We took a day in September to drive down to the Woodinville winery area. It is a little out of our way, but hey, it was raining at home, so what better way to enjoy an afternoon when you have to be outside anyway? It poured on our drive, but by the time we ended up in Woodinville, it was a blustery, but not rainy, afternoon. We arrived a bit early, and a lot of the wineries don’t open until noon on Sunday, so our first stop ended up being a place that wasn’t on our list.
Novelty Hill-Januik’s facility was very modern looking, with cement walls with wood accents. The interior is minimalist, and kind of cavernous, and reminded me of all the bachelor pads we see rich men on tv living in. There are actual two partner wineries here, Novelty Hill and Januik. Mike Januik makes the wine for both. You can choose different flights, $5 for their “Columbia Valley” tasting, or for $10 you can choose either their “King Cab” or reserve wine flight. When you choose a flight, then you get to choose four wines from the list to taste. I went with the $5 flight, and Jon chose the reserve flight – we frequently strategize this way, because most places don’t have a problem if you share. The first drawback was their tasting room servers were predominantely young, college age women who didn’t seem to know anything about the wine they were serving. I love getting the opinion of the server on what wines they like and how they describe the wine they pour. Our server didn’t have much to say at all, but she did have a beautiful blue topaz pendant and ring set. I digress. Anyway, back to the tasting.
Here’s what we thought. Their wines were decent – not outstanding. The 2007 Novelty Hill Stillwater Creek Sauvignon Blanc was a good clean white. I really enjoyed it. Their Januik 2008 Chardonnay had an oakey nose, but was not all that oakey on the palate. It was a nice medium bodied crisp apple Chardonnay. Jon would have preferred something more buttery and oakey, but I liked it. The Januik 2009 Bacchus Riesling smelled crisp and had a lot of mineral smell. But I was disappointed with the taste; it tasted flat to me. It wasn’t overly sweet though like many Rieslings are.
Of the reds, there were several that were very good, but I’m not sure it justifies the prices. Their Januik 2007 Champoux Cab Sauvignon had nice light oak and a good balance – we both really enjoyed this one, which is unusual for us to both like a Cab Sauvignon. The Januik 2006 Klipsun Merlot was a bold Merlot which Jon liked. He also liked the Januik 2007 Lewis Syrah – he liked it because it was not as jammy as many syrahs. The Novelty Hill 2006 Columbia Valley Syrah was more suited to Jon; he thought it was strong and bold with a lot of fruit and oak. I thought it would be better with a bit more of that jammy taste that Jon complains about.
I guess to sum it up, the wine was good, but it had that big business wine feel. I would have preferred more of that small winery feel.