Monday, November 30, 2009

Cameron Hughes Lot 115: Chardonnay

Cameron Hughes Wine
Lot 115
Russian River
Sonoma County
Geyserville, California, USA
$10.99 -- Costco, Austin, TX

Color: Medium gold, extremely clear
Nose: Pear, apricot
Body: Medium
Front: Apricot
Middle: Green apple, butter
Back: Minerals, lime
Burns clean?: Yes
Cap: Composite cork

The smell of roasting onions wafts from my oven. It's freezing tonight (which for Austin means it's 53 degrees), so it's time for some French onion soup.

French onion soup is labor-intensive, done well. It took 14 hours to make the stock that I'm putting into it, and it's going to take four hours of roasting, scraping, and stirring to get 'er done tonight. But the odd thing is, it's practically free to make: the Gruyere at the end is the most expensive part! So with that in mind, I'm tasting two cheap wines with promise (or at least, mixed reception in the reviewing world to date) by a California negociant called Cameron Hughes Wine.

Each of their different blends has a "Lot" number. Poke around on the internet and you'll find their strategy; here I want to focus on these bottles and what's going on inside them. This is not a super-complex wine, but it's nicely balanced, with equal shares of oakiness and acidity, but more importantly, with a definite structure. A little oddly (from my admittedly limited experience), there's a apple or lime flavor at the end of the palate, after the buttery portion has been delivered. It's delightful; I wish they would serve this at the receptions I'll be having to attend as the Christmas season approaches!

In my next entry: the CH Rutherford Cabernet.