Monday, December 24, 2012

Updated Review: ***** $$$ Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, CA, 2009 = BEST VALUE

Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Cameron Hughes cabernet sauvignon.

By way of background, opening thoughts: Napa Valley is the classic United States location for classic cabernet sauvignon.  Cameron Hughes is a negociant focused on providing value-priced wines at any price point.  For each 100th lot, Cameron Hughes is trying to go all out with a hyper-value.  So this 300th lot is garnering quite a bit of interest, even as it comes out at one of the highest CH price points. (Typically, the Cameron Hughes cabernet sauvignon's come in at the value-price or medium-price points.)  But as a Napa Valley cab and a centennial lot number, CH Lot 300 is no doubt seeking to make a statement about classics and high value.

Original tasting and review, November, 2011: This is Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, CA, 2009, finished at 14.5% alcohol, with touches of malbec and petit sirah, and sourced from a range of vineyards around Napa Valley, including Oakville and Rutherford with smaller amounts of Atlas Peak and Stags Leap, from a producer that is said to produce no wines at costs less than $100 US a bottle.  Aging is 18 months in primarily new French oak.

In the glass: Lot 300 is deep mahogany in the glass, deep red at the edges.  Not opaque anywhere - somewhat surprising given the high alcohol. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows deep cassis and substantial eucalyptus, with ripe red berries and oak bubbling along the edges.  From the aroma, seems like this will be substantial, juicy, with lush layers.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact dark milk chocolate on the palate, followed by ripe blackberry fruit.  Almost surprisingly gentle tannins and acids in a predominantly deep, rich, fruitful, sleek experience. Finish is easy but lengthy.

In summary: Overall, full, layered experience rates four stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.  Good potential for age.  In its youth, a solid wine and great experience, and providing value consistent with its premium Cameron Hughes price point.

Following decant, three hours in flat bottomed decanter:  softer red fruit on the nose.  Incredibly friendly palate of integrated fruit, chocolate and silty tannins.  Almost coconut creme chocolate overtones.  Very nice.   And even longer decant, two days kept cool in partially filled bottle:    Sweet and integrated fruit on the nose.  Silty, soft and integrated palate, coconut chocolate creme comes through big time.  Adds a plus for extreme pleasure.  Good value.  And after a crazy-long decant, three more days kept cool in partially-filled bottle, total of five days:  Wow.  Still solid and integrated, with consistent and intense flavors.  A real rip-van-winkle. 

Updated review, over a year later,  December, 2012:   Color and the juicy nose are entirely consistent with one year earlier.  Classic, earthy, silty chocolate creme on the palate.   Bright and soft and layered and deep all at the same time.  Finish gently yields into your upper cheeks.  Holding up extraordinarily well - now just touches our top rating: five stars.  Becomes a best value, even with its high end roots and price point.

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Check out today's pricing and retail availability for Cameron Hughes cabernet sauvignon.

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