The Salut! Wine Club

Mike Januik, winemaker at Novelty Hill, is a well-recognized talent in the Washington wine industry.  His namesake Januik label has long been a favorite of mine (his Chardonnay was placed in our wine club earlier).  Actually, his wines have been a favorite of many.  At least 12 wines from his hand have been included on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 lists. 

The value “Novelty Hill” label started just a few years ago and the releases have been an excellent and affordable way to enjoy Washington’s best on a daily basis.  Much of the fruit for this wine comes from the estate-owned Stillwater Creek Vineyards.  The 2006 red is a cacophony of varietals including 33% Syrah, 18% each of Cab Franc and Mourvedre, 13% Merlot, 11% Cabernet and 7% Petit Verdot. 

Generous and round offering delicious, ripe red plum, blueberry and currant aromas and flavors, with a lip-smacking, spicy finish.

What I most like about the Novelty Hill wines (and other Januik releases) is the restraint away from overextraction.  These wines aren’t fruit bombs, where blasts of fruit cover up the flaws found in many value and “second label” wines.  Instead, Novelty Hill wines give you the fruit you want while allowing the character of Washington to come forward.  Spice, wood, tea, tannin, herbs and other delicate notes can enhance the complexity and create a perfect match with any meal, whether dramatically flavored or elegantly sublime.

This wine is regularly sold for $14.99, but is available to wine club members for only $13.99!

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The Salut! Wine Club

Perfect wine doesn’t have a single definition.  There will never be a machine that can turn out ‘perfect’ wines.  There are too many variables and it is the uniqueness of each artful release that brings forth a worthy story rather than a homogenous, measurable string of proper qualities. 

That being said, it is possible to hedge bets toward fantastic releases.  It requires attention to a number of variables:

  • Buy the best grapes available from the areas most skilled grape growers (a step that requires longstanding relationships as well)
  • Buy the most technologically advanced equipment and finest traditional barrels
  • Enlist the help of the finest and most experienced oenologists, practiced using the grapes found in your final release

saggi_90This is the basis for Long Shadows Vintners. 

Founder Allen Shoup has earned an influential placement at the pinnacle of Washington’s wine industry.   He began with humble beginnings at Gallo in California and rose through vast achievement to CEO of Stimson Lane (owner of Chateau Ste. Michelle & Columbia Crest), Washington’s largest wine company.  With his broad assets of professional relationships, prime properties and ample finances, he’s been able to pair Washington’s best grapes with the world’s finest talent to create tremendously well-made expressions of our Northwest’s best.

Through these efforts come the 2006 rendition of Saggi, the Long Shadows “Super Tuscan” style blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.  Shoup has invited the talents of the Tuscan winemaking father and son team of Ambrogio and Giovanni Folonari to craft the wine using grapes grown in the Horse Heaven Hills and Alder Ridge vineyards.

The added bonus of this wine is an additional year of age in the bottle.  The 2007 has been released, but the silky smoothness of the 2006 is showing through with increasing balance and contemplative layers.

Dark cherry aromas and flavors combine with a hint of nutmeg in this Super Tuscan style blend. An elegant entry in the front of the mouth reveals refined tannins with focused concentration, enhanced by the wine’s silky mouth feel and lengthy finish.

This wine is regularly sold for $36.99, but is available to wine club members for only $31.99!

Tech SheetBuy This Wine More Club Wines

Wine Info Links

Great Food Pairings

Have you tasted this wine? When you’ve had a chance to enjoy this wine, please return to this blog and leave your comments! Others will appreciate your input, unique viewpoint, and recommendations.