine pairing.

Coin Club member Kent Hitch stands in his garden by a Cabernet Sauvignon vine he won at our 2nd Annual Spring Carnival. You can always count on fun raffles or prizes at our Coin Club events.
We will set up stations featuring a variety of heavy appetizers, each matched with an Amavi Cellars wine.  For Coin Club members and their guests only, RSVP required.  The cost is $25 for members and $35 for guests.
Not yet a member of the club?  Membership is free and entitles you to exclusive access to discounts, wines and events.  To learn more about the club or to RSVP, please contact Patty at  509-525-3541  or

Holiday Barrel Tasting
December 5-7
Along with most wineries in the Walla Walla Valley, we will be opening our cellar and offering barrel samples of a future release.
For a complete list of events, click here.

New Label Design Reflects Winery’s Core Values

On our new vintages, you will notice an updated label design.  We are excited about it and hope you like this new look as much as we do.   Using our old label as a starting point, we worked with a designer to update our look while still reflecting our sense of values and identity.
Amavi 06Sy label for print
We eliminated most of the orange color and went to more earthy tones.    Also, we made the Walla Walla River much more visible.  Most people did not even notice it on our former label design.

The Walla Walla River is very important to us at Amavi Cellars as it defines a “sense of place” for our small, family-owned winery and our acclaimed estate vineyards—a special place that we pledge to protect and enhance with our sustainable viticulture program.

We also kept our trademark coin but changed it slightly as well.  Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, still adorns the face of the coin but is now a photographic image of a vintage coin, rather than an artist’s rendering that was there previously.  

Ceres is a symbol we chose to represent the partners’ long-standing ties to agriculture.

Jean-François Pellet is a third-generation grape grower, Eric McKibben and his family farmed apples before becoming grape growers, and the Goffs previously raised cattle and grew alfalfa.

The label’s edge has a tattered, aged look, giving it a rustic quality.  To complete the new design, we chose some unusual fonts (for the appellation and vintage year, in particular) to stand out from the otherwise subdued label.