Amavi Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2014

Deep purple color; plum, spice, wet rock on the nose; blueberry, blackberry, plum, black cherry, olive on the palate.

Amavi Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2014

Dry; medium body; chewy, nicely evolved tannin; rich and elegant in the mouth; nice spice notes in the mid-palate and long finish. Flavors are lush and layered; they present even better after decanting. Blend of 96% syrah and 4% grenache from five Amavi estate vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley of Washington State. Well behaved oak—100% French, 86% neutral, 14% new.

Amavi was founded by Norm McKibben, a founding father of the Walla Walla wine industry. A trained engineer, McKibben worked for several decades in construction, then decided on a new career as an apple farmer. On his way to that new career, wine and vines lured him away. He planted his first vineyard in 1989 with his wife, Virginia, and eldest son, Shane. He established Pepper Bridge Winery in 1998 in a partnership with Ray Goff, and later was joined by winemaker Jean François Pellet.

Amavi headwinemaker Jean François Pellet and Amavi founder Norm McKibben
Ray Goff

Five years later, the trio of families launched Amavi Cellars. The name (ah-mah-vee) was coined by combining the Latin words “amore + vita + vinum” (love, life, wine). The family-owned winery straddles the Washington-Oregon border in the desert country of the Walla Walla AVA.

Norman’s son, Eric McKibben, is general manager and partner in the winery. The operation is owned and operated by three families: the McKibbens, the Goffs, and the Pellets.

Eric McKibben

Norm McKibben was early advocate of sustainable viticulture. All of Amavi vineyards are certified sustainable by VINEA, the Walla Walla Valley’s Sustainable Trust, and LIVE, an Oregon-based sustainable viticulture organization. The vineyards also are certified Salmon Safe and are monitored by the IOBC, the international body responsible for setting sustainability standards. They proudly proclaim they are 100% estate (they own the vineyards), 100% sustainable, and 100% Walla Walla.

Amavi Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2014 is a smooth, easy drinker with impressive depth made by a benchmark Walla Walla winery. Well worth a try. Pair with beef, roasted lamb, barbecue, roasted chicken, pizza, venison and other wild game. $28-33

Amavi website

Amavi truck in Pepper Bridge vineyard
Amavi Seven Hills vineyard
Amavi Cellars tasting room
Amavi Cellars tasting room interior