2013 Avennia "Arnaut-Boushey Vineyard" Yakima Valley Syrah (Previously $50)

SKU #1305909 92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Possibly up there with the top Syrahs in the vintage, the 2014 Syrah Boushey Vineyard Arnaut is a classic Washington state Syrah that has lots of ripe plums, blueberries, violets, iron and chocolate to go with a rich, layered style on the palate. It has fine tannin and should benefit from short-term cellaring. One of the rising stars in the wine world, winemaker Chris Peterson continues to make incredible wines under his Avennia label. These are classic, firm, even a touch austere wines that will reward cellaring. Looking at the different releases, he divides the lineup into a Bordeaux blend range (the white Oliane, the entry level Gravura, the Cabernet Sauvignon dominated Sestina, and the Merlot heavy Valery) and a Rhone blend range (the GSM Justine, the Syrah based Le Corbeau, and the Syrah Boushey Vineyard Arnaut). These are made in tiny quantities but are worth the effort to track down! (JD)  (6/2016)

93 points Jeb Dunnuck

 Reminding me of a top Cornas, the 2013 Arnaut Syrah Boushey Vineyard has lots of bloody, meaty notes as well as ripe dark fruits, wild herbs, and peppery aromas and flavors. Complex, full-bodied, and layered, with terrific purity (which is a hallmark of all of Chris’s wines), it’s another terrific Syrah to enjoy over the coming decade.  (4/2018)

92 points Vinous

 (from older blocks planted in 1994 and 1996; made with wild yeasts, aged in 15% new oak and bottled in April without fining or filtration): Bright medium ruby. Sexy, musky scents of dark raspberry, game and violet face powder. Not a thick wine but wonderfully silky and sweet, with the violet quality and healthy integrated acidity giving the cherry, raspberry and light game flavors terrific floral lift. Really compelling inner-mouth perfume and personality here, with the native yeast fermentation contributing texture. This wonderfully plush, savory, pliant wine finishes long and aromatic, with perfectly integrated tannins and lingering sweetness. Chris Peterson describes the 2014s as "bigger wines, with sweeter fruit than the 2013s." The earlier vintage, he told me, "drinks cooler than 2014." The pHs were higher in '13 but grape sugars were lower, he said, adding that "the 2013s show more elegance than the 2012s." (ST)  (7/2016)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Editors' Choice* Coming from one of the state's most esteemed Syrah vineyards, this wine wins over fans by its brains rather than its brawn. High-toned aromas of dried herbs mix with notes of raspberry, blue fruit and iron. The flavors are fresh and layered, bringing a sense of vibrancy and deliciousness.  (2/2017)

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- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- Washington has become one of the most important wine producing states in the United States, and development continues to grow rapidly. In 1969, when California was exploding as a wine producer, Washington had only two wineries, but by 2000 that number had passed 100. Most of Washington's grape crop goes to uses other than wine. Merlot and Chardonnay have been the most successful in Washington. It's interesting to note that Washington's prime wine regions are located at 46° north, along the same latitude as the legendary French wine districts of Bordeaux and Burgundy. During the summer, Washington averages more than two hours more sunlight each day compared to California.