Cameron Hughes Lot 321 2010 California Field Blend

Cameron Hughes Lot 321Price: $10
Maker: Cameron Hughes Winery, Geyserville, California
Variety: Red Blend
Packaging: 750ml bottle, natural cork
Alcohol: 14.5%
Our Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Cameron Hughes Lot 321 2010 California Field Blend is a really, really nice wine for a mere ten bucks. It’s a blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Carignane. Its aroma includes berries and licorice. The Zin is the predominant grape, and on the palate the first impression is lots of fruit – blueberries and raspberries. But then, the flavor expands into a rich complexity, with chocolate and chewy tannins. If you like complex Zins that exhibit good fruit without being simple and too sweet, you’ll like Lot 321. Continue reading

Stackable, Prefilled Wine Glasses

Stacked Wines MerlotWine merchants are always trying to come up with novel and convenient packages, and Stacked Wines has done just that: a 187ml container that is shaped like a stemless wine glass. The containers stack securely, and four of them are equivalent to a standard 750 ml bottle of wine. That’s a slightly larger pour than you’d get at your local restaurant, but I suspect they’ll get few complaints.

Stacked describes their container, dubbed Vinoware: Continue reading

Vendi Pinot Grigio 2009

Price: $6
Maker: CL Dolo, Italy
Variety: Pinot Grigio
Packaging: Bottle, artificial cork
Alcohol: 12%
Our Rating: 8.2 out of 10

Vendi Pinot Grigio 2009 Delle Venezie isn’t typical of the varietal. It’s pale straw color doesn’t lead you to expect an overwhelmingly fruity taste. Its flavors are pear and tropical fruit, and this wine is far less dry than most Pinot Grigios. Light acidity clears the palate, preventing it from being overly cloying. Continue reading

Barefoot Zinfandel (Update)

barefoot zinfandelPrice: $5
Maker: Barefoot Cellars, Modesto, California
Variety: Zinfandel
Packaging: Bottle, artificial cork
Alcohol: 13.5%
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10

It’s been five years since we looked at Barefoot Zinfandel (non-vintage), and it’s good to know that not much has changed with this very inexpensive wine. Continue reading

Buying Wine at Sam’s Club

Sam's ClubI’ve always found Sam’s Club to be a good place to buy wine. They have an interesting, if limited, selection ranging from inexpensive, mass-market wines to pricier fare. Some of their best offerings are inexpensive wines that are hard to find elsewhere. For example, after trying one bottle of the rather amazing Cameron Hughes Lot 250 Meritage 2009 that cost a mere $8, I hustled back for another half-dozen bottles. That wine is a one-shot deal – when it’s gone, it’s gone. Continue reading

Wine Gift Ideas

Wine Cellar Wine Glass Charms (Set of 6)I love this season, because all sorts of wonderful wine accessories pop up in stores.  Plus, it’s a time of year when you can get something a little odd or extravagant.  I searched my own accessories plus a variety of sites to come up with some clever ideas for a few wine-lover oriented gifts! Continue reading

Tilia Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Tilia Cabernet SauvignonPrice: $9
Winery: Tilia, Mendoza, Argentina
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, screw cap
Alcohol: 13.9%
Our Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Perhaps the strongest appeal of Tilia Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 is the ripe berry and licorice nose. On the palate, it combines cherry, red berry, and woody notes with an reasonably long finish. It’s on the light side for a Cab, though I didn’t really see the sweetness that a few reviewers noticed. This Cab definitely improves with some air. Despite aerating and a little breathing, the first sips were a bit harsh and not all that flavorful. An hour or two later, the wine was more pleasant and pleasantly drinkable. At first taste, I was thinking a sub-8.0 rating on my personal scale of 10, but after the wine sat for a while I found it more to my liking. Continue reading

How Long is Boxed Wine Good?

Bota BoxHow long does box wine last?

One of the huge advantages of boxed wine is that it lasts for a month or even more after being opened. This makes it very practical for glass-a-day drinkers who would find storing partially opened bottle wine problematic or wasteful. But, box wines aren’t perfect – it turns out that the bag-in-box packaging is very slightly permeable to oxygen, and after a period of time the wine will oxidize and darken. Continue reading

Cameron Hughes Lot 250 Meritage 2009

Cameron Hughes Lot 250 Meritage 2009Price: $8
Winery: Cameron Hughes Wine, Geyserville, California
Varietal: Meritage
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Alcohol: 14.6%
Our Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Cameron Hughes Lot 250 Meritage 2009 is a big, tasty red wine! It is fruity up front, with cherry and blueberry flavors, but maintains some complexity as it eases into a long, peppery finish with chewy tannins. If there’s a flaw, it’s that the nose is surprisingly minimal. It’s a Meritage, which means it’s a red blend that must adhere to a set of specifications. Continue reading