We featured the 2019 Januik Cabernet Sauvignon and knew we had found another winner with this label.
Mike Januik received a master’s in enology and viticulture from the University of California, Davis. In the late 1970s, Mike and his wife, Carolyn, owned a wine shop in Ashland. Sons Donald and Andrew were born shortly after that, and both have early memories of long afternoons in the cellar with their dad.
When the Januiks started their winery in 1999, the boys were in high school, working summers in the cellar. Fast-forward 20 years. Now, Mike can no longer imagine harvest without them. And Carolyn, who’s worn every hat at the winery except winemaking, continues to keep them on course.
One of the advantages of having made wine in the Columbia Valley since the mid-1980s is the opportunity it has given the Januiks to work with some of the most dedicated growers in the industry. The wines from the Columbia Valley region are made from a short list of vineyards that owner and winemaker Mike considers among the state’s best.
The grapes comprising this label are sourced from Weinbau Vineyard in the Columbia Valley AVA. After destemming and crushing, the grapes were fermented on their skins for nine days. After being pressed off, the wine was aged for 19 months in equal amounts of new and once-used French oak barrels. A small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon was added to the blend to help improve its already lengthy finish. Racking the wine every five months contributed to its remarkable suppleness and structure; 97% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Weinbau Vineyard is located on the Wahluke Slope near Mattawa. The vineyard is one of the oldest in the area and is known for its particularly fine silty loam soils. This talcum powder-like soil provides good drainage and heat retention. Thanks in part to its location at the eastern portion of the Wahluke Slope, the vineyard experiences more moderate temperatures that help create longer hangtime and ideal ripening conditions.
This dark, rich Cabernet Franc is loaded with blueberry, licorice, and red fruit notes in the nose. Elegant and supple on the palate, the wine displays an exceptional depth of balance. The long, polished finish was partially developed from aging in new French oak barrels.
Beef and venison would pair well with this wine.
It is no secret that Mike Januik has plenty of experience and credentials to back his winemaking, but he doesn’t care too much about all that. According to him, the wines speak for themselves, and he’d much rather everyone know that he was once a backcountry ranger; loves to cook; is as well known among family and friends for his fresh fruit smoothies and holiday eggnog as his Cabernet; prefers reading poetry to non-fiction; was once a whitewater river guide and sends text messages to his two sons about as often as he tastes through wines during harvest.