2015 Averaen (Banshee) Willamette Valley Pinot Noir SKU #1277806


VN 91
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Professional Reviews

K&L Notes

Averaen Pinot Noir comes from the folks at Banshee, and is made in Oregon by winemaker Adam Smith, who made Banshee's first batch! They always make a spot-on quality-for-price Pinot, and we're excited to see them in action in Oregon. The winery's vintage notes: "A mild winter led to early bud break, and early flowering. Weather was perfect around bloom, giving way to excellent fruit set. The hot, dry summer brought accelerated ripening. Warm/early sites came off the vine first week of September, breaking records for red-wine harvest timing. Warm, windy and wet in the middle of September bought us a bonus couple of weeks in cooler, high-elevation sites, yielding more complex, mature flavors in later picks."

Staff Reviews

  • Scott Beckerley
    By: Scott Beckerley
    K&L Staff Member
    This great, extremely affordable Pinot Noir comes to us from the Willamette Valley care of one of our favorite producers, Banshee. It has knockout dark cherry fruit with spice, a touch of tobacco, and loamy earthy scents. Very balanced with an almost Grenache-like acidity and moderate tannin. Very complex!
  • Mari Keilman
    By: Mari Keilman
    K&L Staff Member
    ​​​With all these new Willamette wines these days, you never know what to expect. Winemakers are trying so hard to be avant garde and constantly push the envelope but what does that mean for all of us that just like to drink a good Oregon Pinot Noir?!?!?! Thankfully the peeps at Banshee decided to start a Willamette Pinot project and the best thing is that winemaker Adam Smith is not afraid to make an Oregon Pinot that tastes like a Pinot Noir. A beautiful richness that's matched with subtle notes of integrated toast, bright red berry fruit and baking spices are elegantly supported by a firm backbone of bright acidity. Well worth the $20 price tag!
  • Bryan Brick
    By: Bryan Brick
    K&L Staff Member
    Averaen: [AY-vuh-rain] <BR> Noun<BR> 1: The new and wildly exciting Pinot Noir project from the men that brought you Banshee<BR> 2: The men from Banshee’s loose translation of “Bird Queen” from the Latin word “avis” for bird and French word “reine” for queen (Latin root regina)<BR> Since the very first bottling of Banshee, K&L was their second customer ever, the three amigos: Baron, Steve and Noah, have made some of the best affordable Pinot Noir in California not to mention great Chardonnay and some other fun things as well. So when they told me in secret a little over two years ago that they were thinking about making Willamette Valley Pinot Noir I was obviously very excited. The result is Averaen and it is a wonderful example of why Banshee became so popular in the first place: the quality for value just can’t be beat. At $19.99 this was instantly in the argument for one of the best wines from the still youthful but very good 2015 vintage at this price point. Made from some vineyards well know to insiders and Oregon Pinot files like Meredith Mitchell, Deux Vert, Eola Springs and Valin among others this is top flight raw materials wedged into an entry level price point. Also an added bonus for the 2015 vintage bottling is that every grape harvested in 2015 went into this bottling where as in years upcoming they will also make single vineyard bottlings, so this really is the best foot forward with their inaugural release. <BR> Made from a mix of Volcanic and Sedimentary soils and a blend of Pommard and Dijon clones this takes all the best parts of Oregon Pinot Noir and dovetails them in to one seamless and drinkable wine. Aromas of freshly picked cherries, clove and wet, warm earth dominate the nose backed by typical forest-y notes and hints of darker berry fruits. The first thing that struck me about this wine is just how serious it is in terms of balance and structure. Everything is in its place and while this is eminently drinkable it is also quite serious and complex. Lush loganberry at the edges with a pitchy red fruited core this Pinot has plenty of fruit intensity and lift but it also has the darker side of the Pinot spectrum as well with finishing mushroom, fern and purple flower notes. Add a subtle oaky quality, but no toastiness-this is all done in neutral oak foudre and stainless steel-and this really becomes one of the best Pinot Noir values, regardless of place, in K&L today.
  • Shaun Green
    By: Shaun Green
    K&L Staff Member
    Add my voice to the chorus of praise! Winemaker Adam Smith has brought us another fantastic wine at a ridiculous price from the stable of the guys at Banshee. It's hard to find even a pleasant Pinot at this price these days, yet alone a beautifully made, seriously food-friendly Pinot like this.
