Cameron Hughes Latest Releases Reviewed Winter 2007

Cameron Hughes Holiday 2007 Lot releaseLet’s cut to the chase, as I’ve written about Cameron quite a few times before. (Feel free to search)

The following are my reviews of his current releases and a couple of bottles that I previously reviewed that were corked. As always, I taste the wines twice, sometimes three times: first upon opening, second after 1/2 – 1 hour, third after 1 hour.

Lot 33 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District
Price: Sold out
ABV: 14.5%
Notes: This limited 500 case production wine sold out already, but I have no idea why. The nose is cloying, with hints of licorice & tar. This lackluster wine is boring on the palate and finishes with minimal raspberry notes.
Score: C+ (78-80 pts)

Lot 35 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Yountville District, Napa
Price: $14
Abv: 13.8%
Notes: This wine is pretty forgettable. It’s raspberry, earth, and leather nose is very hard to smell. A medium to thin body with mediocre tannins, this is definitely not the best juice the area has to offer. Perhaps it will improve over the next few years, but I’d say your money was better spent on a different lot.
Score: B- (80 pts)

Lot 36 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford, California
Price:$14
Notes: This ruby purple wine opened up after an hour to reveal dark chocolate, cherries and blueberry, but a whiff of green bell pepper just upon opening. The medium bodied texture gave way to a tannic finish. This wine needs some time in bottle, but is not a bad effort. Drink 2009 – 2012.
Rating: B (84-86 pts)

Lot 39 2005 Shiraz Barossa Valley, Australia
(90% Shiraz, 10% Viognier)
Price: $12
Abv: 15%
Notes: Here’s a good mid week wine. The ruby colored effort has a dusty nose with hints of cherry and raspberry. The medium bodied finish is a bit tart, so I’d pair it with food as opposed to drinking it alone. Drink now.
Score: B (84-86 pts)

Lot 43 2005 Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma
(80% Zinfandel, 15% Syrah, 5% Petite Syrah)
Price:$12
Abv: 15%
Notes: I was a bit disappointed by this wine as the nose seemed pretty nice, but the fun pretty much stopped there. It is a bit thin and tart with a cranberry like finish. This bottle was a bit hot and lacked depth and character, but would be fine as a tweener opened over the next few years.
Score: B- (80 pts)

Lot 47 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley
(80% Cabernet, 20% Merlot)
Price: $20
Abv: 14.5%
Notes: Here is your winner! This beautiful wine is pure Napa Valley and reminded me of 40 – 60 dollar wines of the same caliber. The dark purple color envelopes the glass and draws your nose in, greeting it with blackberry, vanilla, and a touch of toasted oak. The round tannins are supple and refined, yet stand up on your tongue and declare that this is a very well done effort. Drink now or over the next 5 years. This is the best wine of the group. Unfortunately it’s very limited, with only 400 cases available so snatch it up now. (Update: this wine is sold out on the website, possibly some left over in Costco)
Score: A (92 – 94 pts)

Lot 48 2005 Meritage Napa Valley, CA
(80% Rutherford, 20 % Oakville, [50% Merlot, 20% Cabernet, 15% Cabernet Franc, 8% Malbec, 7% Petit Verdot])
Price: $12
Abv: 14.5%
Notes: For those of you that are drawn towards a more earthy, less fruit forward wine, this is the bottle for you. A very nice nose with leather, tobacco, and earth that transforms into a touch of plum on the medium bodied well textured palate. A very nice finish that lingers for 30 seconds plus.
Score: A- (90-92 pts)

Lot 57 2006 Chardonnay Carneros, Napa Valley
Price: $12
Abv: 14%
Notes: This wine comes nowhere close to the Rombaueresque Lot 30 that was a huge bargain. This effort is very acidic and reminded me more of a Sauvignon Blanc than a Chardonnay, with a palate that is overpowered by lemon zest and oak.
Score: C+ (76-78 pts)

Note: It seems that prices have crept up over the past year, which would be fine if quality had done the same, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Continue to check back here, or sign up on the right to receive updates via email so you don’t get burned by a ho-hum bottle in the future.