I’ve raved about the whites coming from Januik/Novelty Hill winery, but anyone who has tasted their wines knows that their red wines are equally as good, if not better. Recently I had the chance to try the full current lineup of red wines at Januik/Novelty Hill. I found that the overall quality of their wines to be exemplary. One of the more cool aspects of tasting at Januik is that they produce a wide variety of reds – everything from Syrah to Cab Franc. Their releases from the 2011 vintage were impressive, considering the lack of ripeness from a cooler growing season. Their 2012 releases were even better, as 2012 was a near perfect growing season in eastern WA.
The head winemaker, Mike Januik, was formerly the winemaker at Chateau St. Michelle. He wanted to run his own show so he created an iconic winery less than a mile down the road from St. Michelle. For those who have never visited this tasting room, it is a northwest architectural marvel and a must see. You can find some of Januik/Novelty Hill wines at Costco or northwest grocery stores, especially their Columbia Valley releases. Their single vineyard wines can only be found at their winery. Here are some of the great red wines that I recently tried at Januik/Novelty Hill winery.
2011 Novelty Hill Merlot- This is their Columbia Valley bottling. Prune, raspberry and red cherry on the nose. Palate is smooth and well integrated. Cherry, raspberry, vanilla. Drink now. -91
2012 Januik Merlot- Somewhat muted nose with dill, dried herbs and red cherry with black olive. Palate has a plush mouthfeel. Red cherry, raspberry and vanilla. Very smooth. Cellar for 1-2 years. -92
2011 Novelty Hill Cabernet- Made from Columbia Valley fruit, the nose is slightly muted with anise and oak. Palate is more open with red cherry, raspberry and vanilla. Excellent value. Drink now. -91
2011 Januik ‘Weinbau Vineyard’ Cabernet- oaky nose with red fruits and dried herbs. Palate has a leaner feel but has excellent smoothness. Black cherry, raspberry and vanilla. -91
2012 Andrew Januik ‘Stone Cairn’ Red Mountain Cabernet- 500 Cases made, sourced from Alder Ridge vineyard and other Red Mountain vineyeards. 90% Cabernet with 6% Merlot and 4% Cab Franc. Perfumed nose with black olive, blackberry and oak. Polished palate that's smooth and viscous. Very polished with blackberry and Cassis. Needs 3 plus years of cellaring. -93
2012 Januik ‘Champouux Vineyard’ Cabernet- This is a powerful nose with blackberry, dried herbs and black cherry. Palate has blackberry, anise and raspberry. Rich and viscous this wind needs at least 2 years of cellaring. -92
2011 Novelty Hill ‘Stillwater Creek Vineyard’ Syrah-Slightly smoky nose with oak and smoked meats. Palate is plush and has red cherry, smoked meats and vanilla. Delicious, drink now. -92
2012 Januik ‘Weinbau Vineyard’ Syrah- Nose is muted with some herbaceousness and oak. Palate is plush but shut down. Creme de cassis and black cherry with blackberry. Delicious, drink in 2 years. -94
2012 Januik ‘Weinbau Vineyard’ Cabernet Franc- Impressive nose, nice herbaceousness and raspberry in there. Fruit hasn't integrated get, needs time. Raspberry, blueberry and blackberry flavors. Delicious. Don't drink for 2 plus years. -93