Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Wines Of The Week - Novelty Hill Merlot And Chardonnay

I've never had a bad wine from Novelty Hill. It is the perfect pick from a wine list - easy to remember and reasonably priced. Novelty Hill is owned by the Alborg family who recently planted a variety of clones at their Stillwater Creek Vineyard on Royal Slope. Most of their wines until now have been sourced from some of the best vineyards in the Columbia Valley by winemaker Mike Januik who makes Novelty Hill wines for the Alborgs in a jointly shared facility. Novelty Hill will be building a brand new modern winery down the road in the near future. In the meanwhile, Januik has been turning out beautiful wines. The wines are very similar in style to Januik Winery bottles, but not quite as big and complex.

I tasted four wines from Novelty Hill at the Woodinville Passport weekend and they were all delicious. They all have the signature Januik style and capture the essence of each varietal. I preferred the 2003 Columbia Valley Merlot (about $20) and the 2004 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Chardonnay (about $20) to the 2003 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (about $22) and the 2003 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Syrah (about$28), but they are all excellent wines. The 2003 Columbia Valley Merlot is loaded with ripe berry aromas and flavors. It is medium bodied and balanced with a supple texture. This is a great wine to serve with or without food. It would be perfect with chicken or rack of lamb. The Chardonnay is nice, clean, and fresh, almost crisp. More of a dinner wine - fish or seafood. The hint of citrus and mineral mouthfeel is reminiscent of a European wine. Definitely not California in-your-face vanilla oak and tropical fruit. The consistency and quality of Januik made wines is truly amazing.


  • At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Winnie Alberg said…

    Dr. Stein,
    Thank you for the rave reviews of the Novelty Hill wines. If you like the Stillwater Creek Vineyard wines from Novelty Hill you will be pleased to note that we also sell to about 20 premium Washington wineries, including many who were open Passport weekend.
    In addition to providing fruit for Novelty Hill we sell grapes to quite a stellar list of Washington wineries including Long Shadows Vintners, Baer Winery, JM Cellars, Chelan Estate, Saviah Cellars, Matthews, Mark Ryan, DeLille Cellars, and Woodinville Wine Cellars.
    For those attending Taste Washington Seattle this weekend, we will have our own booth where we will be serving about a dozen wines all made from Stillwater fruit produced by a few of our esteemed Stillwater customers.
    Dr. Stein, if you go to Taste Washington, please stop by our table and introduce yourself and sample some of the different wines created from our grapes!


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