Monday, August 2, 2010

Meatball Contest

I don't want to brag but I did win the meatball contest at Cameron Hughes Wine headquarters.  I was running against a New Jersey Italian with roots south of Naples and a young  hotshot Chef.  I mixed a concoction of ingredients from my old Sicilian ancestors' recipes.  Then made an awesome sauce to go with it; we call it gravy instead of sauce.  Wine to go with this - Lot 161 is my favorite on www.chwine.com.  It's a Meritage with 50% cab, 40% cab franc and 10% Merlot.  I love this because the cab comes from a very expensive wine program and I love cab franc.  A perfect match with this hearty, spicy, Sicilian sauce (gravy).  I have to admit, the other meatball submission were good too.  All the meatballs entries tasted different because of the different meats and ingredients used.  Mine was 1/2 ground veal, 1/2 ground beef stuffed with a cube of smoked mozzarella.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

2006 Steppe Cellars Artisima Red Wine Blend

Steppe Cellars Wines
I'm just tasting this delicious blend from Columbia Valley.  I needed a red wine for a meatball cook off and while making the sauce, I saw that I did not have a chance yet to try the 2006 Artisima from Steppe Cellars.  The bottle was given to me by Chris and Barb Cary from yakyakwine.com, a wine Blog from Yakima,  to critique while I was attending the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla this past June.  Five grapes, 33% Cab, 33% Merlot, 15% Malbec, 10% Petite Verdot, 5% Cab Franc, make this wine fruit forward with a nice smooth finish.  Sweet chocolate cherry nose with a touch of tobacco, dark ripe cherry, cinnamon, blackberry on the palate, smooth finish with a little white pepper.  Very nice.  Drink now.  The fruit is showing nicely and don't think it will improve with age.  It is very drinkable now.

So back to my meatball recipe, I only put in GOOD wine in my sauce.  I thought the balanced fruit in this wine would compliment my sauce.  I do want to win this.  Never use inferior wine in recipes.  Don't use what you wouldn't drink. 

So as 8 oz. goes into the pot I proceed to have the rest with dinner of roasted chicken and sauteed garlic, green onions and broccoli - it went well with the combination of herbs (flat leaf parsley and fresh sweet basil) and spices I used.  After dinner, I still had some wine in my glass and enjoyed it with a few pieces of Almond Crunch.  Now I wish I hadn't poured so much wine in the sauce!

Columbia Valley is an interesting wine regions that needs more notoriety.  The wines are exquisite from here.  The terrior is different and unique which produces some of the finest wines that can compete with the best of regions. 

The Columbia Valley AVA is Washington’s all-encompassing region with some 11 million acres of land in all. Included within its confines are six other American Viticultural Areas (AVA) including Yakima Valley, Red Mountain, Walla Walla Valley, Horse Heaven Hills, Rattlesnake Hills and Wahluke Slope.

Check out this wine site http://wine.appellationamerica.com/wine-region/Columbia-Valley.html to learn more about it. It is a must visit.  You need to stay at least one week. There is plenty to do in Washington.




Tuesday, June 22, 2010

2007 Lot 172 Atlas Peak Cabernet Cameron Hughes

2010 RESULTS
                Double Gold Medal Cameron Hughes Wine 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lot 172, Atlas Peak $22. www.chwine.com
                Gold Medal Cameron Hughes Wine 2007 Meritage, Lot 161, Sonoma $16. www.chwine.com

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

2007 Lot 172 Atlas Peak Cabernet Cameron Hughes

Unfiltered, unfined in appearance.  Hot summer, cherry blossom nose.  You can even imagine bees humming in the air, fresh green grass under your toes. The wine has a dark purple rim, looks rich and full-bodied.  Fruity, dark ripe cherry, blueberry on the palate.  Earthy, tar from volcanic intrusion, oak on the long finish.  Slight sediment.  Wine will do well with a couple of years aging.  Do not disturb this wine.  Not necessary to decant.  A delicious wine with food.  Try with a fillet or any grilled meat with grilled pineapple.
Lot 172 soon to be released.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lot 157 Cameron Hughes Cabernet

Here's another one that won't last long, just released, '07 Lot 157 Cab from Yountville, Napa Valley.  9% syrah adds to its complexity and on the earthy finish.  Dark bing cherry color, with a sweet cherry, cinnamon aroma and fruit-filled mouthful.  Tobacco, tar on the long, velvet finish.  This is a delicious food wine.  Serve with roasted pork topped raisin chutney, side of grilled root vegetables.  The wine is ready now because of its fruitforwardness.  Don't think it will get too much better with age.  Does not need to be decanted.

