Woodinville Tasting Room Specials

thumbnail-NH-whitegrapeFall is the perfect time of year for wine tasting in Woodinville, especially with many wineries busy with crush, including our own.  Grapes are arriving at the winery regularly.  Step out on the viewing platform to watch crush in action, and if you happen to visit the tasting room on a Tuesday, remember all wine purchases are 10% off, Tuesdays only.  Regardless of what day of the week you visit, your tasting fee is waived with a three-bottle purchase. We offer Woodinville’s most extensive tasting menu; choose four wines from a list featuring 20 or more selections.  Open daily, 11-5.


Washington Grape Harvest is in High Gear

thumbnail-SWC-redThere’s been lots of talk up and down the West Coast about the early wine grape harvest this year due to a warm spring and hot summer temperatures.  Like California and Oregon, Washington State’s harvest is coming on fast, and Novelty Hill’s estate vineyard, Stillwater Creek is ripening quickly too.  Harvest began in August here on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills for the first time since the vineyard’s first harvest in the early 2000s.

Vineyard director Ed Kelly offered up a few interesting stats to put the season in perspective.  In 2011, Stillwater picked its first block of Merlot on Oct. 7; in 2013, the vineyard harvested its first Merlot grapes on Sept. 18th; in 2014, the vineyard picked the first load of Merlot on Sept. 16th.  This year, Stillwater Creek harvested its first bin of Merlot on Aug. 28th, an astounding 41 days earlier than 2011.

The season’s been a blur, so we are particularly appreciative of our friends at HOOT Studios who visited Stillwater Creek on Sept. 7th to capture some beautiful pictures of the site just before harvest kicked into high gear.  View photos on our Facebook page.

Summer Wedding Bliss

weddingSummer is always a busy time of year for weddings in Woodinville Wine Country, and we were thrilled to have had the privilege of sharing this incredibly personal and important day with several very special couples this season.  Receiving recognition from KOMO News as one of The Top 5 Wedding Venues This Summer and a blog on the winery as told through the gorgeous work of ij Photo was the frosting on the proverbial cake.

If you are planning your own wedding now and thinking about décor, remember lighting can have a big impact.  The latest issue of Seattle Bride offers some excellent ideas, including creative designs from Taylor’d Events by Jen and Simply Wed at the winery.

Of course, hearing from a happy couple after the celebration that we exceeded expectations is what our goal with every wedding, so it was wonderful to receive this review on The Knot from one of our August brides.

It is not too early to begin thinking about your own wine country wedding.  Dates are already booking for summer 2015, and while a summer wedding is magical, our winter weddings have a beauty all their own.  For more information or to request a proposal, please contact us.

15 90+ Rated Wines

weFrom top-rated wines to top-rated destinations, Novelty Hill Januik has been in the news quite a bit recently.  We liked the Four Seasons magazine’s description of us as a “pair of outstanding wineries overseen by one extremely talented vintner, Mike Januik” in an article highlighting top Woodinville winery destinations.  We also agree with Leslie Kelly’s list of 30 Dishes and Drinks that define Seattle in zagat.com.  She lists our pizza as a top happy hour pick, with Wednesday Wine’d Down in mind, no doubt.

Then there is the July 2014 issue of Wine Enthusiast magazine that include a whole host of highly rated wines from both Januik and Novelty Hill.  Have a look:

95 pts. 2012 Januik Bacchus Vineyard Riesling

95 pts. 2011 Januik Reserve Red

94 pts. 2011 Januik Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Syrah

93 pts. 2011 Januik Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

93 pts. 2011 Januik Klipsun Vineyard Merlot

92 pts. 2011 Andrew Januik Stone Cairn Cabernet Sauvignon

92 pts.  2011 SWC Cab – Cellar Selection

91 pts. 2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain

91 pts. 2012 Novelty Hill Stillwater Creek Viognier Editor’s Choice

91 pts.  2012 Novelty Hill Stillwater Creek Chard

91 pts. 2011 Novelty Hill Stillwater Creek Merlot

91 pts. 2011 Novelty Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

90 pts. 2011 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

90 pts. 2011 Novelty Hill Merlot, Columbia Valley

90 pts. 2012 Novelty Hill Stillwater Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

Why Rhone Rules in Washington State

rhone-bottles-blogRhône wines as a category, including wines made from such stellar red grapes as Syrah and Grenache and aromatic whites including Roussanne and Viognier, carry the geographic name of their origin.  Originally cultivated in the Rhône Valley of France, these complex, collectible wines of character are now planted the world over, with France, Australia, Spain and Argentina leading the way.

In Washington State, there are significantly fewer acres of Rhône grapes grown than Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay or Riesling, but plantings continue to expand here, in part due to the increasing attention Washington Syrah has gained world-wide.  As with any great wine, the key to its success is found in the vineyards.  Grapes are grown in Eastern Washington’s dry, arid Columbia Valley, where the combination of warm, cloudless summer days and cool fall evenings produce wines with ripe, full flavor and excellent acidity.

Syrah, originally grown in the Northern Rhône, provides the backbone for the prized bottling of Hermitage, Côte Rôtie and St. Joseph AOCs, among others.  The grape thrives under the hot growing conditions of the Northern Rhône, and the same is true in the Columbia Valley.  Washington Syrah is remarkably diverse, bringing a sense of place to every bottle, with styles ranging from brooding and savory to ripe and fruit-forward.

At Novelty Hill’s estate vineyard, Stillwater Creek on the Royal Slope of Washington State’s Columbia Valley, Syrah is planted on a south-facing slope in soils filled with fractured basalt.  Stillwater Creek Vineyard Syrah comprises a significant portion of Novelty Hill’s Columbia Valley Syrah.  It yields deep, concentrated wine grown from clones 1, 99, 174 and Joseph Phelps, making Stillwater Creek home to one of the most diverse Syrah clonal selections in the state.

Grenache Noir, the world’s most widely planted premium red grape, is just coming into its own in Washington State. Originally cultivated in the Southern Rhône Valley and made famous the world over by the outstanding wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache was first planted in Washington in the 1960s but the vines proved susceptible to Washington’s cold winters, and growers nearly walked away from the grape.  Since the turn of the millennium, however, vineyard owners have become more selective about where they plant Grenache, yielding decisively better results.  At Stillwater Creek, winter weather is a bit milder than other parts of the Columbia Valley, allowing the variety to thrive.  During the growing season, the vines are cropped for low yields, resulting in medium-bodied wines with a textured mouth feel and refined tannins.

Viognier, Northern Rhône’s most widely planted white grape, came close to near extinction at one time when plantings slipped below 100 acres in the tiny AOC of Condrieu.  While plantings in Washington remain small, this richly aromatic wine has a loyal following, and white wine lovers looking for an alternative to Chardonnay particularly favor it.   Sometimes co-fermented with Syrah, Novelty Hill Viognier stands on its own, consistently earning 90+ ratings.

Like Viognier, Roussanne was originally cultivated in the North Rhône but is now also grown in the south.  It is another white Rhône wine prized for its aromatics.  The grape derives its name from the russet or “roux” color of the grape skins.  At Stillwater Creek, more than one visitor has commented on the soil’s similarity to the Rhône, perhaps one reason why Rhône varieties like Roussanne thrive here.