93 Points, grapelive
Avaler is a new label, and if this R Own Cuvee is anything to go by, you’ll want to follow, it is a new collaboration between two friends, Dylan Sheldon of Sheldon Wines and Jon Phillips of Inspiration Vineyards, both long time veterans of the California wine scene. The Avaler is a small production hand-crafted project that will offer limited offerings from unique all Sonoma County vineyard sites at an extremely fair price, especially considering the quality and nature of these wines, in particular this Rhone style red blend, the “R Own Cuvee” which is an intriguing wine made of 60% Syrah, 30% Grenache Noir and 10% Viognier. Six barrels were made of this Avaler R Own Cuvee, the Syrah and Grenache were fermented separately, in open top, then pressed to French oak, for 16 months, 20% new, with the Viognier not co-fermented, but done in stainless and blended in later, this Gigondas meets Cote-Rotie inspired red comes from selected vineyards with the Syrah coming from Branley Vineyard in the Russian River Valley, the Grenache is grown at vines in Ceja Farms of Sonoma Valley, a site that Sheldon has used for his own wines that makes for really expressive Grenache, plus biodynamicly farmed Viognier from Canihan Vineyards also in Sonoma Valley. The nose is bright and deeply dark fruited with mixed florals, spice and mineral tones leading the way and a full and plush palate of richly flavored boysenberry, plum, blueberry and pomegranate fruits along with jasmine, lavender, peppercorn, cherry cola, sweet baking spices and lingering raspberry/frambroise. This open and forward red impresses and is lovely in mouth feel with subtle earthy charms, satiny tannins, nice acidity and plenty of style and pop, at 14.4% it is a sexy, well endowed ripe wine that gives a lot of opulent pleasure, drink over the next 3 to 5 years.