The most celebrated grape-grower in the history of Washington Cabernet establishes his own 5-acre Cabernet vineyard. Only one winemaker in Washington has access to it.
Cabernet fans, meet Andrew Januik’s Lady Hawk Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2019. The story itself compels those of us who love Cab to act—the unique and spectacular Cabernet that results from it is an absolute must-have.
Champoux Vineyard is legendary for Cabernet—it is the source of the highest rated Washington Cabernets, including five perfect scores (that’s 100 points for those doing the math). That makes Paul Champoux the most celebrated grape-grower in Washington wine history.
In 2002, in what turned out to be an auspicious year for Champoux Vineyard and its first 100-point score, Paul and Judy Champoux planted a small 5-acre vineyard adjacent to Champoux; Champoux Vineyard was a partnership and they wanted something that was just theirs. Lady Hawk Vineyard was hatched.
More than a decade later, young second-generation winemaker Andrew Januik was working on blends with his father, Mike, one of Washington’s most acclaimed winemakers. Because of Januik’s deep relationships with the best growers in Washington, they had long sourced Champoux fruit and had barrels of Lady Hawk Cab in the cellar. Andrew and Mike knew what a great site it was and that it needed to be a stand-alone wine. Andrew approached Paul and Judy Champoux about bottling it under his own label and they were entirely onboard; the whole team knew it would be this exceptional. If Andrew Januik represents the second generation of Washington wine, we should all be thrilled with what's to come. Don't wait—add these to your collection today.
$49.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($54.95 regular)
On paper, it's obvious there's something special about this small parcel of the Horse Heaven Hills and the grape-grower who made it famous. But the truth is in the bottle—and what mind-blowingly delicious truth it is.
This is a Cabernet that's too great for a simple email blast. If you and I have talked Cab or I know you to be a Cab fan, you'll get a separate note nudging you to try it. What makes me a super-fan is...everything. The aromas are like a Cabernet hug. The combination of cassis and black cherries, mint, dark chocolate, sun-baked earth, all carried on plush velvet where you can sense its texture while it envelops you in creamy Cab bliss. The whole thing is a rare tango of elegance and decadence. I tasted (drank!) it over four days and was enthralled with each sip. Andrew Januik was kind enough to carve us an allocation from the tiny 194 case production—considering how special this juice is, I highly recommend jumping on it.
$54.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($59.95 regular)
How do you follow up the Lady Hawk? You don't—this is its own beast, from a totally different terrain. Walla Walla's Southwind Vineyard is lateral to L'Ecole's Ferguson Vineyard. Andrew's block is at the top of the hill, 1500 feet in elevation, extreme, and exposed. As such, it is an incredibly low-yielding site and the grapes are tiny and thick skinned. You can sense that energy in Baba Yaga yet there's a wonderful tranquility to it, as if floats above the drama, positively beaming with raspberry and black currants, licorice and minerals. Andrew did excellent work in the cellar managing the tannins—my overall impression through multiple days tasting was one of surprising refinement. It'll be fascinating to watch it develop and have no doubt about it living a long life in your cellar. Incredibly limited, only 123 cases made.
Originally offered last year, wildly popular ever since
$39.95 in any 12 bottle or Build a Case order ($44.95 regular)
Us: All the hallmarks, all the trademarks of great Cabernet done masterfully. The notes below give a great range of aroma, flavor, and texture but where I differ from these two reviewers I respect: 1) this is absolutely the best Andrew Januik Stone Cairn and 2) if I were assigning scores based on all the Washington Cabs I've tasted this year, my score for this would be a couple notches higher. An all-star that's priced like a bench-player.
93+ points Jeb Dunnuck: "The 2018 Stone Cairn checks in as 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Merlot that was brought up in 50% new French oak. This deep ruby/purple-hued beauty gives up a great bouquet of crème de cassis, spicy oak, chocolate, and flowers. Beautifully balanced and medium to full-bodied, with both richness and elegance, it ranks with the finest examples of this cuvée I've tasted. If it was from Napa, it would be three times the cost. Drink bottles over the coming 10-12 years, if not longer."
94 points Owen Bargreen (Decanter, Vinous): "The 2018 ‘Stone Cairn’ by Andrew Januik is quite possibly the finest wine I have tasted from this talented young winemaker. The wine is dense and chewy now at the three year mark. The nose has really great range from tar and pipe tobacco to blueberry compote, mocha and loganberry preserves. The wine shows incredible decadence and a seamless texture. Once on the mouth this effortlessly glides across the mid-palate. This is big but has a great sense of elegance, as this beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon will cellar well for another decade or more. Drink 2021-2034."