Saturday, September 22, 2012

Updated Review: **** $ Cameron Hughes Meritage Red Wine, California, 2009 - BEST VALUE

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By way of background, opening thoughts: Cameron Hughes is a negociant, buying grapes and wines at prices that are designed to provide good value for money.  This is one of the more "generic" labeled bottlings from this provider.

Original tasting and review, September, 2011: This is Cameron Hughes Meritage Red Wine, California, 2009, finished at 13.6% alcohol, a blend of equal amounts merlot, cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot.

In the glass: CH Meritage is deep burgundy in the glass.

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows deep and full berry with distinct elements of oak.  From the aroma, seems like this will be full, aromatic and rich.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact quite close to what was anticipated.  An aromatic mid-palate is the first note, bringing dark violets and deep red berries.  Soft in overall mouthfeel, there are still noticeable acids percolating around the edges.  The finish is simple but clean.

In summary: Overall, a deep, pleasant experience that rates three stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  At a discounted retailer price, this becomes a best value.  It misses that designation at the list price. 

Following decant, three hours in flat-bottomed decanter:  The aromatics and depth knit together much better on the palate now.  Gains a plus for this integration with a dosing of air.  Even at the undiscounted price, this would be a good value now.  Following longer decant, day and a half kept cool in partially opened bottle:  Exotic and deeply perfumed.  Soft, sweet, luscious, perfumed, with layers of lavender, violets, cocoa and light silty tannins.  Hits four stars now and becomes a crazy best value. I recommend plenty of breathing time for this bargain-priced beauty. 

Updated review, over a year later,  September, 2012:  Still deep burgundy in the glass.  Shows bold fruit and menthol on the nose.   Held all of the palate elements that were consistent with the decanted version of this when younger:  purple violets, cocoa powder and layered tannins.  Outstanding.

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