Being the “wine guy” with family and friends, I’m often asked about the best values. In fact, part of the reason I started this blog and podcast was to share these tips. Although I find great values to write about here quite often, what I encountered with the following wine falls into the “extreme value” category.
The reviews that follow are from a podcast I recorded with Cameron Hughes the last time I was in San Francisco. We covered his approach, sourcing practices and business model for over an hour; about 40 minutes of which was recorded. As fate would have it, this is the first podcast recording to inexplicably vanish since I started doing this almost 3 years ago. It’s really a shame, but Cam has agreed to re-record for an upcoming show in the next week or two. But I’m posting these reviews now because I don’t think there will be any wine left in two weeks time.
Cameron Hughes is a nÃƒÂ©gociant who specializes in bringing the best value for money to wine lovers. He does this by finding the best juice available — increasingly from outside of the U.S. — and blending and bottling under his label. He keeps his costs low by only selling online or through Costco stores here in the U.S. who take a much lower markup than other wine retailers. The result are some stunning wines at prices that make you wonder what he’s thinking. For example, the wine here could stand up to a $50 Shiraz and hold it’s own; Cam sells it for $20. When I asked him about his pricing practices, he smiled and said, “I’m making friends…”; then he opened this wine for us to taste.
Cameron Hughes, Lot 38, Shiraz, Barossa Valley, “100 year Old Vines” 2005 ($20/sample)
Very dark purple in color with aromas of blackberry, mocha, licorice and spice. Jammy and rich in the mouth with blackberry fruit and black pepper flavors finishing with moderately firm, but well integrated, tannins and good acidity. This is a big wine but it has massive fruit to balance the alcohol and a concentration that seems to only come from old vines. I’m going to let my bottles rest for a year or two before enjoying but it’s drinking very well right now.
I would suggest you buy this wine sooner rather than later as only 500 cases were released yesterday. Visit Cameron Hughes online to order (no Costco for this one).