More on Yountville, CA.

Lot 148 Cameron Hughes Chardonnay


Just released, the '08 Lot 148 Char from Santa Barbara, nice creamy, butter on the nose and with its color golden, making it look rich, teasing us and letting us know that we are about to have a complex chardonnay. Very pleasant fruit on the palate, pear and banana. This wine is one that a traditional Napa (oaky, buttery) chardonnay drinker will love.  Even though it is said to have slight ML, it does have enough to show butter but in contrast it has a balanced acidity resulting in a spicey finish, slight oak.  Overall, this is a great wine for $13 bucks, as good or better than any $30 Napa chard.  Great chardonnays come out of Santa Barbara.  Lot 148 lives up to their high-end standards.

The wine would be excellent with or without food.  For the menu, this can be enjoyed with chicken alfredo as well as grilled wild salmon.

Click here for more on Santa Barbara chardonnays.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

2007 Lot 165 Cameron Hughes, Pinot Noir, Los Carneros

Very elegant Pinot,  combines Burgundian, California style wine.  What I mean by that is that is does have the smokey, delicate aroma and feel from Burgundy, yet the soft fruit berry forwardness of a wine from California.  This is a fine wine, beautifully showcased in the glass by its perfect color.  I can drink Pinot with most anything but my favorite would be a grilled wild salmon with fresh and spicey mango salsa and an aromatic, steamed Indian basmati rice.  For the mango salsa, include a chopped a seeded jalepeno pepper and red bell pepper.  The wine is available now for about $18.  But it sells out fast - that's because most of the lots are small. 

Wine Bloggers Conference, June 25

Who is going to the Wine Bloggers Conference?  I missed the sign up for the wine tour on June 25.  But I found a really great, customized tour person, Lori Fischer, who will take us to the best wineries in the area - 6 - 8 wineries for only $50/person.  Are you going to be up in Walla Walla on June 24?  I really want to go with her but I need more people to join the tour.  I am going to the conference by myself.   Thanks!!  Here's Lori's contact info:   Lori Fischer, Owner, The Fischer House
www.thefischerhouse.net
www.winerytourswallawalla.com
Call:  509-540-9518 for reservations

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Lot 169 Cameron Huges Merlot Napa 2007

Just released and another killer red.  Even when first opened, it is delicious.  No need to decant.  Fruit, fruit, fruit!  This is better than any $50 Napa Merlot.  Great structure.  Fruit showing now, luscious plummy, cinnamon, hint of red licorice.  Soft velvety tannins.  This is certainly drink now wine.  Aging may be for only 2-3 years - because it can't get any better than this.  The soft oak finish is very nice.  Only $15/bottle, this won't last long.  I'm even drinking it with a grilled chicken deli sandwich loaded with red onions and olive tapenade on a French roll.  Yummy!  A great wine for parties, where this would be a definite crowd pleasing wine, with or without food.  This is really an elegant wine. Cameron Hughes does it again.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I can't believe that Crystal didn't win

Two years in a row, Idol was wrong.  I'm not going to watch next year.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Cameron Hughes Lot 144 Syrah Los Carneros


Lot 144 Los Carneros Syrah is deep garnet-to-burgundy in color with an inky center and intense color concentration to the rim. A nose of dark berries, juniper, and hints of Darjeeling sets the tone for this wine. Accents of dried earth, rosemary, and thyme occupy the bouquet, which opens presenting Rhone-like characteristics. Round on the front- and mid-palate, its full body and integrated tannins provide a bold, yet honed, finish.

And of course the BEST news is that this wine is priced under $10 and available now at the following Bay-area Costco stores: Woodland, Redwood City, Santa Clara, Mountainview, Livermore, Danville, El Camino Real, Richmond, Modesto, Concord and Fremont. If your store is not on the list, no worriesdeliveries will continue on this great Syrah.

Cameron Hughes Takes Advantage of the Wine Glut - WSJ.com

Cameron Hughes Takes Advantage of the Wine Glut - WSJ.com

After this article came out on Friday, Cameron Hughes Wines have been overwhelmed with orders.  The phones are ringing off the hook.  I have been reviewing CHWine for almost a year and I haven't had one bad one (maybe one chardonnay).  What this article says is what I have been telling you - HIGH quality wine for under $10.  Example, Lot 144 Syrah is $8.99/bottle.  It is outstanding.  Please read the Wall Street article.  It is very interesting about the wine industry and what is happening to all the highly priced  wines................

