Tuesday, August 31, 2010

**** $$$$ Hughes Wellman Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa, 2006 - Wine Tasting & Review

Original Tasting and Review, opening thoughts: Cameron Hughes is a wine negociant known for value-based wines.  Hughes Wellman is a break from that tradition, being a premium-priced and premium-sourced blend.

By way of background: This is Hughes Wellman Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa, 2006, a blend of 97% cabernet sauvignon and 3% peitite verdot, finished at 14.5.% alcohol.

In the glass: Hughes Wellman cab is deep purple magenta, opaque from within a quarter inch of the edge of the glass.

On the nose: Poured cool with no decant and swirled, this Napa cabernet shows inviting, brooding aromas of sweet black currant, dark wood and hints of graphite.   

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are sweet and lush ripe black cherries, super-sweet ripe plum, and a flush mineral sleekness.  Don't let all the "sweet" references throw you off, though - the full package is wrapped in intense, lush tannins, moving this far away from "sugary" and much more toward the "luxurious" category of sweetness.  This could certainly age effortlessly, but seems to want no further age or decant to be fully enjoyable right now, four years from vintage date. 

In summary: Overall, full-throttled, lush and luxurious experience. Rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  A real stand out.

Following long decant, two days kept cool in partially-filled bottle:   Aromas stay consistent.  The palate has adjusted in an interesting way: it has lost some lushness in favor of a brighter acid element.  Perhaps that would make it more interesting with food, but it seems that it was bigger and lusher immediately from the bottle.

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