SAVIAH CELLARS United States, Washington, Walla Walla Valley
Saviah Cellars was formed in 2000 by Richard Funk and his wife Anita, who moved to Walla Walla in 1991. They are committed to crafting quality wines, combined with viticultural excellence. Several Saviah estate vineyards have been planted over the years with a focus on Bordeaux and Rhone varietals. Richard also dabbles in several Italian varietals including Barbera, Sangiovese and Nebbiolo.
2019 Vintage – What started as a very good growing season with steady temperatures, ended with all sorts of issues that were devastating for a lot of growers. Several nights during the first and second week of October, the temperatures dipped below freezing before a lot of the grapes, especially the Cabernet Sauvignon, were ripe and ready to be harvested. Richard was able to use wind machines to keep their grapes safe from the frost, but unfortunately a lot of other vineyards were forced to drop their fruit for the year. Saviah was able to keep the fruit on the vine and ripen the grapes enough to create a lean, but delicious vintage.
2018 Vintage – A very remarkable vintage with perfect temperatures, steady growing season and light rainfall. The year was such an easy year from a farming perspective that there were no significant challenges of note. The wines are showing great depth of complexity and fruit, and a majority of the wines from 2018 are being held in high regard.
2017 Vintage – Described as a challenging vintage with dramatic variations of weather and temperature throughout the year, ended as a blessing in disguise. There were several weeks of forecasted temperatures of over 100 degrees in September which could have been a disaster for the grapes. However, forest fires started near the Gorge, which created this high level of smoke in the atmosphere and brought the temperatures to the mid 80s. Luckily, smoke taint was not an issue because the smoke was so high in elevation. The cover of smoke blocked a lot of the sun’s rays from the heat spike and caused the fruit to ripen nicely and in its proper pace.
2016 Vintage – Richard described the 2016 vintage as incredibly easy, “like falling of a log!” There was no crazy weather, no early freezes, no pressure to pick the fruit. Farmers were able to sit and watch the fruit ripen and pick at the exact perfect time. This has been Richard’s favorite vintage in the past 10 years with superb wines that are holding strong for the long haul.
- Jeremy Young, Contributing Editor, International Wine Report