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lot 165 Pinot - buy this one!

Lot 165 Cameron Hughes Wine


  • Vintage:  2008
  • Appellation:  Los Carneros
  • Grape:  Pinot Noir
  • Alcohol by volume:  14.1%
  • Production:  792 cases
  • Release date:  April 23, 2010

Taste: Magenta center with a crimson rim. Aromas of crushed raspberries, strawberries, and violets populate the nose alongside hints of black cherry. On the palate, this wine soars with vibrant acidity and opulent bramble fruits. With both feet well in the new world, this lavish Pinot has great balance and superior structure. The fruit continues to evolve as this wine departs with a long finish of soft tannins and lingering berries.

90 + Wines from Cameron Hughes


Lot 125 Pinot from Cameron Hughes - one of the best pinots I have ever had

Pinots from Cameron Hughes - sign on and order quick


Monday, April 26, 2010

Cameron Hughes Wine: Hughes-Wellman 2006 Cabernet

2003 Stolpmann Sangiovese Estate Grown, Santa Ynez Valley

I was lucky to find this in my stock to go with my handmade beef ravioli.  I made a delicious tomato sauce with garlic, onions, crimini mushrooms, parsley and fresh chopped tomatoes (a little wine in the sauce doesn't hurt).  Needless to say, the wine was perfect.  I did decant it and it brought out a its bouquet.  Santa Ynez Valley, where this vineyard is located has calcareous soils and ideal weather for sangiovese.  Stolpmann Winery is an award winning winery.  You will be extremely pleased with their other varietals as well.  These wines do well with aging.

2001 Turley Pesenti Zin

When moving AGAIN, I had to transport my library stash of wines.  I found a '01 Zin and thought "oh no", this will be too jammy for me.  I have found that Zins, especially from Paso Robles, don't age well.  They become much too fruity for my tastes.  In fact, I am just about over the "over the top" alc and fruit forward wines.  Unfortunately this wine was too "thick" and fruity for me, even though I had it with ribs smothered in BBQ sauce.  The rest of the wine though I used for a delicious reduction sauce which is perfect for a nice juicy NY steak.  My advice is to drink your California Zins within 3-5 years.  The Turley Winery is an excellent winery and Pesenti was one of the original wineries of Paso Robles.  The Pesenti vineyard is old vine zin.  In the front of the Paso winery, there are some of the original vines, I believe are over 100 years old.  Wines from Turley are $$$.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Amigos Grill*cocina Mexican y cantina

Long story as how I found Amigos Grill but what a find.  They have the best Margaritas I have EVER had.  The feature is the Don Pilar tequila. The producer of this tequila and owner of the restaurant, Don Pilar, makes an excellent tequilla as well has a restaurant with an extremely comfortable, relaxing atmosphere to enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine.  The Margaritas are presented and then the bartender tops it off in front of you with a generous amount of Grand Marnier.  It is the most delicious Margarita you will have here in California and I have had quite a few - here and in Mexico.  The food is autentico Mexicano.  Fun atmosphere.  They are having a Cinco de Mayo celebration - so brace yourself for a crowd including a Mariachi band.  It should be lots of fun.  Good food, wine and tequila!!!  See you there on May 5.  This restaurant is located in a remote location off of Alpine Rd off Hwy 280 in Portola Valley.  It's worth the trip.  Good people, good food, good tequila.

Monday, April 19, 2010

2008 tangent Sauv Blanc

Wow - I've always like this producer.  The Sauv Blanc from Edna Valley - Paragon Vineyards is one of my favorite wines for the summer.  Careful, you can drink the entire bottle yourself.  Delicious with or without food.  Crisp, clean and bright.  Nice grapefruit and green apple.  Enjoy best as an aperitif with cheeses.  One of my favorite is to pile thickly shaved parmesan cheese on a serving dish with water crackers.  A great snack when you are just lounging on the couch.  Stock up on this wine for the up coming hot summer.  Christian Roguenant, tangent winemaker, is an outstanding, award winning winemaker.