    Top Value!
  • Alex Schroeder
    By: Alex Schroeder
    K&L Staff Member
    Banshee has been blowing minds with its quality-to-price ratios in Sonoma County, and now they are redefining what $20 gets you in the Willamette Valley, too. The Averaen Pinot Noir is a beautiful one. Fresh, ripe blueberry, raspberry and strawberry flavors with a great acid backbone and a light, silky texture. By far the best money you can spend in the appellation at the moment.
  • Gary Norton
    By: Gary Norton
    K&L Staff Member
    Six months ago if someone told me I could buy a twenty dollar Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley that was produced from vineyards such as Meredith Mitchell and Eola Springs, I'd probably take offense to it. No one likes to be lied to! Alas, it's actually available. Made by our buddy Adam Smith (formerly of Bethel Heights & Shea - currently of Eisold Smith), this new project from the folks at Banshee Wine Company is an absolute knock out. Dark fruits, dried violets and a spicy finish. This is one of my top value choices of 2017.
    Drink from 2017 to 2024
  • Dulcinea Gonzalez
    By: Dulcinea Gonzalez
    K&L Staff Member
    Killer value Pinot from Willamette! Earthy, spicy, rich and deliciously nuanced, with dark red fruit flavors, lush texture, good acidity and silky tannins. A must try!
  • Andrew Whiteley
    By: Andrew Whiteley
    K&L Staff Member
    I love the guys at Banshee and I've never met them. I have consumed enormous amounts of their Pinot and Chardonnay from Sonoma, and now I have a new favorite. They've made an amazing Willamette Valley Pinot Noir to showcase amazing fruit sources. It's a mix of stainless steel, neutral oak, and neutral oak foudre letting the bright cherry and cranberry fruit shine through. While it's got tons of zip and acidity, it also shows a beautiful level of ripeness. I'm so pumped that they're working on an Oregon project because they always let the terroir shine through, so this is wholly something new to love from the folks at Banshee.
  • Stephanie Vidales
    By: Stephanie Vidales
    K&L Staff Member
    Banshee, one of our favorite California producers, has branched out to Oregon to create Averaen Pinot Noir that's beautifully balanced and well-priced at only $19.99. It has lush and bright red fruit that is intertwined with some earthiness and herb elements to make it an all around well crafted Pinot. I can't wait to see what comes of this Oregon project in the upcoming vintages...
  • Stefanie Juelsgaard
    By: Stefanie Juelsgaard
    K&L Staff Member
    This was an amazing vintage for the Willamette Valley and that fact is reflected in this wine, which is the next big release for the Banshee team. This wine is produced from high end fruit, with the Pommard clone being dominant in this Pinot Noir. The oak is subtle on this beauty due to aging in stainless steel, neutral oak, and foudre. This Oregon Pinot Noir is worth far more than it's price point and will stun you with the elegance of its fruit.
    Top Value!
  • Kirk Walker
    By: Kirk Walker
    K&L Staff Member
    This is a decadent little Pinot. The nose is dark red fruits with dusting of superfine mocha, list it we a wine chocolate truffle. The palate has that same feeling, super fine dusty tannins and a hint of spice and clean bright fruit. Hard to beat at this price.
  • Anthony Gittings
    By: Anthony Gittings
    K&L Staff Member
    This is an absolute steal in the Pinot Noir world, especially considering the fruit is sourced from Willamette Valley. A beautiful bouquet of fresh herbs and dark fruit first welcome you in the glass. Rich, restrained and sophisticated fruit command your attention and consume your palate. This is sure to be a hit at your next dinner party!
  • Diana Turk
    By: Diana Turk
    K&L Staff Member
    Soft floral nose, crunchy red and blackberry fruit, tart acidity and an unexpectedly tannic, spicy finish, this feels huge for Oregon Pinot Noir, but I’d expect nothing less from Banshee’s bombastic team and the warmer 2015 vintage. Fruit-forward yet woodsy, with classical Willamette Valley aromatics, Averaen is full but balanced, and value-priced.
  • Andrew Stevens
    By: Andrew Stevens
    K&L Staff Member
    A new project from the producers of Banshee for those who love the Pinot being grown in the Willamette valley. The Averaen showcases ripe fruit with hints of candy and cherry cola, these rich notes are balanced by acid and tannin. The richness that Banshee is known for is integrated into the structure that Pinot from this area is famous for. Overall this is a balanced and lovely Pinot Noir just in time for the holidays.


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