Monday, October 17, 2011

Review: *** $ Cameron Hughes Lot 175 Merlot, Napa, CA, 2007 - BEST VALUE

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Original Tasting and Review, opening thoughts: Cameron Hughes is a negociant, distributing numbered lots of wine that are designed to represent good value from various winemaking regions.

By way of background: This is Cameron Hughes Lot 175 Merlot, Napa, CA, 2007, finished at 14.8% alcohol.  It started life as Havens Merlot, before being sold off.  Available as CH Lot 175, a bargain-priced Napa merlot.

In the glass: Medium deep magenta.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, this shows ruddy and oaky red currant, with loam overtones. 

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a charcoal, oaky, dark fruit.  Sweet, deep plums below, buttressing the darkest elements, bringing an underlying sweetness and fruit to the mix.  Finishes clean, with bold alcohol heat.

In summary: Overall, rates three full stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, and best value at Cameron Hughes' low price.

Following long decant, two days kept cool in partially-filled bottle: Now the aroma is a bold red currant.  The palate is smoother and blended, almost too generic now.  Drink Lot 175 right from the bottle to preserve its interesting interplay of elements.

Updated review, over a year later, October, 2011: Aroma is shy red berries with a hint of oak. Palate shows red currant berries and light charcoal oak with bold alcohol, but not well-integrated. Bright finish ends in the cheeks.
Find prices and retail availability for Cameron Hughes merlot.

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