Friday, August 20, 2010

Review: *** $$ Cameron Hughes Lot 176 Pinot Noir, Los Carneros, Napa/Sonoma CA, 2008

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By way of background: This is Cameron Hughes Lot 176 Pinot Noir from the Los Carneros area, around Napa and Sonoma counties, California. Negociant Cameron Hughes has built this 2008 offering with a bold 14.5% alcohol.

Original Tasting and Review,  August, 2010:

In the glass: CH Lot 176 is medium ruby red in the glass. 

On the nose: This Los Carneros Pinot Noir is poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously.  A pungent just-underripe cherry aroma lifts from the glass with a dry leaf undertone.   

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are a well-balanced mid-palate, showing lightly sweet cherry candy, solid smooth minerals, apparent but not overwhelming acids, and just a hint of tannic grip.  Slightly short, but completely clean finish. 

In summary: Overall, a pleasant, medium-weight, solid red berry pinot noir experience. Rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Following a long decant, two days kept cool in a partially-filled bottle:  Now, on the nose, light cherry mixes with char-broiled marshmallow.  The palate is still pleasant and balanced, with a bit more acidic lift coming through.
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Updated review, about a year and a half later,   November, 2011:  Interestingly, I just reviewed Cameron Hughes Lot 276, exactly 100 lots later, which was also coincidentally a Los Carneros pinot noir, from 2009.  So this will be an interesting juxtaposition.  It still shows medium red in the glass.  Poured cool with a brief decant, a vegetable undertone hides behind the apparent fruit.  On the palate, full, sweet cherry fruit, with notes of broccoli in the background, but an overall sense of sweetness and fun.  Lot 276 is clearly more serious in its pinot noir-ness.  But Lot 176 is still tasty and a  lot of fun.  Same area. Same grape.  Such different wines!!   

Following long decant, full day kept cool in partially filled bottle: Cherry marshmallow on the nose.  Quite consistent palate.  Soft, fun, but somewhat decaying offering.

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