Building Bridges

Dark ruby, approaching inpenetrable. Edges out to pink, but this is not a transparent light Pinot–it’s got some serious color to it. Nose throws up a quick chocolate and then just goes away to nothingness.

I’m going to switch glasses. I currently have this poured in one of my workhorse glasses I have several dozen of–a very popular and high-end brand I will not mention because they don’t deserve a free plug–and 99% of you have them in your house. I’m going to pour in my Libbey Signatures and see what’s up with the nose on this wine.

Now I am getting a serious nose! Big wet chalk and briar woven around spicy fruit and a nice dollop of barnyard lurking. There’s a steely carbon smoothed out over glascine frozen pond and yet the ripeness and concentration of fruit throws a warmth into the bouquet.

Here’s the thing about Cameron Hughes I have learned from being a fan of his wines for several decades: You know the wine will be interesting, but then it will be tempered with an approachability that is sell-able. Think of a big graph. At one end you have the huge nasty pancake syrup, chocolate-infused Apothics and Prisoners that the uneducated sweet-tooth swoons over and at the other end you have *bota-bag-wines* that people on the Sonoma Coast drink and you have to have a beard and a Patagonia vest and a collection of Picpouls that will take the paint off your car. And Cameron Hughes always manages to make interesting wines–wines with interesting characteristics and acid and balance and fun to drink, but are rarely flabby or over-induced to consumerism. And this Oregon Pinot is a prime example.

In the mouth, bitter dark chocolate and dense blackberry, fig and a kiwi shrillness. A ridiculous backbone becomes apparent quickly–a solid iron column of tannin and minerality surrounded by the bitter remains of bright fruit. This is unlike any Oregon Pinot I have ever had. I can’t even begin to guess the alcohol on this one. It’s ripe, that’s for sure, so I am going with 14-2.

Going back to the ‘graph’ I described, see what I’m talking about here? How many of you have had weird, green thin citrusy Oregon Pinots? Here you have none of that. How many of you have had huge fat over-ripe root-beer-bomb California Pinots? You don’t have that here either. Although I have to say: This is definitely an Oregon Pinot I wish ALL California Pinot lovers could try. It blends the best of both worlds. It is ripe and lush, crammed with fruit, and yet has a ton of interesting things going on–definitely right up to the wonderfully tannic finish.

THIS IS A $13 BOTTLE OF WINE!!! I just drank a $20 Pinot last night and said it couldn’t be topped for value! I forgot to factor in the Cameron Hughes quotient.

2015 CAMERON HUGHES Pinot Noir ‘Lot 539’ Oregon 14.1


One thought on “Building Bridges

  1. ….I love your stuff…I really do…but your last comments here left me speechless…yes speechless as I couldnt stop laughing…dude I get you pimping your boy Clendenen…but…but…but in several of your last reviews you really sound like a fan boy and not a wine critic…I mean if we cant count on you to man up who can we count on …I know you have it in you….make it happen…

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