It’s been a while since we last hosted a virtual wine tasting here at Steve’s, so it’s about time to get another one on the calendar.
I’m excited to have one my favorite wineries from Washington for this next tasting event. Joining us will be Winemaker, Andrew Januik. We have been enjoying the Januik wines for many years, well before they were even distributed in retail or restaurants here in the Texas region. We first tasted the Januik wines while visiting friends in Houston and they raved about the wine. After drinking through a few bottles, when we arrived back home, we called up the winery and joined their wine club.
Andrew, the son of Mike Januik who started the winery, will be our featured speaker for this tasting event.
Mike and Carolyn Januik established Januik Winery in 1999. It was the realization of a dream that took hold in 1980 when the couple sold their Ashland, Oregon wine shop for Mike to study winemaking at UC Davis.
After graduation, the Januiks moved to Washington to be closer to family. California friends thought it was a risky move. Washington wines were largely unknown. But over the ensuing decades, Mike proved them wrong. He crushed his first grapes in Washington in 1984 and quickly developed a reputation for quality winemaking just as the state’s reputation for world-class wines began to take hold.
The Novelty Hill and Januik partnership began in 2000, shortly after Mike began consulting on the planting of the Alberg family’s Stillwater Creek Vineyard on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills in Washington State’s Columbia Valley. Though an uncharted growing region at the time, Mike liked what the site offered and was intrigued by the Albergs’ interest in planting a diverse selection of clones. He encouraged the family to consider making wine from the site; they agreed, provided Mike serve as winemaker. Novelty Hill was born.
From the start, it has been a family-run operation. In the fall of 2009, Andrew Januik joined his dad in the cellar full-time. Today, he collaborates with Mike and winemaker Scott Moeller on all aspects of production in addition to crafting his own label, Andrew Januik Wines, launched in 2011.
2017 Bacchus Vineyard Riesling - at Januik Winery, they believe single vineyard wines should only be made when a particular site yields an exceptional wine that reflects the unique character of the vineyard. Bacchus Vineyard is located outside Pasco on a southwest facing slope which overlooks the Columbia River. Planted at Bacchus Vineyard are two of Germany’s best Riesling clones, Geisenheim 198 and Neustadt 90, from which our Riesling is made.
Bright and refreshing, the Bacchus Vineyard Riesling is brimming with apricot, peach and grapefruit flavors and aromas. Punctuated with mineral notes, the finish is crisp, balanced and lingering.
2017 Novelty Hill Chardonnay – Stillwater Creek Vineyard (Ten Vintage have been rated 90+)
91 pts. Wine Enthusiast, Editor’s Choice - “Beautifully balanced flavors.”
Round and generous, this barrel-fermented Chardonnay offers fresh pear and crisp apple aromas and flavors that echo across the palate and wrap around a rich, creamy finish. Sur lie aged for added mouthfeel and richness.
Novelty Hill’s Stillwater Creek estate vineyard is located on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills in Washington State’s Columbia Valley. The fractured basalt found throughout the site imparts an appealing mineral character to Chardonnay planted here. Innovative clonal selection distinguishes the vineyard as well, including Entav clone 95, a relative newcomer to the Columbia Valley.
2017 Novelty Hill Royal Slope Red Blend
A delicious Merlot-based blend from top Columbia Valley vineyards
From Novelty Hill's Stillwater Creek estate vineyard and other top Columbia Valley sites comes this delicious, medium-bodied red. It is an aromatic wine with mouth-watering layers of wild berries, sweet cherry and black currant. Balanced and lively across the mid-palate, with a fresh, fruit-forward finish that lasts.
Blend: 46% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc
2017 Novelty Hill Syrah Columbia Valley - 91 pts. Jeb Dunnuck - "This is classic Syrah all the way."
A classic Washington State Syrah with aromas of coffee bean, smoked meat and dark fruit gaining focus on the palate. Wild blackberry, dark plum and savory notes of olive and black pepper are woven throughout, with refined tannins adding dimension across a long, flavorful finish.
Planted in 2000 on a steep, south-facing slope with one of the most elite grape clone selections in Washington State, Stillwater Creek quickly earned a reputation as one of the Columbia Valley’s top vineyards. Clones 1, 99, 174 and Joseph Phelps are grown here, making Stillwater Creek home to one of the most diverse Syrah clone selections in Washington.
2016 Januik Merlot Klipsun Vineyard - 90+ pts. 12 years running
Among the great vineyards of Washington State, Klipsun ranks right at the top. Wine & Spirits Magazine has named it one of the 25 greatest vineyards in the world. Located in the Red Mountain appellation, it produces wines with great power, depth, and concentration. The wines from this vineyard tend to be very long-lived.
An intensely dark ruby red color is followed by notes of raspberries, blackberries, and spice. On first impression, it becomes apparent that this wine is one that will age beautifully for many years to come. The nicely proportioned palate shows tremendous length as well as an abundance of spice and fruit as it evolves in the glass.
2016 Januik Cabernet Columbia Valley
98% Cabernet Sauvignon; 2% Merlot
This supple, bold Cabernet Sauvignon is loaded with red and black fruit flavors as well as plum, mocha and cedar notes in the nose. Its texture is quite refined and shows great structure across the palate, imparting a long, ample finish that was developed in part from the use of new French Oak barrels.