2008 Cameron Hughes Lot 165 Pinot Noir


From Los Carneros, Lot 165 '08 Pinot is a delicious wine, beautiful color, clear, soft fruit and finish.  A very delicate wine that I enjoyed sipping on while preparing dinner (my favorite thing to do).  I grilled salmon with garlic pepper and lemon; then placed it on top of sauteed vegetables of shitaki mushrooms, asparagus and red onions.  This Lot may not be released yet.  If you can't find it, buy up the '07 Lot 125 Pinot from Carneros also.  This wine is awesome and one of the best Pinots I've ever tasted.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Upcoming Winery Events in Amador County

Upcoming Winery Events in Amador County

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Cameron Hughes Wine Lot 138, Cabernet, Santa Barbara

This wine is almost sold out.  No wonder.  For $8.99, you get one of the best cabs from Santa Barbara.  Nice cherry fruit on the palate, soft tannins.  This wine is good sipping by the glass or paired with food.  I had a glass while cooking dinner.  Then I had a glass with my pasta with marinara sauce, hot pepper flakes and parm on top.  It was all delicious.  Then I had another glass after.  This wine is very easy to drink and goes down smooth.  It's amazing that the price point is only $9 bucks.  It's worth 3x as much.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Karen's Bakery Cafe and Catering

Karen's Bakery Cafe and Catering

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Cameron Hughes Wine Lot 161, 2007 Meritage Sonoma County

Yummy, jammy nose, lots of fruit.  The juicy fruit and smooth tannins allows this wine to be drunk on its own or with food.  This '07 is very drinkable now.  A little pepper on the finish, this wine was ready to bottle and Cameron got all the credit.  It's delicious.  Buy a case - it's not only a Monday wine; it's a Saturday Steak Night wine.  It certainly went well with my New York Steak that I got at Molly Stones (I love that store) and it wasn't even effected by the big fat artichoke I steamed with creamy mayo.  A perfect Monday evening for me listening to KSCM.org (jazz).  There is nothing better than a good bottle of red ($8.99), a good steak and some happening Jazz.  The quality of this wine is 3X the price point. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CONCHA Y TORO TEMPORARILY SUSPEND OPERATIONS AFTER EARTHQUAKE

I couldn't even copy a photo of their vineyard here  because their website is down.  Viña Concha y Toro, Chile's largest winery, issued a statement yesterday saying "our company, as well as the rest of the industry, have been heavily impacted by this catastrophe," referring to the catastrophic earthquake (8.8 on the Richter scale) that hit February 27.  The company has had to temporarily suspend all of its logistic and production operations for at least one week.  However, they are focused on "assessing the scope of this unprecedented event and resuming normal operations as soon as possible."  The central coast of Chile, which is the heartland of wine production, endured the most damage.  Seven-hundred people are reported dead and hundreds are missing.  Chile's government has implemented a state of emergency in the areas of Maule and Bio-Bio in response to massive damage to the country's infrastructure.  Says the company: "Fortunately no personal tragedies amongst our employees and their families. However we have already been able to assess serious damage to some of our main wineries which are located in the worst affected areas. This includes important loss in wine and production capacity. A more detailed assessment of the exact magnitude of these damages is currently being completed." 

Thursday, February 25, 2010

2007 Lot 152 Cabernet, Cameron Hughes, Alexander Valley

Nice representation of a cab from Alexander Valley/Sonoma County.  Sweet cherry aroma, dark cherry on the palate and smooth tanins, light pepper finish.  I had my favorite dinner of steak au poivre smothered in sauteed crimini mushrooms.  I add a little A1 Steak Sauce.  The raisony/orange tastes of the A1 Sauce blend well as a food pairing with Lot152.  The dinner pairing was so good, I almost drank the entire bottle myself.  Grab these other Cameron Hughes wines that have been discounted to move.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2007 Lot 149, Cab Cameron Hughes Wine, Napa

Video Wine Tasting
Like a Rutherford or an Oakville cab, this wine is super fat. There are certain types of wine that we send in to the critics, looking for low- to mid-90-point scores—and this is one of those wines. This wine came to us from the same winemaker that crafted Lot 143, another great Cabernet from Howell Mountain. Lot 149 comes from Mount George (located just back behind Napa proper), which has recently been a trending region in the wine world. We sourced this wine from a vineyard located just next door to famous Cabernet producer Jarvis—it has amazing soil for vines, but it just hasn't been assigned an AVA yet. If you like an enormous Cabernet, this one is a steal for $22. - Cam

2007 Lot 164 Cab, Cameron Hughes Rutherford

Nice!  Who can argue about a great cab from Rutherford for around $20 bucks?  This was a true showing of the Napa cab grape  Full bodied, fruit and smooth yet spicey finish.  I had this with one of my favorite dinners of grilled rib eye and sauteed mushrooms.  I love A1 Steak Sauce because of its raisony/orange flavors.  I put a bit of this while sauteeding the mushrooms.  Don't skimp.  Sauteed a pound of mushrooms with garlic and parsley.  Sauteed a pot of sweet onions too.  Smoother the steak and drink a bottle of this cab.  Lot 164 will not disappoint.  CHwine has some great deals on line now.  Lot 164 medium plus to full body.  A great Rutherford wine.  Great value!
Vintage: 2007
Appellation: Rutherford
Grape: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol by volume: 14.5%
Production: 650 cases
Release date: December 15, 2009
Drink/Hold: Now and through 2029

