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.
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Known mainly for bold reds, crisp whites, and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines...
Known mainly for bold reds, crisp whites, and distinctive sparkling and fortified wines, Spain has embraced international varieties and wine styles while continuing to place the primary emphasis upon its own native grapes. Though the country’s climate is diverse, it is generally warm to hot. In the center of the country lies a vast, dry plateau known as the Meseta Central, characterized by extremely hot summers and frequent drought. Because of its location on the Iberian Peninsula, many of Spain’s wine regions are located on or near the milder coast, either of the Bay of Biscay to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest, or the Mediterranean sea to the south and east. Each of these regions has its own unique soil, climate, and topography, as well as principal grape varieties.
In the cool, damp northwest region of Galicia, refreshing white Albarino and Verdejo dominate, though elsewhere the most popular wines are generally red. Rioja is Spain’s best-known region, where earthy, age-worthy reds are made from Tempranillo and Garnacha (Grenache), as well as rich, nutty whites from Viura. Ribera del Duero produces opulent, fruity, top-quality wines from almost exclusively Tempranillo. Priorat, a sub-region of Catalonia, blends Garnacha with Cariñena (Carignan) to make bold, full-bodied wines with a hint of earthiness. Catalonia is also home to Cava, a sparkling wine made in the traditional method but from indigenous varieties. Sherry, Spain’s famous fortified wine, is produced in a wide range of styles from dry to lusciously sweet at the country’s southern tip in Jerez. Since the 1990s, international varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc have been steadily increasing in importance in several regions.