Novelty Hill Merlot 2009
The blend includes 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Cabernet Franc. It's tight, herbal and earthy, with a scent of forest floor. As it opens, it adds layers of wild berry, bramble, graphite and leaf, all in good balance. This has lovely proportion and follow through, as in all of the Novelty Hill reds.
A Novelty Hill 2009 Merlot appellated 'Columbia Valley' and comprised of fruit from Alder Ridge and Stillwater Creek displays candied Morello cherry, vanilla and almond extract, its confectionary aura slightly awkwardly allied to notes of green herbs. Polished in texture as are most wines from Mike Januik, and satisfying in terms of sheer length (with a hint of pit piquancy adding attractive counterpoint) if not in any way intriguing or complex, I suspect this will be best enjoyed over the next couple of years.