2004 Cameron Hughes Priorat Lot 49 – $10.00


My comments

This is a perfect example of the perceived power of the Wine Advocate.  In February 2007, Jay Miller bestowed the dreaded 89 points on a upper $30s Priorat.  Knowing it would be a hard sell, the 2004 Celler Joan Simó Priorat Les Sentius is labeled as 2004 Cameron Hughes Priorat Lot 49.  I don’t know the exact selling price of the Cameron Hughes version, but I got a case for $10 a bottle.  Even though the label and capsule are all Cameron Hughes, the cork labeling holds the truth.


This is a blend of 48% Grenache, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 10% Carignan.


My first Cameron Hughes wine was their 2003 Cameron Hughes Pinot Noir Lot 8 Arroyo Seco.

Winery history

Cameron Hughes Wine is an American négociant that makes, imports, and distributes ultra-premium wine under four wine brands; The Lot Series, Hughes Wellman, CH Collection, and Zin Your Face.  We are nationally distributed and carried in chains, grocery, broad market, on premise and online at our vertically integrated Web store, chwine.com.


Cameron Hughes Wine was founded by Cameron Hughes and partner Jessica Kogan who are dedicated to delivering truly exceptional wine at real world prices.  This has been their mission since starting their company in San Francisco more than 10 years ago.


Much more information and current wines available at their website.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red color.  The slightly rustic nose has cherries, raspberries, dried herbs, crushed stone minerals, baking spices, and earthy underbrush.  This has medium body, fairly solid tannins and good acidity.  This is in a nice place today with some air, but additional cellar time will be rewarded.  89 pts

2004 Cameron Hughes Priorat Lot 49




2006 Carlisle Syrah James Berry Vineyard – $48.00


My comments

For some absurdly stupid reason, I only bought one bottle of this wine.  I know this will improve with more cellar time, but it’s calling my name.  Since I’m leaving on a business trip tomorrow, I might as well give into temptation.


Winery history

We are a small Sonoma County winery specializing in the production of old-vine, vineyard designated zinfandels and red Rhone varieties (syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and petite sirah).  While we like our wines to be bold, rich, and intensely flavored, each reflecting a sense of place, its origins in the vineyard, we also strive to create wines of balance, complexity, and perhaps most importantly, pleasure.


Rich.  Lusty.  Hedonistic.  These are some of the descriptors we often hear applied to our wines.  However, we also hear the words elegant, balanced, complex.  Yes, through hard work in the vineyard and winery, we believe you can have it all, the best of both worlds.  Our approach to winemaking is simple, yet difficult.  We prefer to intervene in nature’s process as little as possible but we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to maximize the quality of each wine we produce.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark ruby color.  The deep and dark nose has smoked meat, black berries, black cherries, licorice, black pepper, Asian spices, minerals, and some earthiness.  This is fairly full bodied with solid, ripe tannins, and very good acidity.  Loads of spicy, peppery, mineral laden berries on the palate with some meaty and earthy notes coming in on the back end.  The long finish seems to linger forever.  This is still on the young side but is drinking very nicely with a good amount of air.  (94 pts)

2006 Carlisle Syrah James Berry Vineyard




2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence Russell Family Vineyard – $66.33


My comments

This is another of the non Pinot Noir wines Brian Loring has produced.  Thus far, every one has been outstanding.  This wine is 75% Grenache and 25% Mourvedre from Paso Robles.


Winery history

My name is Brian Loring and my obsession is Pinot Noir.  OK, I’m also pretty crazy about Champagne, but that’s another story.  While in college, I worked at a wine shop in Hollywood (Victor’s), where one of the owners was a Burgundy fanatic.  So, my very first experiences with Pinot Noir were from producers like Domaine Dujac, Henri Jayer, and DRC.  Needless to say, I found subsequent tasting safaris into the domestic Pinot Noir jungle less than satisfying.  It wasn’t until I literally stumbled into Calera (I tripped over a case of their wine in the store room) that I found a California Pinot Noir that I could love.  But it would be quite a while before I found someone else that lived up to the standard that Josh Jensen had established.  I eventually came to understand and enjoy Pinots from Williams Selyem, Chalone, and Sanford, but I really got excited about California Pinot Noir when I met Norm Beko from Cottonwood Canyon at an Orange County Wine Society tasting.


I’d made about 3 trips around the booths at the tasting without finding a single good Pinot Noir.  So, being the open minded person that I am (remember I passed him up 3 times), I stopped at the Cottonwood booth.  I was BLOWN away by Norm’s 1990 Santa Maria Pinot Noir.  After a few years of attending every Cottonwood event and asking Norm 10,000 questions about winemaking, he offered to let come learn the process during the ’97 crush.  I checked sugar levels, picked, crushed, punched down, pressed, filled barrels, and generally moved a bunch of stuff around with fork lifts and pallet jacks!  It was the time of my life… I was totally hooked.  And even though I hadn’t planned it, I ended up making two barrels of Pinot Noir.  That was the start of the Loring Wine Company.  What had started out as a dream 15 years earlier was now a reality – I was a winemaker!


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep ruby red, much lighter at the edge.  The very pleasing nose has blackberries, cherries, earthy underbrush, minerals, baking spices, and some dried herbs.  The wine has a full body, fairly solid, ripe tannins, and good acidity.  The palate is loaded with spicy, juicy berries, but it’s not all about the fruit, there is also nice minerality, dried herbs, and earthiness coming in on the back end adding depth and complexity.  The fairly long finish is a nice continuation of the palate with some additional baking spices and dried herbs kicking into high gear.  This is on the young side, but absolutely delicious today.  (93 pts)

2010 Loring Wine Company Convergence Russell Family Vineyard






***** Shameless Self Promotion *****


Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.








Wines bought or received this week

I picked up 2 bottles of 2009 Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve yesterday.  These were from my local store’s weekly e-mail offer.  After getting their special price, my 5% discount, and using a couple of older $10 gift cards, my cost was just a touch over $50 a bottle.





Remember to support your local wine store!




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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.