Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cameron Hughes Lot 324 Napa Valley Atlas Peak Chardonnay, 2010

Cameron Hughes is a California-based negociant that buys up excess wine and juice from producers anywhere in the world. Partners in life as well as in business, Cameron Hughes and Jessica Kogan have impeccable tastes. When the product meets their standards, they bottle it under the Cameron Hughes label and sell it for a fraction of what the original producer might have asked. Particularly in Napa, many top-name wineries are leery about selling leftover wine at discount for fear that doing so might damage their reputation and pricing structure. The Atlas Peak appellation on a bottle is prestigious...and pricey. This Cameron Hughes bottling cost me $12 at World Market.

Medium deep yellow. Aromatics are WOW--citrus, citrus peel, flowers and spice. Lots of oak. In fact, I really can't find any smell or taste that I connect with Chardonnay. No complaints, though; the hedonistic pleasures are undeniable. Rich satiny finish. Glides right down the palate.The fruit finally becomes apparent in the long finish. "Euphoric," Cam writes. And it's hard to disagree.

This is not my style of wine, but there is no denying its dramatic appeal. It's something you might hope to find in a $30 to $35 bottle of Chardonnay. For $12.99, you can enjoy it all the more often. And it's likely to get better as the oak integrates more into the fruit.

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