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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Novelty Hill Stillwater Creek Chardonnay 2005

Novelty_HillNovelty Hill is a relatively new Washington winery that got off to an excellent start by hiring former Chateau Ste. Michelle winemaker Mike Januik, who promptly produced two Wine Spectator 90-rated wines — a Merlot and a Cabernet Sauvignon — for the label's first vintage.

That first vintage was no fluke, as Novelty Hill's reds have been consistently highly rated. When I saw that their under-$20 Chardonnay had earned a 93-point rating from Wine Enthusiast, it moved to the top of my short list of Wines to Try.

And sure enough, it's delicious. Malolactic fermentation gives it a creamy mouthfeel, and its pear and vanilla fragrance is followed by more pear, apple, and tropical fruit flavors on the palate. The French oak is well integrated, and nicely complements the fruit without overpowering it.

This wine shows best when drunk cooled as opposed to cold. For the creaminess and flavors to be at their best, try putting a room-temperature bottle in the refrigerator for about half an hour before serving.
Anonymous, 10:45 AM