Friday, August 28, 2009

Cameron Hughes - the New World Negociant

Why do I review so many Cameron Hughes Wines - because they are all so damn good and affordable. Cameron chooses only THE best juice, most of the time a lonely pair of high-end wine in barrel just sitting there waiting to be blended with other lonely high-end barrels. What happens next is magic. The magnificent expensive wines, called his Lot Series, are blended, labeled and put on the shelves of Costco stores at an incredible price. Because of the small lot sizes - sometimes only 200 cases, Cameron is constantly scouring the world for the best of the best. Wines priced at $10 - $15 would normally sell from $30 - $100 if they were bottled at their original winery. As a result, Cameron's business model has turned his winery into one of the fastest growing wineries in California. That is saying alot in this economy. The reason is clear - a good solid business model, premium wine at an affordable price point. You will also start seeing Cameron Hughes Wines under the Flying Winemaker label - sold at restaurants and retailers. You will now be able to try a glass of wine while dining in your favorite restaurants. The Wine Attic will also be offering these wines on our eStore.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Family Winemakers Trade Event

There were so many wineries at the Family Winemakers Trade Event at Ft. Mason on Sun/Mon that I didn't even get to all of them. I may have tasted half of what seemed like 400 wineries in attendance. I found several stellar, small production wines that will soon be available at eStore. Please keep checking in to see us.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Palate Press

Two weeks before launch of the new on-line wine magazine. Check out my articles in this new media for wine information.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

2006 Decero Malbec, Mendoza Argentina

Decero Malbec 2006 (SnoothRank: 3.5/5)
Argentina > Mendoza (August 2009)
Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina is a great food pairing wine. The Decero vineyards are planted in the highest region,Agrelo, 3500 ft. in Mendoza at the Andes foothills. The wines are all single vineyards. Every process is meticulously done by hand. The Malbec is from the Romolinos Vineyard where tiny whirlwinds dance along the vineyard rows, hence the name. myRating 3.5/5

Cameron Hughes Lot 134, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand

2008 Sauv Blanc from Marlborough NZ
- another great NZ benchmark wine. Lots of grapefruit and good acids. Aged shortly in neutral oak barrels. Crisp, yet floral, this wine does have a long finish for a Sauv Blanc. This is nice to drink by itself before dinner. Otherwise, enjoy with a fresh mixed green salad, chopped carrots, fennel and celery root. Drizzle with EVOO and white balsamic vinegar. Top with grilled prawns from the BBQ.

2007 Cameron Hughes Shiraz Lot 131

Cameron Hughes Shiraz Lot 131 Mclaren Vale 2007 (SnoothRank: 3/5)
(August 2009)
From McLaren Vale, Australia, this downunder wine is yummy, fresh fruit forward on the palate, spicey yet velvety finish. Pairs well with a variety of wild meats such as venison or kangaroo. But also would do well with a porcini mushroom dish or even chopped ahi tuna, with chopped walnuts, drizzle chinese hot oil on top. myRating 3.5/5

2007 Cameron Hughes Lot 132 Chardonnay Paso Robles

A great Paso Robles Chardonnay from Cameron Hughes Wine.
This is a high-end reserve. Honey on the nose. Pineapple, bright acidity, tropical fruit on the palate. This wine did not go through full ML. Aged in new oak. A very nice food friendly wine. Serve with poached halibut with (my favorite) mango salsa with red bell pepper and a little chopped

'Cantele Salice Salentino Riserva' 2002 (SnoothRank: 3/5)
Italy > Puglia > Salice Salentino (August 2009)
I so enjoyed this wine - make sure it's the Riserva. Salice Salentino is the DOC and the wine is made from Negroamaro. A dark garnet color, nice berry fruit and long finish. We were lucky to see the 2002 on an Italian restaurant menu. We chose the pasta dish with a slightly creamy tomato sauce with ground lamb. Delicioso! myRating 3/5

Wine Attic August Wine Club

The wine selection for the Wine Club of our 4 small production wines is on our Tasting Notes pages on the website. One of the labels is from Bodegas Paso Robles, Dona Blanca - a wonderful summer wine. You will want to custom frame this label - it is very artistic and from one of Dorothy Schuler's favorite artist. (Dorothy is an award winning winemaker from Paso Robles and is a featured winemaker with Women of the Vine Cellars).

Wine Attic launches it's August Wine Club

Check out our 4 selections for the August Eclectic Wine Club. We choose from hundreds of wines and pick the top 4 for each club shipment. Go to our website to sign up and to view our eStore of wonderful, small production wines. We also offer exclusive wine tours through Hotel Cheval in Paso Robles.

Cameron Hughes Lot 117, Grenache Blanc, Viognier Santa Barbara County

Cameron Hughes Lot 117 Santa Barbara County 2007 (SnoothRank: 3/5)
USA > California > Santa Barbara (August 2009)
Grenche Blanc and Viognier is one of my favorite white wine blends. It certainly rounds out both varietals to make a refreshing yet complex wine. And, Santa Barbara County produces excellent white wines. Peach, dried peach, apricot, dried apricot, honeysuckle, orange blossom, spiced orange, vanilla, oak , honey, mineral are all found in this delicate blend. myRating 3.5/5

Monday, August 3, 2009

Lucchesi Vineyards & Winery

What a delightful surprise to enjoy the wines and hospitality of Lucchesi Winery in the heart of Grass Valley. Megan McCreary runs the tasting room, very knowledgeable and will take you through a very nice tasting of the Lucchesi family's wines. I discovered that Cab Franc grows well in this region of rich clay soils. The 06 Cab Franc has nice cherry, cola flavors. It really stood out.
GOLD! Grand Harvest Awards
GOLD! Calaveras County Fair
GOLD! Orange County Fair

The 06 Zin with cinnamon and glove, dry cocoa powder is also very enjoyable and a very nice 05 Petite Sirah.

Lot 130 Cameron Hughes

Lot 130 2007 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County - another great Cameron Hughes premium wine at under $14 bucks. Very nice! Pineapple and honeysuckle nose, creamy but yet nice acids with citrus flavors, grapefruit on the palate - not over oaked, long finish. Well-balanced. Deliciously paired with BBQ chicken basted with apricot-chipotle sauce. May be able to find Lot 130 at Costco for less.