Specialty Club – November 2012

2009 Januik, Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Mike Januik is one of the true masters of Washington wine, from his days as the head of fine wines for Chateau Ste. Michelle to his current stewardship of Januik and Novelty Hill. And he has always been on the cutting edge; as far as we know, he was the first Washington winemaker to make a wine from 100% Petit Verdot. The fabulous wine in this month’s club is from one of the best sites for Cabernet in Washington, Champoux Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills, originally planted in 1972. It is 100% Cabernet, and includes grapes from Block One (the 1972 planting) and several other more recent plantings at Champoux. It’s a classic Washington Cabernet, with plush dark fruit, cassis, and spice. It’s full-bodied, dense, and smooth, with layers of fruit, and very well integrated oak and tannins. At this point, it is still quite tight, but give it five to seven years in your cellar and then pair it with a steak dinner. It’s $56 and in relatively decent supply.

2010 Benjamin LeRoux, Auxey-Duresses
Auxey-Duresses is a village in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune. Historically, it has taken somewhat of a back seat to other, more glamorous and better-known villages in the region. But this will no doubt change, especially as rising stars like Benjamin LeRoux become better known. Ben got his start at Comte Armand in Pommard, where he rose to become head winemaker, and even worked the harvest at Domaine Drouhin in Oregon in 1996 and 1997. He started his own winery in 2007, specializing in buying fruit from small growers in relatively under-appreciated villages. He’s recently opened a new facility in Beaune, which he shares with the legendary Dominique Lafon. This Chardonnay is a beautiful example of a white Burgundy: pure and expressive; floral, yet crisp. It would pair well with everything from ham and fish to onion soup. Enjoy it while Ben’s wines are relatively unknown in the States and still affordable ($39.75). Lovely now, it will really develop over the next 2 to 3 years if you have the patience.