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Washington Wine Blog

Nov. 2, 2017

Washington Wine Blog

Recently boasts Amavi Cellars, "One of the great stops in Walla Walla.."

Winemaker Jean François Pellet (L) and Amavi founder Norm McKibben (R) 
in their vineyards.

One of the great stops in Walla Walla, Amavi is a small, family owned winery that uses some of the best of Walla Walla Vallley fruit. Amavi sources from vineyards such as Seven Hills, Pepper Bridge and Les Collines to create their rich and ready to drink wines. Head winemaker Jean-François Pellet is a third-generation winemaker and grape grower. Pellet also makes wines for Amavi’s sister property, Pepper Bridge, which have also impressed with his outstanding new release wines. 

The Amavi red wines come from the warm 2014 vintage and are every bit outstanding. Unlike some of his Pepper Bridge wines, the winemaking at Amavi is geared towards less structure and more fruit. I think Pellet has hit a home run with his new Syrah and Cabernet bottlings — both of which are fruity but have a nice mineral backbone. The 2014 Amavi Cellars ‘Walla Walla Valley’ Syrah (WWB, 92) is beautifully textured and shows great ripeness. Even better was the 2014 Amavi Cellars ‘Walla Walla Valley’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 93) which was decadent but showed excellent elegance. Learn more about Amavi at

2016 Amavi Semillion- This blend of 85% Semillion and 15% Sauvignon Blanc from Amavi showcases fruit from Les Collines and Seven Hills vineyards. It has a clean and aromatic nose consisting of lemon zest and flowers, followed by flavors of honeydew melon and touch of gravel and wet stone. The fresh acid is well balanced with a hint of vanilla from the neutral French oak. This is a really memorable effort by Amavi. Drink 2017-2020- 92 (J.H.)

2014 Amavi ‘Walla Walla Valley’ Syrah- The 2014 Amavi Syrah is a spectacular wine composed of 96% Syrah and 4% Grenache, which was aged in 14% new French oak. This delicious Syrah is both earthy and savory, current displaying green olives, crushed pebbles on the nose, and balanced flavors of black currant, cloves, white pepper and mushroom on the palate. The mouthfeel here is rich and elegant. Drink 2017-2024- 92 (J.H.)

2014 Amavi ‘Walla Walla Valley’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Amavi is an outstanding effort made from predominantly 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc.  It starts with intense aromatics of ripe red currants, black olives and coconut.  Its flavor profile is earthy and rustic with a dense core of pomegranate and Bing cherries accompanied by secondary notes of black truffles, spice box, wet stone and gravel.  It is a tremendously complex integration of flavors that attacks the palate from all directions and will only improve with time.  Drink 2017-2024- 93 (J.H.)

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