Monday, December 21, 2009

Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006

A few months ago I had the opportunity to visit the Januik Winery in Woodinville, WA. This week my sister-in-law visited the winery and inspired me to open a bottle of Januik Cabernet. Januik is owned by winemaker Mike Januik, who's got a rather impressive resume. Mike, who is a UC Davis grad, was the head winemaker for 10 years at Chateau St. Michelle, which is literally right around the corner from Januik. In 1999 Mike left that rather enviable position to go out on his own and start Januik, and I for one am glad that he did it. He is making some very nice wines, which are quietly getting some critical acclaim. He has made more than a dozen wines that have made Wine Spectator's Top 100 list, and Wine Enthusiast has named him as one of the world's ten "Masters of Merlot." Today, however, my topic is his very good base level Cabernet.

The Januik Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2006 is sourced from some of the top vineyards in the Columbia Valley including Champoux, Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval, and Weinbau. It is made from 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc that is aged in primarily new French oak. In your glass you get a deep reddish-purple color. The bouquet brings aromas of blackberry and cassis with a hint of vanilla and cedar. In your mouth you get a very pure expression of what you just smelled on the bouquet. Blackberry and cassis are front and center with a little bit of vanilla in a supporting role. The wine is fruit driven without being over extracted. Smooth, pleasant tannins provide some backbone, and the finish on this wine is not overwhelming but very nice and sneaky long.

Overall this is a very nice Cabernet that is a great expression of Columbia Valley terroir and the Washington style. Retailing in the $25 t0 $30 range, I find this to be a very nice value that drinks just as well as a lot of $50 Napa Cabs. This would pair very well with any grilled red meats.


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