Home > Not Rated, Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews, Winery > Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge Winery

Amavi Cellars and Pepper Bridge Winery


The Amavi/Pepper Bridge Entrance

I promptly started my day at noon by visiting the Amavi and Pepper Bridge tasting room.  These are sister wineries that share the same founding partners and wine maker.  Except for the Amavi Semillon wine all fruit is sourced from Walla Walla.  The Pepper Bridge wines are made exclusively from the estate’s Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills vineyards.  Amavi also sources grapes from the Les Collines, Goff, and some contract vineyards.  The Amavi wines may be drunk shortly after release whereas the Pepper Bridge wines are structured for aging.

The Amavi/Pepper Bridge Tasting Room

Jennifer Schmitt was pouring wine.  She is currently the restaurant and wine manager at The Barking Frog and was previously the sommelier at Sea Star.  All of these wines are well made.  The large oak programs cause the Pepper Bridge wines to show ample tannins but fortunately do not show the vanilla aspect.  The 2006 Pepper Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon was a highlight and has made me curious to try older vintages.

Three Wines from Amavi Cellars

2010 Amavi Cellars, Semillon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 88% Sémillon and 12% Sauvignon Blanc.  The grapes are sourced from  59% Les Collines, 23% Seven Hills, and 18% Goff vineyards.  It was aged in used French oak.  This wine has a fresh nose of citrus and lifted aromas.  In the mouth this roundish wine reveals plenty of minerals.  Not Rated.

2008 Amavi Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Merlot, 5% Syrah, and 3% Cabernet Franc.  The grapes are sourced from  45% Seven Hills, 41% Pepper Bridge, 8% Les Collines, and 6% Goff vineyards.  The wine was aged in 88% French, 6% Hungarian, and 6% American oak of which 30% was new and 70% used.  This wine has a nose of lifted blue fruits and some pepper notes.  The flavors are delineated in the mouth with very fine tannins.  This is accessible and drinking well.  Not Rated.

2008 Amavi Cellars, Syrah, Walla Walla
This 100% Syrah wine is made from grapes sourced from 49% Seven Hills, 24% Pepper Bridge, and 27% Les Collines vineyards.  The wine is aged in 19% new and 81% used French oak.  This wine has a riper nose of purple fruit and does not show the pepper notes revealed in the previous Cabernet Sauvignon blend.  There is a tighter feel with minerals and finer tannins comes out as purple fruits develop in the aftertaste.  Not Rated.

Three Wine from Pepper Bridge

2008 Pepper Bridge, Merlot, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Malbec.  These grapes are sourced from 51% Seven Hills Vineyard and 49% Pepper Bridge Vineyard.  The wine is aged for 17 months in 47% new and 53% used French oak. This wine has a somewhat closed nose of dark fruits and it is immediately obvious that these are made in a different style.  There is more concentration to this savory wine.  There is good medium bodied flavors with fine integrated tannins.  This well-done effort currently does not offer as much as the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.  Not Rated.

2008 Pepper Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot,  4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot.  The grapes are sourced from 58% Seven Hills Vineyard and 42% Pepper Bridge Vineyard. The wine is aged for 20 months in 48% new and 52% used French oak. This wine has a similarly dark nose as the Merlot, with more heady aromas.  In the mouth it is somewhat round with some salt, licorice, and a perfumed finish.  The finish shows some heat and wildness while the aftertaste leaves an ample amount of fine, mouth coating tannins.  This has strong potential and needs at least a few years in the cellar.  Not Rated.

2007 Pepper Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot,  5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot.  The grapes are sourced from 58% Seven Hills Vineyard and 42% Pepper Bridge Vineyard. The wine is aged for 20 months in 52% new and 48% used French oak.  This wine is has a lovely nose of darker, meaty fruits.  There are richer flavors in the mouth, some roast.  There are fine coating tannins but they are less overt than in the 2008.  There is power lurking below in this wine.  While it clearly needs some age I do not think it will reach the level of the 2006.  Not Rated.

2006 Pepper Bridge, Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla
This wine is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. The grapes are sourced from 56% Seven Hills Vineyard and 44% Pepper Bridge Vineyard. The wine is aged for 21 months in 55% new and 45% used French oak  This wine is in a great stage right now.  Again, there is a dark, meaty nose, with inky flavors delivered with a good mouthfeel.  The purple waves of flavor develop into long-lasting blue fruits with a creamy aftertaste.  I rather enjoyed this and am very happy that Jennifer opened up the bottle.  Not Rated.

  1. July 21, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you for the kind words, nice writeup! Please let me know if you make plans to visit Walla Walla, I’d love to tour you around the wineries there.

    BTW, all Amavi and Pepper Bridge wines are now made from 100% certified sustainable, 100% estate grapes.

    Best regards,
    Travis Goff
    Partner
    Amavi Cellars & Pepper Bridge Winery
    Walla Walla, Washington

    • July 22, 2011 at 9:53 am

      Travis, You are very welcome. I certainly plan on visiting Walla Walla during one of my upcoming trips to Seattle and will definitely contact you. I hope that through my postings on Washington State wines I can increase awareness in the Washington, DC area.

      Aaron

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