Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: ***+ $$ Cameron Hughes Lot 156 Syrah, Mendocino County, CA, 2007 - GOOD VALUE

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Original Tasting and Review:

By way of background: This is Cameron Hughes Lot 156 Syrah, Mendocino County, CA. The 2007 vintage is finished at 14.5% alcohol.

Original review, August, 2010: 

In the glass:  Cameron Hughes Lot 156 Syrah shows as medium-deep burgundy in the glass, consistent color right to the edge.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Mendocino syrah shows a lively and lush, red currant and blueberry aroma, lifted by the strong alcohol.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a dark and edgy tannin as the first note, bringing a surprising oak and charcoal darkness to what you would have expected to be a pure red fruit.  Solid acidity and tannins back the now-still-hidden fruit, suggesting lots of room for bottle age and/or a long decant.  We'll give both a try. 

In summary: Two stars on the Spirit of Wine scale for the solid structure, with a plus for distinct promise for the future.  Solid showing at a value price.

Following long decant, two days kept cool in partially-filled bottle: A bit of oak mixing with fruity black currant.  Now a hint of charcoal just pokes out from behind a lush mid-palate of deep oaky blackberry. Full three stars.  I highly recommend the long decant.  Looking forward to seeing this with a couple more years in the bottle too.
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Updated review, over a year later,  November, 2011:  Color almost opaque throughout, but not quite.  Ripe blueberries on the nose.  Now the palate is lush and still brimming with brightness.  Sweet, deep black berry fruit and lightly smoky oak robes covering up any bare spots. Fades away on waves of rich red berries.  Three stars with a plus for full-bodied friendliness.  Good value!  Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Now has ink added to the nose.  Consistent, lively palate. And even longer decant, two full days:  Palate is pulling out longer, like stretching Silly-Putty.  Soft and generous complexity in the inky flavors.

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