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October 13 Winemaker

The Novelty of Cheap Wine

It’s no secret that you don’t want to pay through the nose for great wine.

While there are the lucky few of us who can afford to cough up excessive amounts of sophisticated drops, the rest of us mere mortals down here on earth don’t have this type of luxury.

Another thing to consider in this is how long a bottle of wine is going to last you. I can’t speak for everyone, of course – however, the more an evening wanes, the faster the wine tends to diminish. This means that when buying and drinking good quality wine, I’ve got no choice but to think about the price tag.

Tom Ryder was speaking your language then when he described Novelty Hill Winery. He feels confident enough to say that they produce terrific mid-priced wines on a consistent basis – which he also feels confident enough to point out that this is a novelty in this day and age.

If you’re a red wine fan, you’re not going to want to go past these guys. The rumor mill has it that their cabernet sauvignon, Bordeaux-style blend, and Syrah are all absolute winners, while comfortably keeping within the budget for most people.

Now, I’m also here to try and convince you of a black sheep of the wine family – Chardonnay. Along with these delicious reds, Novelty Hill has also tried their hand at making the world’s driest white – and I think they’ve gotten away with it.

Stillwater Creek is where the owner and operator Mike gets all his grapes from – and despite the name, the cup still doth overfloweth based on the reputation that they’ve garnered over the last few years.

Let’s talk terroir. We’ll leave out the boring bits like the levels of limestone and other such sediments, and skip straight to the good stuff. Wine critic Paul Gregutt has named Novelty Hill as one of the top 20 vineyards in the state – and we think the terroir has something to do with this.

Because Mike likes to spend all his time working and none of his time playing, the winery has expanded to become an events center and wedding venue. I personally couldn’t think of a better way to get hitched to someone than be surrounded by my favorite affordable wines.

With its first vintage in 2000, Mike has led Novelty Hill to victory season after season, producing incredibly satisfying wines that don’t come with a jaw-dropping price tag.

Novelty Hill Wines

Chardonnay: you don’t usually think of summer fruits like pear and apple when it comes to Chardonnay. However, this magical mix has completely turned it on its head and instead produced the type of Chardonnay that may just go down well in any circumstance – not just with dry cheeses.

With just a hint of spice and a creamy, rich finish, you’re guaranteed to be glad you went out on a limb and tried Chardonnay again for the first time in years.

Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: hold onto your hat – this vintage has been rated 90+ not once, not twice, but eleven vintages in a row. Let’s just let that sink in. Yup, this wine has been at the top of its game for eleven straight years.

It’s hardly worth describing – this fact sells itself. But I know you want to know, so I will. You get a generous dose of plum, currant and black tea flavors that ride gently over fine tannins. The finish is long and expressive. Enough said.

The Novelty of Stillwater

Stillwater Creek Vineyard Syrah: it’s time to get earthy with the wine, and reach into the deep aromatics of the Novelty Hill Syrah. With dark plum being balanced out by sweet blackberry, this is a robust and vibrant wine that you’ll struggle to put down.

We could be facetious – however, let’s save us both some time. Wine is often more appreciated when it was bought at a reasonable price. Novelty Hill is living proof that you don’t have to get out a second mortgage to experience the taste of good quality wine that’s truly nothing short of excellent.

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