Monday, January 2, 2012

Updated Review: **** $$ Cameron Hughes Lot 157 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville, Napa, CA, 2007 - BEST VALUE

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By way of background: This is Cameron Hughes Lot 157 Cabernet Sauvignon, Yountville, Napa, CA, 2007, finished at 14.9% alcohol.  Cameron Hughes is a negociant, purchasing available grapes and finished wine in an attempt to bring high value close outs to customers, typically without full disclosure of the vineyards from which the vines have originated.  In this case, the Yountville, Napa, offering comprises 94% cabernet sauvignon and 6% syrah.


Original Tasting and Review:  August, 2011:


In the glass: CH Lot 157 is deep, velvet, ruby red in the glass, with elements of brick and purple at the edge.  The brick highlight is unusual in a young cabernet.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this Napa cab shows a fresh, mineral, lifted-red currant fruit, carried up by the strong alcohol level, but bringing a nice bright clarity, like fresh-washed laundry.  

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are red fruit wrapped in a dusty, tannin-laced robe.  It is primary and youthful with its tangy fruit, which will settle considerably with age or longer decant.  But even now, the balance is solid.  Finish shows a touch of charcoal and lingers a long time on waves of alcohol and fruit.

In summary: Overall, a solid, balanced and bold offering. Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus on top of the three stars, because of the anticipated mellowing with time.  Good value.

Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially-filled bottle:   The aroma is consistent, now missing the fresh laundry overtones.  On the palate, the tannins have settled to a sweeter, creamier overall feel, more balanced than before.  Still three stars plus, this time the plus is not for its promise, but for its proven, balanced power.
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Updated review, about a year and a half later,  January, 2012:  Consistent color, with the purple highlights having faded.  Aromas are consistent and still quite fresh.  Powerful, perfumed and potent on the palate, offering a balanced and intense Napa new-world experience.  Touches four stars and becomes a best value.  The overall impression now at five years from vintage date is one of red fruit, potent tannins and excellent balance. 

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