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

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1999 Schug Cabernet Sauvignon

Wow. How wonderful to be able to enjoy a 1999 Schug from Sonoma Valley. This winery is a great place to visit www.schugwinery.com. I have great memories of visiting this winery several times throughout the last eleven years. This wine ages well, be secure in the fact that this is a hand-crafted, low production winery. You can drink now but store and age for later celebrations.

2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmody McKnight, Paso Robles

I opened this bottle in celebration of my daughter having her 1st child, my 1st grandchild, four days ago.  Her husband BBQ's a steak and I thought what better time than to open a special bottle of 10yr cab from Paso.  I had the pleasure of working at Carmody McKnight over 6 years ago in 2004.   The property is a must see and must tasting through all the wines, understanding the terrior in this special place.  A beautiful location for weddings, picnics, celebrations. I remember driving in the gate for the first time and thinking, yikes, how pretty, I am actually working here!  Being from the Bay Area, this scenery was certainly amazingly wonderful.  In addition the family who owns the winery is also the most caring people.  I just loved them when I worked there.  And, they take you in as family. As for the 2000 cab, it is tasting very fine.  The tannins smoothed out, the fruit is perfect, chocolate, cherries, and a pepper finish.  A licorice nose starts out the pleasure of how amazing this wine has stored over the ten years since it was bottled.  Unfortunately I did not buy a case of this.  Carmody McKnight's winemaker, builds these wines for laying down.  Make sure you buy a case of their cab, cab franc and blends.  They are gold medal winners.  Save these for a special occasion like me.  I love this winery.  So please visit and ask for Kathleen.  Her dad and mom are also so very talented.  Gary Conway is an outstanding artist and designs all the wine bottle labels.  Some of his art work is also at the winery.  It certainly is worth the trip.  Please click on www.carmodymcknight.comhttp://www.carmodymcknight.com for a great adventure.  They are the winery before you get to Justin Vineyards.  Justin bought 90 acres from the Conways in the early 80s and planted grapes.  Gary Conway followed, planting grapes, after having many other adventures.  Long story. Now CalPoly has been studying the terrior and other nuances about this special property of volcanic intrusion and limestone soils.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2006 Cameron Hughes Petite Sirah, Lodi



Whoa!  Here is another amazing find - guess Cam sold off the rest to Grocery Outlet because this is where I found this gem for $7 bucks.  This is a big, bold, fruit bomb.  Don't know what the normal retail was on this one.  But if I were you I would be buying up the last of this beautiful wine.  Clear, dark color and aromatic nose doesn't disappoint.  Drink now with or without food.  Another Best of the Best pick by The Wine Attic.  90pts.

Cameron Hughes Wine

Cameron Hughes Wine

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Facebook | Videos Posted by Cameron Hughes Wine: It's Friday... Lets Have a Wine

Facebook | Videos Posted by Cameron Hughes Wine: It's Friday... Lets Have a Wine & Cupcake Party! [HQ]

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Paso Robles Wineries Highway 46 East

Paso Robles Wineries Highway 46 East

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

2005 Cameron Hughes, Lot 54 Puissequin Saint Emilion


Lot 54 is a 2005  Puissequin Saint Emilion (merlot) that I discovered at Grocery Outlet.  I'm always poking around there to see what finds they have for sale.  They get end of vintage and wine where wineries need to get rid of some of their inventory.  So you know what a fan I am of the CHWine - I was elated when I saw three labels of the Lot Series at Grocery Outlet.  When I ran home to open the Lot 54 to taste it, I was very disappointed in its showing.  It was flat and hot on the palate. Something was wrong with its development. I knew that Cameron only picks the best stuff; so I corked it and put it in the pantry until the next day.  Twenty-four hours later, I tasted it again and there was a bit of fruit showing and was a drinkable everyday wine to have with food.  For $6 bucks it is a fair wine but needs to open up and drink it the next day. 

Tasting Room Tour | CHW Insider Blog | Cameron Hughes Wine

Tasting Room Tour | CHW Insider Blog | Cameron Hughes Wine

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Press | Cameron Hughes Wine

Press | Cameron Hughes Wine

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