Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review: *** $$ Cameron Hughes Lot 103 Napa Valley Meritage, 2006, Napa, CA - Wine Review and Rating

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Original review, October, 2009:

By way of background: This Cameron Hughes Napa-based blend, Lot 103, comprises 50% cabernet sauvignon from Rutherford; and from both Rutherford and St. Helena, 35% merlot, and 15% carmenere. It comes in at a hearty 14.5% alcohol.

In the glass: CH 103 is a dusty medium red, almost pinot-noir-like in its overall tone. Not moving towards opacity, even in the middle of the glass.

On the nose: A bold, young, purple but deep experience. Ripe plums are deepened by a touch of oak.

On the palate: A solid, sweet, dusty-tannin opening in the front and center of your mouth; Full-on black currants and fresh, fully-ripe blackberries ride the fruit along your tongue and up the sides of your cheek.

And the finish: A dark charcoal hint comes in at the close, along with a rebound of the light sweetness that started the sip.

In summary: A solid experience, very young still to be sure - and in want of decant at least. Three stars on the Spirit of Wine scale, as it doesn't drive a particularly memorable impression.

Updated review, about two years later, October, 2011:  Color is the same.  The nose shows more red berries than plum now, but hints of plum and oak remain.  Palate and finish are remarkably consistent - although the overall tone has moved brighter, ending with cheek-curling acids remaining for a long finish.  Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Settled in nicely with a longer, sleeker, slightly inky palate, and fresh finish with balanced acids.  Very solid with this longer air time.  Following even longer decant, another day kept cool in partially filled bottle:  Starting to break apart slightly now, with fruit being replaced in some respects by vegetable. 

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