Monday, December 9, 2019

Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon Trio Tackles Washington State Terroir

Cameron Hughes Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington

Looking for a premium Cabernet experience on a budget? Check out these blockbusters from Washington State.

A Game Night

So our holiday weekend was winding down. We still had house guests and wanted to continue with our escapades. We decided to have a game night and make the night truly “game” by doing a side-by-side tasting with three bottles of Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon by Cameron Hughes.

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If you like wine and are not familiar with Cameron Hughes, you should be. Cameron Hughes is a négociant – without vineyards or winery – that purchases surplus wines and negotiates the best price for you. The wine is given a lot number and sold under the Cameron Hughes label. At a time where a 90-point Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is more than $150 a bottle, you can get the same wine at about a third of the price through Cameron Hughes.

The vintage for our tasty trio is 2016 and the prices are all $25 or less.  We were to discover that each pleasantly exceeded our expectations.

Lot 660 is a delicious Red Mountain CabernetHail Columbia

Our wines for the evening were: Lot 637 2016 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Lot 660 2016 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and Lot 628 2016 Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Being familiar with the big Cabs of Red Mountain, I poured Lot 660 into a decanter to mellow.

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We started with Heads Up, a version of charades where you put your cell phone or tablet on your forehead while your friends give you clues to help you guess the word. After a period of chaos that caused my mother-in-law to go scrambling to her Hallmark movie, we moved on to the word game Quiddler.

The first sip was Lot 637 from Columbia Valley. This wine, retailing for a mere $14, is from a boutique producer using grapes from Wahluke Slope and Yakima Valley.

This is a plush wine with blackberry and cherry notes. There’s just the right amount of earthiness. It’s aged in French oak for 16 months yet remains soft and juicy. Lot 660 was the top pick of our daughter and her boyfriend.

So Nice They Named It Twice

One of our favorite cities is Walla Walla, Washington. It has a great small town feel and its dotted with outstanding restaurants. Tasting rooms featuring bounty from its famed namesake wine region line the main streets.

The Lot 628 Walla Walla Valley Cab is from “one of the oldest wineries in the Walla Walla Valley with perhaps more Cabernet growing experience than anyone else in the entire state.” We have a pretty good idea of the winery – and that’s great news. At only $19, it drinks like a $40 or $50 Cabernet.

While we sipped this great wine, our players started getting creative with their words, coming up with some gems like “zirt” and “sterger.” The wine turned out to be much better than their word choices. It offers plums and blackberry with accents of pepper.

Red Mountain Summit

Two visits to Red Mountain have captivated my palate. The wine from this small (1,500 acres) AVA are big, bold and beautiful.

Decanting is highly recommended for Lot 660, which retails for $25. This is an intense wine, but the decanter works wonders. On first sip this is vibrant raspberry and cola exploding in the mouth. Following the elegant fruit notes, more savory notes of leather and cocoa are evident.

It’s a reserve quality bottle that I’d expect to pay $75 or more to enjoy. After a couple of glasses my attitude changed: “It’s obvious that you are creating a fake Quiddler word, but go ahead, I’m just going to continue sipping my Red Mountain Cabernet and enjoy. Happy sterger!”

Cameron Hughes is ideal for wine lovers and bargain hunters. The wines are only available via their website. The wines are highly recommended. Please note that the wines on offer change frequently, so if you see something you like, don’t delay.

Full Disclosure: These wines were received as marketing samples.

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