Why should you care? Washington’s 2011 growing seasons was freakishly cool by the standards of this hot, dry, high-desert viticultural region, although it produced some wonderfully refined wines in a more European vein. Two thousand twelve brought a return to warmth without extreme heat. In fact, it was statistically an almost perfectly average year that many insiders describe as an ideal growing season. Although the first serious red wines are only now being released, it’s already clear that there will be more outstanding bottles from 2012 than from any past vintage in Washington.
What does it taste like? Star winemaker Chris Peterson, who was responsible for a string of outstanding vintages at DeLille Cellars in the 2000s, launched his own exciting Avennia brand in 2010 and hasn’t missed yet. His least expensive red wine, the 2012 Gravura Red Wine Columbia Valley, leads off with fresh aromas of black raspberry and cocoa powder complemented by sexy earth tones. It’s sweet, broad and fine-grained, showing lovely energy and lift to its flavors of dark berries and dark chocolate. This very classy Bordeaux blend spreads out nicely to dust the palate with fruit and finishes very long, with well-integrated ripe tannins. It’s a terrific value, as is the superb 2011, should you happen to find a bottle on a retailer’s shelf. My score: 92 points.
How much does it cost? $35