As you know, we’re big fans of Cameron Hughes and what he’s doing. While Cameron started out as a classic négociant, buying and bottling individual lots of wine (hence the catchy name for each bottling) he has developed into much more. Today, he is a modern-day renaissance man of the vineyards.
Why, you ask? Well, it’s simple. After several years as a négociant, and more importantly as a man who develops relationships, Cameron Hughes has now involved himself much more deeply in every step of the wine-making process. Whereas in the past he may have been content to simply shop the market in search of great deals, today Cam is out in the field producing great deals from the ground up.
That’s not to say Cameron Hughes no longer ferrets out the greatest deals available in the marketplace and delivers them to you for a fraction of the original price. That part of the equation is still safe and sound. What has changed though is that now Cam is able to go right to the source and buy grapes from the finest growers, even work together to develop viticultural strategies that ensure you’ll be getting the best wine a vineyard has to offer at a price that can’t be beat!
Just look at the line-up Cameron Hughes Wines has on offer for Snooth members!
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Tangerine, pear, wood spice, fresh figs; rich and layered without being heavy and graced with a fine veneer of lightly nutty, lightly toasty oak. Lots of sweet fruit on entry with a rich, slightly soft feel up front followed by baked apple and apricot fruit on the mid-palate. The back shows a gentle edge of caramel with toasty almond notes. A fairly rich style of Chardonnay. Too bad we just had Thanksgiving, since this would have worked very well with a classic Thanksgiving meal. 88pts
2009 Cameron Hughes Lot 209 Los Carneros Chardonnay 14.6%
A bit woody on the nose with real vanilla bean character and sweet, toasty spice notes. The fruit is cool and crisp with apple and custard notes. With air there appear some pineapple lime and lime zest accents as well. Very fresh on entry, with a brisk feeling and rich, slightly creamy citrus and orchard fruit flavors. This has the oak very well absorbed and it really is contributing only a nutty foundation for the mid-palate. Rather seamless in the mouth and more focused on the backend with a nice icy citrus tone right through to the moderately long, pineapple-toned finish. This combines a lovely, tense mouthfeel with rich, ripe, yet restrained flavors. It makes me want grilled halibut! 91pts
2008 Cameron Hughes Lot 188 Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 14.5%
A nicely herbal note greets the nose, followed by more decisive mint aromas and some serious chocolate with toasty top notes and black currant fruit with a streak of veal stock. A bit tough up front with aggressive young tannins on entry backed up by blue and black fruits. The mid-palate feels a little compressed yet there’s plenty of structure here and just an edge of sweetness to the fruits that are framed with sweet, toasty oak. Nice length on the finish, and while the tannins remain prominent, there’s plenty of fruit to cover them. This needs another 6-12 months to really knit together, but is fresh and lively. Perfect for steak frites. 88 pts
2007 Cameron Hughes Lot 190 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 14.2%
Bright and crisp on the nose; with a fine top note of eucalyptus over lightly earthy black cherry and raspberry fruit, there’s a touch of earth here with hints of carob and green peppercorns. This is a slinky wine, all focused with pure red fruits and super integration of acidity powering across the palate. It’s perhaps a touch light-bodied, but its purity turns that into an asset. The tannins just barely poke through the fruit at this point and will soften with air, so this just gets better in the glass. Elegant and crisp on the backend with a slightly earthy finish that has a hint of black spice framing the red fruits. A slightly delicate Cab perfect for a roast filet. 90pts
2008 Cameron Hughes Lot 189 Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon 14.5%
Big mint, cocoa, toasty walnut, spice and balsamic tones frame the dark rich fruit with its notes of plum, spicy black berry and wild cherry. This is tight and focused up front with substantial youthful tannin and bright acidity supporting blueberry and blackberry flavors. There’s a nice overlay of toasty spices with a hint of Middle Eastern spice on the backend. The tannins are nicely dry and are balanced by the sweet fruit, lending this a firm, dense texture. The finish has an overlay of vanilla and then a long persistence of black cherry with good inner mouth perfume. A muscular wine in need of a rich dish. I think this would pair well with a deep pork dish seasoned with smoked paprika. 91pts
2009 Cameron Hughes Lot 187 Lodi Zinfandel 14.5%
Vanilla and a touch of coconut greets the nose with slow-to-emerge slightly jammy blackberry fruit that has a touch of coriander spice to it. Broad and open on entry with an interesting combination of black fruit flavors and savory, almost beefy tones all topped with a gentle floral aspect. This is rather restrained for Zin yet quite varietal with a gently spicy character and soft, dense, rich fruit. This is a solid Zin, almost an old-school take on the varietal, a bit rustic but long and powerful without being over-the-top. This would be a great partner for roast lamb or, even better, goat! 88pts